I love the story of this wine: in the year 1111, the Bavarian bishop Johannes Defuc was traveling to Rome under the instructions of emperor Henry V. Sending his servant Martin ahead to scout out lodgings and the best wines of the region. When Martin happened upon good wines, he was told to write “Est” (it is) on the door in chalk. If the wine was better quality, then “Est! Est!!” would be noted on the door. So compelled by the fine quality of this wine, Martin wrote “Est! Est!! Est!!!”
Martin was wandering through the village of Viterbo in Umbria, now in the DOC region called Orvieto. Est! Est!! Est!!! is a blend of three grapes: trebbiano (65%), malvasia (20%) and trebbiano giallo (15%). Verging on off-dry, this wine refreshing with really ripe fruit, especially peaches in simple syrup, baked apples and lush citrus–lots of Meyer lemon, tangerine and lime. Underlying the fruit was a vibrant minerality of white rocks and a slight hint of chalk, that softens the edges of the palate. This would be a hit in the summer with fresh fruit, grilled chicken or fish, sushi and shellfish. Try snacking on salty olives and antipasto and you’ll be wishing you could speak Italian to convey the sensations of the sweet and salty both happening at once.