Category Archives: Italian regions

Italian Indigenous Varities: Mammolo Nero from Tuscany

Susanna Crociani

This week’s variety hails from Tuscany and is called Mammolo. It tends to be mostly found in the province of Siena, Lucca and Grosseto. When I think of Mammolo, I think of Susanna Crociani, a producer and friend from Montepulciano. She always reminds people that Mammolo is also the name of one of the Seven Dwarfs, Bashful.

Mammolo is a hardy and somewhat rustic grape that is usually found in blends rather than as a mono-varietal wine.

ConsorzioMontepulcianoIt produces full bodied but not highly alcoholic wines. Mammola also means violet which comes out as the wine made from this grape ages. It is used in a variety of Tuscan DOCs and DOCG wines: Carmignano, Pomino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano, Chianti, Colli dell’Etruria centrale, Morellino di Scansano, Monteregio di Massa Marittima and Parrina.

Mammolo is a grape variety that also produces a pronounced pepper note when a certain portion is added to a blend. I have always found it one of the components of the Crociani line that I really enjoy.

 

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Filed under Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Italian regions, Italian wineries, italy, Memorable Events, Tuscany, Women in Wine

Wine Wednesday: Falesia Chardonnay from D’Amico Winery

This week’s wine Wednesday is dedicated to one I tasted a while back but have not been able to forget. It’s the Falesia chardonnay from D’Amico Winery located at the confluence of Umbria/Lazio/Tuscany. I met the couple during a lunch in New York at Marea organized by the lovely Tony DiDio. I had never heard of the winery and was intrigued. The couple made their mark in other industries and started their winery out of a passion for the vine in 1985. The winemaker is quite young and french which was a further twist. Their winery is located in the Calenchi valley on volcanic soil which brings lots of minerality to the wines.

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Vaiano, is a UNESCO protected area on the border between Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria.
It is said to be the birthplace of the Etruscan culture. The exciting and moonlike landscape is a result of water passing over tufa stone which led to these amazing cliffs.

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I have never visited the property but it looks very interesting and the cellars apparently have been excavated underneath the vines and the hanging gardens, attempting to recreate an Etruscan cellar that was found on the property.

We tried a number of wines that day, both reds and whites. Like many others, I tend to be a little less enthusiastic when I try an international varietal from Italy rather than an indigenous one, of which they have so many,  but I decided to suspend my usual thinking and was richly rewarded throughout the tasting. I really enjoyed the Calanchi and Falesia Chardonnay wines. The latter particularly as it was made from 30 year old vines. I even got some petrol notes on the Falesia which were unexpected The wines also both spent time on their lees and this creamy texture came through on the palate as well. According to the winemaker, they have a regime of using a low level of sulfites. Lees can also do the job to protect the wines from oxygen, the winemaker said. Commenting on the high level of acidity, he noted that volcanic soil helps to maintain freshness and acidity in wines.

Vaiano, Private Property (http://www.cedricreversade.com), Italy

We also tried a wine called Noe which was a blend of Grechetto, Pinot Grigio and Trebbiano. It was very aromatic and fresh. I am sure on a hot day like today, more than one bottle would be poured at my table.

The Falesia which was my pick for today had a bit of everything I like, great minerality, white fruit notes of apple, pear and some herbaceous notes. as well as a creamy texture from the lees. It reminded me a lot of some of the Antinori chardonnay I have tasted from Italy. The volcanic soils also brought sapidity to all of these wines, another characteristic I favor.

The winery also makes a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Franc which we tasted and were inviting. I’m in love with Cabernet Franc as a grape so I will write about that one as well. The Cabernet Franc had just the right amount of pepper and spice and elegance that I look for with that grape together with great mineraity, something I love to find in a red wine. I hope to see more of these wines on various lists in the city. I know you can find them both at Marea and at the Lincoln. You can also find some of the wines in these places on wine-searcher. A winery to watch, I hope to visit on a future trip to Italy.

