Orvieto pairs best with light dishes such as seafood pasta, chicken alfredo, antipasto, sushi, salad, white pizza and ham.

Orvieto is an Italian white wine from the Umbria region that is low in alcohol and tastes fruity with flavours of green apple, citrus, figs, melon, peaches and pears. You’ll also find notes of minerality, nuts, vanilla, flowers and earth within Orvieto. It’s the kiss of minerality (which is often more pronounced in Orvieto Classico due to its chalky soil), along with light and fruity flavours, makes Orvieto delicious with seafood dishes.

Orvieto Classico

Orvieto DOC is a blend of primarily Trebbiano (40%-60%), Verdello (15%-25%) and other grapes including Grechetto, Malvasia, and Canaiolo Bianco. ((Bastianich, Joseph & Lynch, David. (2005) Vino Italiano The Regional Wines of Italy. Clarkson Potter))  Thus, there is no set style for Orvieto, meaning any bottle you buy might taste a little different. One of the most famous wines from Orvieto is called Cervaro della Sala and is produced by Antinori. Cervaro della Sala is 80% Chardonnay and 20% Grechetto, however it is not classified as an Orvieto DOC wine. Winemakers love the Grechetto grape for its thick skin, which gives wines a creamy texture and adds a spicy herbal quality to the wine.

Typically Orvieto is dry, but there is also a semi-sweet version out there produced from botrytized grapes, which is called Abboccato. A late harvest version of Orvieto exists as well, however, our pairings only apply to the dry version of Orvieto Blanco.

High-quality producers of Orvieto include Antinori, Barberani, La Carraia, Palazzone and Ruffino.

What’s the difference between Orvieto DOC and Orvieto Classico DOC?

Orvieto Classico has a more mineral flavours due to chalkier soils.

As Orvieto became more popular in Italy, the circumference of where it was produced was expanded. Orvieto Classic refers to Orvieto wine produced in the original region of Orvieto, whereas Orvieto refers to anything beyond the original zone. As Orvieto is not complex and light-bodied, most people won’t be able to tell the difference, however, Orvieto Classico tends to taste a little more acidic and mineral due to chalkier soil. Meanwhile, Orvieto Superiore has a slightly higher alcohol content and a little richer in flavour due to extended ageing.

Best Orvieto Food Pairings

Orvieto Classico DOC & Clams Pairing

With its acidic flavours of lime and grapefruit, Orvieto Classico accentuates the subtle clam flavours and brings them to the forefront of your tongue where you can fully enjoy their delicious flavours. Meanwhile, the mineral notes of Orvieto Classico shine as the compliment the sea breeze and subtle saltiness of your clams.

Fried Chicken in a Lemon Sauce & Orvieto Pairing

The high acidity and citrus flavours of Orvieto make the white wine incredibly refreshing against the deep fried breading of the chicken. Meanwhile, herbal and spicy notes found in Orvieto complement any spices and herbs used in your fried chicken. As an added bonus, the citrus flavours of the wine work wonders with the lemon sauce.

Fried Chicken in a Lemon Sauce used to be a popular dish in North America, but over the past few decades, it rarely appears on menus. No worry, however, as Orvieto will work with most chicken dishes provided the dish is light. Heavier pasta with a dense tomato sauce will overwhelm Orvieto, but a thin Marinara sauce along with some noodles and warm chicken will allow the wine to hold up. Chicken Alfredo is a heavy and rich sauce, but since it is a white sauce and not dense with flavour, there is enough of an opening for Orvieto to penetrate its defences and shine bright with its aromatic flavours.

Seafood Pasta & Orvieto Classico Pairing

With Orvieto Classico’s salty minerality, you’ll find a complementary flavour to appeal to the sea-breeze kiss of the seafood morsels in your pasta. Meanwhile, the citrus notes make the seafood flavours shine even brighter as the wine’s acidity amplifies their subtle flavours.

For this pairing to work, you’ll need a lighter pasta sauce that is creamy or citrusy. A thin Marinara sauce will work as well. A heavy tomato sauce will overwhelm both the seafood and the wine.

Salad & Orvieto Pairing

Due to the Grechetto grape used in Orvieto, you’ll often find notes of basil and freshly cut hay that complement the green notes of your salad. Furthermore, the citrus and acidic quality of Orvieto will hold up against a vinaigrette accompanying your greens.  Orvieto is also excellent with tomato-based salads such as Caprese Salad or Greek Salad.

Orvieto is going to vary by producer as there are so many configurations of grapes that you can use. This shouldn’t be an issue, as salad is similar in that there are hundreds of styles of salads on the market. Provided you stick to leafy green salads with a moderately flavourful dressing, and some basic toppings such as egg, chicken or ham tossed in Orvieto will be delicious pair.