April Wine Box dedicated to SALT WINES (Step #37): a large selection selected by sommelier Gabriele Scalici
Fabio Ferracane , Marsala (TP). The salt of the sea I met Fabio Ferracane personally and the competence that his words exuded did not escape me. Fabio cultivates five hectares of vines, many of which face the largest lagoon in Sicily, the islands of the Stagnone di Marsala, for a production that certainly certainly cannot be defined as mass production. A unique natural stage: at sunset the historic salt pans give off amber reflections that touch the windmills on the sea, with their characteristic purple roof. Some evenings, at sunset, it feels like living in a Gauguin painting! In this special context, Fabio rigorously applies the pursuit of the oenological objective, resulting from the desire to produce wines that are faithful witnesses of the territory. The winemaking criteria implemented by Fabio are based on minimal intervention in the cellar: the quality of the wine essentially depends on that of the grapes and the long process that leads them to optimal maturation. The recipe is relatively simple: treatments in the vineyard reduced to what is essential based on the humidity present in the vineyard, very few sulphites added in the pre-bottling phase. Wines obtained in this way certify, in their aromas and sip, the habitat from which they come, and restore the natural energy that made them so special.
Giannitessari , Roncà (VR). The salt of the volcano The Giannitessari winery was born in Roncà, a small town between Verona and Vicenza that has always been imbued with a strong wine connotation. Gianni Tessari has been involved in wine since he was a child and founded his professional success by focusing heavily on the heterogeneity of the territory and on one grape in particular: Durella. Today the company produces wines obtained from three different areas: the Lessini Mountains, Soave and the Berici Hills. The first two derive directly from the activity of ancient volcanoes, while the Berici Hills have a marine origin, also characterized by volcanic stress. It is all too easy to find the mineral contribution that soils of this type give first to the grape and then to the wines that derive from it. Furthermore, the use of durella represents for Gianni Tessari a challenge won on all fronts, since with his own stubbornness and that of a few other winemakers, he has restored dignity to an indigenous vine judged for too long inadequate for the production of quality wines .
Cecubi Mountains , Itri (LT). The salt of the earth Wine lovers from all over the world know that wine can lead a territory by the hand over time, passing down the identity of places from generation to generation. It does this through continuity in the breeding of a particular variety of vine, for example, or in winemaking or aging techniques. Some stories of wine and territory really start from afar: in the area between Formia and Terracina in Republican Rome - later called ager caecubus - a wine was produced which was much appreciated by the Romans, so much so that it was mentioned in Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia. The Roman consul Appio Claudio Cieco, during the construction of the road that would connect Rome to Brindisi and which would take his name, had the opportunity to learn about the food and wine virtues of the southern Pontine area. Appius Claudius earned the nickname of caecus bibendum , the blind man who drinks: it was 312 BC and the wine history of these lands was relaunched from here. Appius Claudius introduced Cecubo wine to the Roman aristocracy, determining its success. With grapes grown in Fondi and Itri in certified organic farming, in ferrous and clayey soils, the Monti Cecubi farm produces around 60,000 bottles a year. The winery, founded in 1990, has taken back the reins of ancient wine production by re-proposing reds obtained from Abbuoto and Serpe grapes, reconnecting with a glorious and immortal past.
Magical Ariddu, Fabio Ferracane
In recent years, Sicilian cricket has been rising in popularity among Italian and international consumers: the reason is to be found in the intrinsic varietal qualities, of course, but also - and above all - in the way in which Sicilian winemakers raise and vinify it. Fabio Ferracane's version shines with exuberance, with an acidic boost and naturally with iodine flavour. The clear aromas of white flowers and peach precede the coherent, snappy sip, highly drinkable and enjoyable. A must have in the hot season.
It is a perfect companion for fried seafood and spaghetti with clams. To be drunk between 14 and 16 °C, it will give its best from this spring.