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Filed under Grechetto, Italian regions, lazio, Tuscany, Umbria, Wine Wednesday, wines

Italian Indigenous Varieties: Malvasia Rosa from Piacenza

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This is my 16th and last post in the series on Malvasie. It has been very interesting to see just how many variations there are of this grape from the Malvasia family. This week’s variety is Malvasia Rosa which is a mutation of Malvasia di Candia which I wrote about here. This Malvasia can be found in the province of Piacenza in Val Nure. This wine makes a rose that is fruity and can be made into a sparkling wine, either spumante or frizzante.

This winery. Azienda Vitivinicola Mossi from 1558 which had until 2014 14 generations owning the property. They sold it to a young couple who are continuing the traditions of the Mossi family and are one of three wineries producing wines from this variety. That makes it quite that noteworthy and one that I would love to taste. Maybe the next time I am in that area. Another producer is Azienda Vitivinicola Montesissa. They also make a passito using this grape. What a pleasure these weeks of Malvasia have been. I had no idea it was such an interesting variety.

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Filed under emilia romagna, Indigeous varieties, Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Italian regions, Lombardia, Memorable Events, Piacenza, Travel

Italian Indigenous Varieties: Malvasia Nera di Basilicata

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While this latest variety, Malvasia Nera di Basilicata, has some of the same origins as the other Malvasias that I have written about, it is said to be less ancient than the white grape versions of Malvasia. This one probably came to Basilicata from nearby Puglia and has a lot in common with Malvasia di Brindisi which I will write about next week and Malvasia di Lecce. This red grape variety tends to be used as a blending grape rather than as a monovarietal. It brings aromatics, alcohol and acidity to the blend. It grow around the cities of Matera and Potenza. It is part of the Grottino di Roccanova DOC, which was given that designation in 2009. It is blended with Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon in the DOC. This winery, Cervino Vini has a few different versions of wines made with this grape variety as do a couple of other wineries I found. Sadly, none seem available yet in the States.

I’ve always had a thing about Basilicata. Many people know the region because it is home to the city of Matera, a beautiful city and absolutely worth a visit. I used to say I would never leave Italy unless I got to see Basilicata, a way of course of staying for many years. I finally visited in 2002 and remember fondly my trip there. Having just returned from Vinitaly, I am reminded of all the wines that I have tasted over the years with producers from Basilicata, specifically from Lucania.

Sadly none of my pictures of this region are digital so, here I suggest looking up a movie that came out in the last few years about Basilicata – Basilicata Coast To Coast. It will give you a flavor of the rugged landscape. Some 47% of Basilicata is covered by mountains and it has two coastlines, one on the Ionian Sea and the other on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

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Filed under Basilicata, Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Italian regions, Italian wineries, italy, Memorable Events

Italian Indigenous Varieties: Malvasia Istriana Bianca (Friuli)

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The first time I tried Malvasia Istriana Bianca was with the owner of Tenuta di Blasig in Friuli. My visit to that winery was also one of my first winery visits for my women in wine blog posts and thus remains close to my heart.

Malvasia as we know can be a white, red or rose grape and is grown throughout Italy. It can also be an aromatic variety or not. This one hails from Friuli Venezia Giulia. It also grows in nearby Croatia.same variety that grows in Friuli under the name Malvasia Istriana Bianca or Malvasia d’Istria. It can be found in the Carso, Collio, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli Aquileia and Friuli Latisana.

Wines made from this variety are not so easy to find in the USA although you can find some. In fact it is easier to find the ones from Croatia.

In terms of the aroma and flavor profile of wines made with this variety, they tend to have good fruit, acidity and lovely mineral notes which I really enjoy. They also always seem to have the bitter note on the finish that is typical of so many Italian white wines. This version of Malvasia works as an aperitif but it would pair very well with pasta, fish or chicken or any seafood dish.

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Filed under Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Italian regions, Italian wineries, Malvasia, wines

Wine Wednesday: Re Manfredi Aglianico del Vulture

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This week’s wine Wednesday is dedicated to Re Manfredi’s Aglianico del Vulture from Basilicata. The winery has 120 hectares and the vineyard that makes this wine is at 420 meters above sea level. I tasted it last at this year’s Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri event. The woman who was showcasing the wine, Tiziana from GIV is a lovely person that I met in Italy many years ago. I tried the wine because I know her but also because I have a love affair with Basilicata as a region.

