Archive for the ‘Enzo Mecella’ Category

Four varieties you never knew you loved

December 12, 2008

Viognier? Schiava? Lacrima? Ruché? They may not be famous (yet), but they all make for some great wines

While everybody loves a Sangiovese or Nebbiolo, at Domenico Valentino we do our best to provide you with some of the more obscure wines found throughout Italy, still often relatively unknown on these shores. One of the aspects which makes Italian wine so fascinating is its great variety, both in winemaking styles and in its grape varieties. This week we are excited to introduce four wines made from four different grapes, each of which might not yet roll off the tongue of the average U.S. wine consumer. But the commitment of these producers to making wine from local varieties, plus our determination to introduce them to a wider audience, can only mean these rare grapes won’t remain unknown for much longer.

abbonaCinerino 2006 Abbona / Piemonte
Although the Viognier grape is cultivated traditionally in the Rhône valley of France where small amounts are blended with Syrah in the Côte Rôtie appellation, recent DNA analysis of the grape has shown that it is a “white” cousin of Nebbiolo, the variety used to make Barolo and Barbaresco. Ever since, the experimenter Marziano Abbona has produced this Viognier from grapes grown in Dogliani (since no appellation exists for Viognier there, it is simply called a Vino da Tavola or “table wine”). He named it after the elegant gray heron of Northern Italy, the airone cinerino meaning the “ashen heron” (from the Italian cenere or “ash”).

Schiava Bischofsleiten 2007 Castel 1344Sallegg / Trentino-Alto Adige
That mouthful of a name means Schiava at its best. A grape variety that has grown for generations on the steep slopes of sub-Alpine Alto Adige, Schiava produces a lightly-colored red wine that is a local favorite. The variety finds its greatest expression on the western side of Lake Caldaro where, trained in the traditional pergola system, grapes can achieve maximum ripeness and attain the most unique reflection of their terroir. Bischofsleiten, or “Bishop’s Slope”, is a vineyard named for its founder, the Bishop of Trento, and is considered by many area producers to be the zone’s best site.

Lacrima di Morro d’Alba 2007 Enzo Mecella / Marche
lacrima-enzo3The Marche town Morro d’Alba (not to be confused with the town of Alba in the Langhe), is home to the grape Lacrima di Morro d’Alba, and one of the most exciting recent DOC varieties to emerge from Central Italy. Enzo Mecella specializes in local varieties, and his Lacrima is a fine expression of the fruit. The name lacrima, meaning “tear drop”, is still the subject of some debate. Many say it simply refers to the oval shape of the grape, or the formation of the grape clusters. Others argue the name is due to the “tears” that this rich grape shows in hot summer months when the skins of some berries split and the grapes “cry.”

Ruché di Castiglione Monferrato 2007 Luca Ferraris / Piemonte
ruche-72Luca Ferraris’ flagship wine comes from his “Bric d’Bianc” vineyard, part of an entire hill between Castagnole Monferrato and Scurzolengo which he purchased in 2000. The cultivation of Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato is limited to the town of Castagnole Monferrato near Asti, making it one of the smallest denominations in Italy. Though once of modest output, production is now expanding due to its award of DOC status, and Ferraris remains one of only a handful of producers who focus on the grape. Luca recently showed us his Salotto del Ruché or “Ruché Parlour”, a network of underground chambers where he vinifies and ages his wine.

If you wish to make a tasting appointment please call 718-902-1140 or email info@domenicovalentino.com. Further information is available on our website.

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Just arrived: new Enzo Mecella wines from Le Marche

June 20, 2008

This week we are excited to feature the 2000 vintage of Enzo Mecella’s Verdicchio di Matelica Casa Fosca, which is only available in 1.5 liter magnum bottles. We always carry the current vintage of Casa Fosca, but we’ve managed to secure a small amount from Enzo Mecella’s cellar, where he keeps a limited quantity of all his age-worthy wines in magnum format.

We’re also pleased to announce the arrival of Enzo Mecella’s Lacrima di Morro d’Alba 2007, an excellent new addition to our portfolio.

These wines will be available for tasting by appointment next week. If you are interested in tasting the featured wines and wish to arrange a meeting, please email michele@domenicovalentino.com or call 718 902-1140.

Our full portfolio and pricing is available at domenicovalentino.com.

Amidst the hype which has begun to surround wines from Le Marche in recent years, winemaker Enzo Mecella (left) has stayed true to his game, producing wines of excellent quality which typify the region.

The Mecella winery (located roughly 60km west of the Adriatic coastal town of Ancona) was founded by Enzo’s father, Marsilio, over 50 years ago. Enzo, with a degree in Oenology from Conegliano Veneto under his belt, took over the family business in 1977. He immediately set about overhauling its methods and policies, which included introducing judicious “barrique” aging to the region.

Le Marche, thanks to a good climate and optimum soil, lends itself to the cultivation of high-quality vineyards. Enzo has forged close relationships with his grape suppliers in order to personally oversee the development of his vines. Choosing to ignore fleeting commercial wine trends, Mecella’s focus is the production of superior wines from old vines of local origin.

Verdicchio di Matelica Casa Fosca 2000 (magnum only)

Many of Enzo Mecella’s wines are made from Verdicchio di Matelica DOC. While Verdicchio di Castelli di Jesi is perhaps the more noted appellation, Verdicchio sourced from vineyards in the lesser-known Matelica appellation is coveted among Italian wine connoisseurs. Made with grapes obtained from a single vineyard ideally located some 300-400 metres above sea-level and surrounded by forest, Mecella’s Verdicchio di Matelica Casa Fosca has been considered the company’s flagship wine since its first vintage in 1997. Vinified in stainless steel where it is left to age on the lees, Casa Fosca is released only once Enzo himself feels it has reached its fullest expression. This invariably means it is left to age in cellars for 7-10 months, and therefore does not appear before July of the following year.

Lacrima di Morro d’Alba 2007

Lacrima di Morro d’Alba is one of the most exciting new grape varieties to emerge from Central Italy. Only recently available in North America, it is a round, fruity, aromatic grape that produces an approachable but intensely flavored red. A great food wine. Its name lacrima, meaning “tear drop,” is due to the “tears” that this rich grape shows in hot summer months when the skins of some berries split and the grapes “cry.” Morro d’Alba, not to be confused with the township of Alba in the Langhe, is a township in Le Marche where the grapes are grown and the wine is made. Historically, the grape has also been cultivated in other parts of Central Italy and the South. Many believe it related to the Aleatico variety.