Benvenuto Italia!

Versacinto

Versacinto

I was minding my business in Europe, tasting all sorts of Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines from all over the Continent, when I came across a gorgeous Italian red wine.  Medium-bodied, with pretty red and blue fruits backed up by earthy, mineral and herbal nuances on an elegant structure, it really caught my attention.  I kept coming back to it, there was something intriguing about it that piqued my curiosity.

Eugani Hills 3

Turns out this was from a small production family-run Organic winery in the Euganean Hills to the west of Venice, Monteversa.  Densely planted to clay and chalk soils in terraced vineyards on steep hillsides , they are working the land naturally and making wines with minimal intervention.

Hillside vines

I quickly looked up the winery and contacted the owner, Filippo, who luckily spoke English (my Italian is, to put it mildly, rustic at best – and even though I use my hands when I talk, no one can see that over the phone).  After some brief small talk, I asked him what was that lovely red wine that I had so enjoyed?

Spreading manure

The wine, the Monteversa Versacinto 2011, was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, fermented with wild yeasts in cement tanks and unfined/unfiltered.  Dumbstruck, I hesitated, then asked him why he had planted international varieties.  Frankly, I prefer working with indigenous grapes, so hearing that 3 of the most-planted ones were in this wine that I loved was a tad disheartening, to be honest.  His answer?  “These vineyards have been here since Napoleon came through in the early 1800s.”  Ah, well.  Take foot out of mouth, I suppose.  At what point do grapes become “indigenous”?  50 years?  75 years?  How about 200+ years, as in this case?

Rabbit running in the vines

Letting Nature run things is pretty much the philosophy here, as you can see in the picture above.  With minimal intervention, the terroir‘s essence really comes through in the wine, delivering a beautiful, high acid red with bright fruit and tons of minerality.  I am still bedazzled by it.

Manzoni Bianco

They also make whites, but we’ll bring those in when the weather gets warmer.  Happily, the shipment with the Versacinto just cleared Customs and is now ready to ship, so start looking for it at your favorite stores/restaurants in NY and elsewhere soon.   And to see more pics, please go to our Facebook Fan page: http://goo.gl/wvKfVO

Cheers!

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