Today’s Wine Wednesday is about a Ciliegiolo from a winery called Fattoria Fibbiano. The winery is located in a small village called Terricciola in Tuscany. It is located in the hills between Pisa and Volterra. The winery is part of a farm of 90 hectares that also has an agriturismo or bed and breakfast. The farm is family fun, There are three generations of the family living on the farm, Giuseppe the father and his two sons Matteo and Nicola. According their website, “Giuseppe, the father, deals with the general management of the estate and takes care of the vineyards and countryside. Matteo, the eldest of the two sons, is in charge of marketing the wines and his brother, Nicola, is the winemaker who oversees the entire wine-making process.” I’ve met Matteo a number of times and know their import company well. Artisanal Cellars. They have a nice portfolio with many producers that I enjoy and respect.
The Cantoni family is also focused on organics which is often the case when a family lives right on the winery grounds. They only use organic fertilizers and are organic certified and their energy use is taken care of thanks to “a 30-KW photovoltaic plant, a solar plant for the production of fresh water, and central heating which uses the wood obtained from pruning the river banks and from clearing the woodland.”
The soils are clay and fossil rich. The winery only grows indigenous grapes.They blend Sangiovese with traditional grapes such as Canaiolo and Colorino. The Ciliegiolo ferments in cement tanks and then spends a year in Slavonian oak and then some time in bottle. The grapes are hand picked.
Ciliegiolo is one of those grapes that I love to pronounce with all of its’ vowels. I think it sounds sexy and it is often a component in wines that make me happy whether they be from the Maremma , the Colli Pisani, Colli Lucchesi, Chianti, Chianti Classico or from Liguria and its Colli di Luni or Golfo del Tigulio, among others.
The origin of the grape is somewhat in dispute. Some think it came from Spain, others suggest that is impossible because it is genetically related to Sangiovese. There too, it is unclear what the exact relationship betwen the two actually is, whether one or the other is the “parent” grape. Ciliegiolo also mean cherry or can be said to be derived from the word for cherry: ciliegio
Ciliegiolo is usually used as a part of a blend and brings color (ruby red), structure, alcohol and fruit aromas and flavors to the table. What it lacks though is acidity, an essential component in a wine and one that makes it pair well with food. Novello, Italy’s version of Beaujolais Nouveau, is often made from this grape variety. While it is mostly used in blends, some are experimenting and making it into a pure varietal wines.
The Fattoria Fibbiano wine was ruby red in color with aromas of raspberries, cherries and blackberries , a slight forest floor note and lively freshness./acidity. I detected a hint of wood and found the tannins were soft and silky. I tasted this wine at the Slow Wine event early this year but would have it with a pasta dinner or roasted chicken.
Matteo Cantoni when I first met him, was also the President of the Consorzio of the Vini Terre di Pisa. Pisa is a marvelous town and exciting despite being the most photographed place in the world. Volterra the other town nearby, was a milestone in my life with its beautiful Etruscan ruins and equally beautiful faces/