I have only visited a very small part of Basilicata, Matera, but it has been a crucial part of my Italian journey throughout the years. I always used to say I couldn’t leave Italy until I visited Basilicata. When I finally did, it still took me three more years to leave. The first time I heard about Aglianico del Vulture was in a wine class in Italy many years ago. Aglianico del Vulture is considered the most prestigious area for Aglianico in Basilicata. The Re Manfredi winery is located in Venosa, the birthplace of Horace, the Latin poet. Mount Vulture is an extinct volcano and the soils near it are particularly fertile with nitrogen, calcium and tufa. Wines made from volcanic soils all have mineral notes I find and a certain elegance and grace. This one was no different. Aglianico is a tough grape because of its powerful tannins yet those from this area are rounded and more refined than some others I have had. This wine ages in oak for 10-12 months. You can taste some oak and vanilla flavors but they are not overwhelming. The wine is a nice balance of fruit, earth and spicy aromas combined with tertiary notes from the oak. Really enjoyable, it made me want to eat a very large steak although I am no longer a huge meat eater. The wine retails for about $34 and is imported by Frederick Wildman.

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Filed under Basilicata, Italian regions, Wine Wednesday

Women In Wine Fridays: Matilde Poggi from Le Fraghe (Veneto)

This week’s Women in Wine Fridays is about Matilde Poggi from Le Fraghe. I met Matilde at the Slow Wine tasting back in February. I was really impressed with her wines and wanted to find out more about her. These are her answers to some questions that I emailed her about her winery and her winemaking. I found her wines all very clean and intriguing. People, myself included, often don’t take Bardolino seriously enough. Made from Corvina and Rondinella, this wine proved very interesting and food friendly. Meeting Matilde made me want to learn more and I think this Vinitaly I will take advantage of that opportunity.

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1.Tell me about Le Fraghe and your family history?

I began to vinify my father’s grapes in 1984. Till that year the grapes were given to my uncle who has another winery

2. How did you get into the wine business?

It is something I grew up with as the winery was in the family since 1960s. as a child I liked so much the seasons’ cycle and imagined the vines going to sleep after the harvest and waking up in spring and growing in summer time. I wanted to meet the challenges of this world.

3.What has been the hardest part of the wine business for you in terms of gender issues, if any?

In 1980s many people were surprised as they thought that wine was a male business. There were not so many women making wines, now it is much more common. I have to say that sometimes I felt people were not trusting me being a woman. I guess that this impression is shared by women in many other businesses

4.What trends and changes have you seen since you started? What do you see happening in the next 5-10 years in your sector of the business?

Since I started there are many more small producers compared to 1980s. People are more sensible to artisanal, organic and sustainable wines. I believe that this trend will go on in the next years too. In the next years I think that there will be consumers groups: one side people drinking wine as a commodity, no matter where it comes from and, in the more educated countries, people looking much more for indigenous grapes made from artisanal winegrowers

5.What do you see happening in the Italian wine world in the coming years?

I think that there will be more attention for artisanal, organic, natural wines coming from indigenous grapes. I think that there will be more and more direct contact with businesses, people like to know where the wine is made and who is the winemaker.

6.Are people interested in different varietals? International varietals?

I believe that there is a bigger interest for indigenous grapes

7.What wines from the Veneto that are truly interesting to people these days (as you see from tourists visiting you?

People coming visiting mostly look for Chiaretto, my rosè.

8. What do you think about the level of wine education in general and about wines from your area in particular?

Not so many people are highly educated in wine, too many look just for wines which are trendy. Wines of our area are known but sometimes not so well known as Bardolino is often considered an easy drinking wine and few people give it the consideration it deserves

9. Where are women going to be in the industry in the next 10 years?

Many women decide to study enology, I guess that there will be more women engaged in the winemaking processes

10. What secrets can you share about pairing your wines with food?

I like serving Bardolino slightly chilled, pairing fresh water fish as well.

11. What is going on with sustainability in your area?

I turned to organic in 2009, not many producers were organic at that time. Now it is becoming more popular, winegrowers understand that we are the first to make something for a better environment.

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Filed under Italian indigenous varieties, Italian regions, Italian women in wine, Veneto, wines, Women in Wine, Women in Wine Fridays