October WINE BOX: native wines second to none!
Led by Marco Barbetti (best sommelier in Italy FISAR 2018)
Mogoro is located south-west of Sardinia in the province of Oristano, in an area called "Alta Marmilla", right near Mount Arci, an ancient massif of volcanic origin.
Here where ancient traditions are still handed down, not only rural, but also of textile and wood craftsmanship, there is the "Il Nuraghe - cantina di Mogoro" winery, founded in 1956 by a small group of winemakers with the intention of starting quality artisan production. The area has always been suited to viticulture (as evidenced by numerous historical finds), in particular of native vines such as bovale, semidano, monica and nuragus.
Today the company has approximately 350 hectares of vineyards worked by various suppliers in full respect of traditions, to offer a sip of Sardinia with every glass.
I chose Bovale because it is one of the oldest vines grown in Sardinia, almost unknown to most. Some studies demonstrate its descent from the wild vine still present in some wooded areas.
This vine is characterized by a high polyphenolic content, which manifests itself in the glass with intense red wines: they give a nice astringency, leaving the mouth dry.
Craftsmanship and territoriality are what best and intimately describe the “Luigi Giusti” company. The 12 hectares of vineyards are located in Montignano di Senigallia, in the province of Ancona, in a particularly favorable area given the proximity to the sea. Their story is one of the most beautiful ones: the desire of a father (Luigino) and a son (Piergiovanni) to work to make the hills of Montignano a special place. The grapes – exclusively Lacrima di Morro d'Alba – are processed with low yields and zero impact methods. The harvest, which takes place manually following the rhythms of nature, gives birth to wines that faithfully reflect each vintage.
I chose Lacrima di Morro d'Alba because it is a vine with unique organoleptic properties, which make it easily recognisable, especially on an olfactory level. Despite this peculiarity, it does not always achieve the notoriety it deserves.
“If one dreams alone, it is only a dream. If many dream together, it is the beginning of a new reality” (Friedensreich Hundertwasser). This is exactly what happened to the 5 friends who own La Masera, a farm in Settimo Mortaro (TO), a few kilometers from Lake Viverone. After a life in which everyone has undertaken their own path, they found each other again, deciding to realize the dream they had as boys: to start producing Erbaluce in the same place where their grandparents did it decades earlier.
Here, where this vine is said to have been born, the company owns 5 hectares where, in addition to Erbaluce, it also produces other local native vines, further expressing the deep connection with the territory.
I chose Erbaluce di Caluso because it is an excellent native Piedmontese white, truly very versatile. You can obtain still white wines with good freshness and flavour, fine and floral classic method sparkling wines and sweet wines with a strong personality. The three types are united by floral scents and a pleasant almond note that remains after the sip.
“Tiernu” Sardinia Bovale – The Nuraghe
100% Bovale from the sunny vineyards of Terralba. The soils are sandy-clayey with good depth. After pressing, fermentation takes place in approximately 15 days with continuous delestages to allow good extraction of fragrant and coloring substances. The refinement takes place partly in large chestnut barrels where it remains for three months, and partly in steel for 11 months.
In the glass it has an intense ruby red color with purple reflections, which demonstrate its young age. Fragrances of mulberry and plum open up on the nose, with notes of Mediterranean scrub, ferrous and vinous. In the mouth it is light, with a good alcohol content which gives pleasant sensations of heat. A soft wine with a nice flavor and a fleshy but slightly angular tannin, which suggests the good possibility of evolution. The persistent finish leaves the mouth clean.
It can be consumed within 5 years. Serve at a temperature of 17-18° C, after allowing it to breathe for at least half an hour.
A wine that can be paired with first courses based on ragù, grilled sausages, or medium-aged cheeses, such as Sardinian pecorino.
“Bolla Rosa” Long charmat method sparkling wine, Luigi Giusti
100% Lacrima di Morro d'Alba produced on an area of 2.5 hectares, dedicated exclusively to the production of this long charmat. The manual harvest, always after the beginning of September, takes place at two different times, based on the degree of ripeness of the grapes.
After pressing, the must is sent to fermentation in steel without maceration on the skins. The second fermentation takes place for about 4 months, after which the bottling takes place.
When tasted, the sparkling wine is a beautiful pale pink with a persistent perlage . Many chains of medium-sized bubbles are continuously released into the glass. On the nose the bouquet is intense, with hints of small red fruits (blueberries and currants) accompanied by delicate notes of rose. The sip is pleasant and tempts you to have a second glass. The perlage gives a rather enveloping sensation, while the freshness and flavor make it well balanced.
