Why Aren’t We Drinking More Cesanese?

Here we are at the weekend, and memory of the gorgeous IGT Rosso del Frusinate from Maria Ernesta Berucci enjoyed earlier in the week remains.

During technical tasting the wine impressed with its remarkable balance and great lift.

Afterward, tasted alongside charcuterie, young cheeses, and even fish baked with San Marzano tomatoes, capers, white wine and a generous dusting of za’atar, the wine showed great versatility, elevating every bite.

The delicate, heavenly balance Berucci achieved with this wine could be brutalized by any less talented producer applying a too heavy hand to the wood regime.

And so, Berucci sets an interesting benchmark with this wine.

I’m looking forward to tasting more from this producer.

Meanwhile, considering the excellent value for money represented here, I have to wonder: why aren’t we drinking more Cesanese?

Tasting Note:
Captivating, delicate perfume of fresh red cherries, flowers, and ever-so-subtle notes of spice. Flavorsome and nectar-like on the palate, the wine is lightly tannic, one reason it worked well with the fish.

Tavoleto: A Tuscan Chardonnay Speaks

It is true that my center of Italian wine gravity revolves around Italy’s native wine grapes. That is to say, I am typically not a great fan of Italian wines made with international grape varieties.

But, there are exceptions.

I was touched, if not a bit fascinated, by the wine known as Tavoleto (Toscana IGT), a small production 100% Chardonnay made by Campotondo, a producer working in the area of Tuscany’s Campiglia d’Orcia.

I appreciate this wine as much for what it isn’t, as for what it is. Tavoleto manages to avoid the usual clichés associated with Italian wines made from international grape varieties.

Enjoyably fat on the palate, Tavoleto’s fruit is in good measure in both aroma and flavor, backed by notes of ginger powder and white flowers. Light tannic friction against the wine’s creaminess gives massive sensation-appeal.

Indeed Tavoleto has a voice of its own and speaks with identity of the area, not an easy thing for a white wine, let alone one made with an international grape variety, to accomplish where surrounded by a bastion of traditional Tuscan red wine production.

The possibility that Tavoleto may point a new way forward, a new direction for the category, has indeed crossed my mind.

Roberto Di Filippo: Nature as Philosophy

I can’t help but to admire many of the wine producers I meet. They are often multi-talented renaissance men and women, gifted farmers, winemakers, naturalists and entrepreneurs. Their passion, dedication and love for what they do is staggering.

Winemaker Roberto Di Filippo is no exception.

Having made the choice to work organically/biodynamically, Di Filippo’s tradition of cultivation respects the balance between man and nature.

At a recent meetup with DiFilippo at Il Buco in NYC, I tasted a wonderful flight of his wines including those from his winery in Romania, la Sapata (who knew!). Standouts included the DiFilippo label Sagrantino and Trebbiano Spoletino wines, both of which I adored for their rich perfumes and flavors. From the producer’s la Sapata label, a tasting of Babeasca Neagra – a first for me – captured my attention with its harmonic, velvety palate.