The Tenuta Le Velette Estate
The hill on which the Le Velette estate is situated, to the east of the rock on which stands Orvieto, has always been a point of great agricultural and strategic interest in the course of its three thousand year history. The position, controlling a good part of the valley of Orvieto, the volcanic terrain exposed to the sun from dawn till dusk, and the special microclimate with significant thermal swings between night and day have always been its good fortune.
The first to see its great wine-growing potential were the Etruscans, the people who had already in the 7th century B.C. imported the vine from the Greeks. They certainly used the hill as a rural settlement for its cultivation and dug grottoes in the tufo rock, (just as we still do today), which offered excellent conditions for wine conservation. During Roman times, the hillside kept its wine-making role but developed significantly also as a strategic check point: right in the middle of the present estate, where Villa Felici stands today, a control tower was built and a resting-place for travellers, which led to significant development in the area.
After a difficult period of barbarian and Longobard invasions, the area regained great importance as papal state land. In this period the Etruscan grottoes were extended and became a safe refuge and place of worship for the first monks who settled there soon after.
With the advent of feudalism, the area passed into the hands of the Negroni counts, feudal lords of a nearby village, preserving its wine-making function for centuries before being given in endowment to a monastic order by a descendent who had become an abbot.
At the unification of Italy everything went to the city of Orvieto, which sold the estate to the Felici family. And so began the first experimentations in the vineyard and the cellar which led in very few years to the production of excellent wines, as is testified by the medals won in that period in Roman oenological competitions. The estate's wine went into commerce in the new-born Italy.
The fundamental step towards modern viticulture and oenology was taken in the 1950s when the brilliant Tuscan agronomist, Marcello Bottai, and his wife Giulia, a descendent of the Felici family, chose to make the estate their home and life project. This was the start of a period of development geared to a proper appreciation of the full potential not only of the firm but also of the whole district. The production of high quality wines was established along with the setting up of systems for the development and protection of Orvieto viticulture. A fundamental move was the foundation with other producers of what would become the present consortium for the safeguard of Orvieto wines. An absolutely innovative vision for the times that the young couple not only had had the wit to conceive but which they also had the courage and determination to bring into existence.
The Tenuta Le Velette Vineyard
They carefully and selectively harvest from their own 90 hectares (222 acres) of vineyards. The excellent exposure provides all day sun and the rich tufaceous soil is of volcanic origin.
Velette Orvieto Amabile is made from 30% Trebbiano, 30% Grechetto, 20% Malvasia, 15% Verdello and 5% Drupeggio.
Though today Orvieto Classico D.O.C. 'secco' is the major success, for centuries Orvieto wine was characteristically slightly sweet, a condition sought and obtained through forced maturation of the grapes and vinification in the cool cellars carved out of the tufa rock. The straw yellow colour is intense, the flavours are those of mature fruits, sweet and rich. The satisfying acidity on the palate is accompanied by a soft sweet sensation, which smoothes it and gives it roundness and fullness.
An excellent accompaniment for delicate or structured first courses, soft and semi-matured cheeses. Very good as a dessert wine especially with fruit tarts and the traditional crunchy biscuits and cakes.
Recommended temperature: 10 - 12° C
Origin of the name: The first evidence of a society given to cultivating the grape on these hills is of Etruscan origin and the wine produced was most likely sweet. Hence a method and a tradition which have made the fortune of these lands for centuries. The word the Etruscans used for their people was precisely "Rasenna".
Velette Orvieto Secco is made from 30% Trebbiano, 30% Grechetto, 20% Malvasia, 15% Verdello and 5% Drupeggio.
The result of centuries of devotion, selection and experience, this wine is the taste portrait of this area: cool as the air on the Orvieto rock, soft as the surrounding hills, direct/candid/plain/frank/open and sincere like the local people. The typically straw yellow colour with greenish tints illustrates its youthfulness. Delicate floral flavours with a light acidity to preserve them melt on the palate and then there is a characteristic slightly bitter after-taste. A joyful wine, sociable, rounded in its reliable simplicity, a wine that is always a good accompaniment.
Excellent as a pleasant, light-hearted aperitif, it goes well with vegetable or fish hors d'oeuvres and first courses in general. Recommended temperature: 8 – 10 ° C
A tribute to the three families of workers who were responsible for the farms on this hillside from the early 19th century and who have cultivated the grape varieties of Orvieto D.O.C. for generations.
Pairs with vegetables, fish, seafood, fresh and aged cheeses.
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
This California Cabernet Sauvignon has rich flavors with a hint of black currant and cherry. The tannins are soft, leading to a smooth finish with a hint of oaked vanilla and a touch of eucalyptus/mint freshness.
100% California AVA Cabernet Sauvignon.
Average age of the vines: 15 years.
Picked at premium ripeness. Fermented in static tanks with pump-overs three times per day.
Aged five months French oak Barrels.
RS 0.5 g/l
TA 5.7 g/l
Serve this deep purple hued beauty with a variety of hearty dishes ranging from Osso Bucco to grilled red meats and cheeses.