Nice clean on the finish.
To be consumed within one year, serve at a temperature of 7/8° C.
Different from the usual charmat which tend towards soft sensations, this sparkling wine can be paired with a fresh caprese, a cold octopus salad or – why not? – with mixed tempura.
“Anima” Erbaluce di Caluso, La Masera
100% Erbaluce di Caluso produced in various proprietary vineyards on sandy clay soil with a significant presence of pebbles. After destemming, the must is obtained by soft pressing and subsequently clarified through spontaneous cold decantation. Once fermentation is complete, the wine ages on the fine lees for 6 months in steel tanks before bottling.
The wine shows a bright, intense straw yellow. On the nose the bouquet is delicate and pleasant, with fragrant notes of white fruit (especially apple), accompanied by other herbs, including thyme.
When drinking it, it amazes with its lightness and softness. The warm notes due to a moderate alcohol content are perfectly balanced by the freshness and a clear flavor, which make it very pleasant and easy to drink. The finish, persistent and pleasantly savory, invites you to have a second glass.
To be consumed within 1-2 years. Serve at a temperature of 10° C.
The pleasantness of drinking is its greatest characteristic: a very versatile wine that can easily be combined with quiche Lorraine of ricotta and spinach, risotto with chanterelles, or with a traditional Canavese dish such as hulled spelled with salampatata shaded with Erbaluce di Caluso.
“Sardinian Knight” Sardinia Bovale Reserve – The Nuraghe
100% Bovale coming from calcareous clay soils of the property vineyards in the Terralba plain. Fermentation occurs with maceration on the skins for approximately 15 days. To ensure the extraction of aromatic and coloring substances, several pumpovers and delestages are carried out. The refinement takes place for 12 months in French oak barriques and then continues in steel for a further 8 months.
A wine with an intense ruby red color, which gives a varied bouquet to the nose. Clear hints of ripe cherries and blackberries are accompanied by light balsamic and powdery notes. The sip is enveloping and structured, at times fleshy, with a very present velvety tannin. Some extra time in the bottle will make it even more balanced. The persistent finish leaves the mouth dry.
It can be drunk within 4/5 years. Serve at a temperature of 17-18° C.
A structured and tannic wine that should be paired with dishes with sauces. Sardinian-style veal or stewed wild boar are just two of the various accompanying options. Also worth trying with a medium-aged cheese.
“Luigino” Lacrima di Morro d'Alba Superiore, Luigi Giusti
100% Lacrima di Morro d'Alba from various proprietary vineyards, vinified separately in steel. After fermentation, careful blending is carried out, then transferred to new barrels where it ages on its fine lees for 12-14 months. In this period the wine undergoes constant batonnage and subsequent clarification decanting. At the end, a further selection of barrels, then assembly and bottling, maturation for a further 6-8 months.
In the glass it has a beautiful ruby red color. The bouquet is intense and complex, with evident notes of ripe fruit, especially plums, blackberries and blueberries, accompanied by hints of Mediterranean scrub, pepper and vanilla. In the finish it closes with a faint scent of violet. The sip is soft, denoting good structure and roundness. Tannin is present, yet to be fully tamed, which demonstrates the potential longevity of the wine. It is persistent and leaves the mouth perfectly clean.
To be consumed within 2 years. Serve at a temperature of 16-17° C.
A wine with good structure and persistence that can be paired with medium-aged cheeses such as pecorino from the Marche, or with meat dishes such as roast Marche style. Or try it with stewed pigeon.
“Masilè” Erbaluce di Caluso Classic Method pas dosè, La Masera
100% Erbaluce di Caluso produced in the Canavese area, an area north of Piedmont, between Turin and Ivrea. The pebbly soils, rich in phosphorus and potassium, are of morainic origin. After the manual harvest, to select only the best healthy bunches, fermentation takes place in steel: then the base wine ages for 6 months on the yeasts, in wooden and stainless steel barrels. The aging on the yeasts lasts over 18 months.
The wine has an intense straw yellow color, with a fine and medium persistent perlage . The nose is very typical, with fragrant notes of baked goods, such as hints of yeast or loaf of bread, accompanied by continuous references to peach and apricot. After tasting it appears light, with a very pleasant freshness and flavor. Elegant perlage . The finish is slightly bitter, typical of the grape variety.
To be consumed within 1-2 years. Serve at a temperature of 10° C.
The ideal pairing for this sparkling wine is an appetizer based on prawns in a puff pastry crust. The slightly sweet taste of the prawn is rebalanced by the final part of the wine, slightly almondy.