Alpone Blu, Giannitessari
Charmat methods in Veneto are not just Prosecco. Alpone Blu fully demonstrates this: obtained from native Durella and Garganega grapes, it has all the typical peculiarities of a fragrant, fresh, easily drinkable sparkling wine. The aromas are mostly floral, with puffs of exotic fruit, while the sip is dry and pleasant, vigorously savory and softened by a surprisingly fine carbonic volume. I think that the Charmat method profoundly enhances this sparkling wine: in Alpone Blu the essential characteristics deriving from the terroir and the vines used emerge clearly.
Find the perfect match in aperitifs with small pieces of rotisserie and fish canapés. It is served between 8 and 10° C, like all sparkling wines of this type it should be consumed within a few years to best taste its youthful characteristics.
Abbuoto Filari San Raffaele, Monti Cecubi Purple red, youthful and bright, medium consistency. The nose is earthy, with puffs of dark fruit such as blackberry, bitter blood orange, but also a light spiciness and graphite. In the mouth the first sensation you feel is of great freshness, in a sip with energetic and still slightly vegetal tannins. During the tasting, the savory soul emerges in the sip, integrated with the tannin. A drink that stands out immediately, but to bring out the full potential of this great wine you will have to wait 2 to 4 years, always perfectly preserved. Certainly a table wine, it goes well with legume soups, steaks and cured meat dishes; it should be served at a temperature of 14-16° C.
Late Harvest Elixir, Fabio Ferracane
Catarratto is certainly the most representative grape variety of this corner of Sicily. Elisir shows a less usual and extremely fascinating aspect. Starting from the technique used: late harvest with an annular incision of the shoot, below the bunch. An ancient technique, which induces the plant to convey the nutrients to where the incision was made with skill and precision. The practice results in a sweet wine well balanced by the salinity of the places from which it comes. It is not the usual passito wine, but a kaleidoscope of aromas, a journey that passes through notes of orange blossom, dehydrated apricot and honey, toasted walnut and saffron and transports with finesse towards a harmonious, satisfying and endless sip. It can evolve for another couple of years.
The great acidity that distinguishes it makes it versatile and not at all solitary. It is sipped for meditation between 14 and 16° C or in combination with cheeses aged at slightly lower temperatures.
Brut Lessini Durello DOC Classic Method 36 months, Giannitessari
From grapes harvested on the Lessini Mountains, this sparkling wine ages for thirty-six months in the underground quarries of the cellar. Bright straw yellow and with a continuous perlage, the encounter with the nose is full of minerality: a dive into a marble quarry, a quick and dynamic journey between sea algae, sodium, chamomile, bay leaves and citrus hints of yellow grapefruit. The taste is rich, lively, with great acidity, driven by the tactile presence of fine effervescence; the aftertaste recalls the vegetal notes of yellow flowers. The palate is delicately furrowed by the savory trace that characterizes the sip. It is a classic method that is remembered for its personality and technical precision. Enjoy it now, or within a couple of years.
Of great versatility: it can accompany an aperitif with canapés with mountain butter and Cantabrian anchovies, or be the protagonist of a dinner based on refined risottos, served between 10 and 12° C.
Vinum Caecubum, Cecubi Mountains
From Serpe and Abuoto grapes, a ruby wine with purple reflections, with good consistency. The aromas flow on a dusty background, faint morello cherry in alcohol, followed by a ferrous texture, black pepper, incense, tamarind; in the mouth the tannin is integrated and enveloping, for a soft and slender sip. It is an aristocratic wine, it does not give itself away immediately and requires some time in the glass to express itself at its best. It is an intimately savory wine: the olfactory imprint reveals it and the taste buds confirm it, in the long progression of the sip. The use of wood in vinification, tonneaux for nine months, does not affect the gustatory perception: instead it produces a ready wine but with great margins for sensorial development in the next 12/24 months.
It is served at a temperature of 16-18° C, paired with roast meats, gourmet burgers and horse rolls with sauce.