Nature does not need big intervention (except in cases of emergency), it is what we need to satisfy our ego or, in extreme cases, when the economic interest prevails on territorial and healthy results. Possibly, an interventionist approach could help us to test ourselves, to understand the Nature and then be able to welcome it with full awareness. This is why some wine producers, all over the world, are taking steps back after their “trials”. In short: “less is more”. While today if you do not intervene and do not use all the new technological (and so) discoveries, you are not considered up to date even in the agricultural sector.
These considerations, along with Mlečnik (winery in Slovenia), have blessed my participation at “Vini Veri Assisi” 2019 (last Monday), second edition of the event held in Umbria (central Italy) and preview of the national event “Vini Veri”, long-lived appointment (now at the 16th edition) with natural wines held in Cerea (Veneto) in April. Yet, it continued with the notorious winery La Castellada (from Friuli-Venezia Giulia region in north-east of Italy) according to which “it is not possible to produce natural wines without wooden barrels”, as they allow “to preserve it without particular external interventions”.
In short, there is a lot to discuss around an increasingly popular theme (the so-called natural wines) which, however, is still fossilized on positions totally in favor or totally contrary and that would deserve, instead, a deepening to go beyond these extreme positions. Yet: a superficial analysis could lead to weaken the scope by noting only a (temporary?) trend without understanding – among other things – that it is also a spontaneous reaction to a sort of homologation typical of the 90s with roots in the years 50s/60s and the promises of chemistry.
Meanwhile, as usual in these cases, here is my top list:
- Mlečnik (Slovenia): among my favorite ones, here I found a perfect balance between cleanliness, harmony and awareness in particular on ANA 2012 (blend of Malvasia, Ribolla gialla, Friulano and Chardonnay): ripe/developed, velvety, coherent, open and on Merlot 2009 with an excellent potential, anything but standard
- Slavček (Slovenia): where the whites (Rebula and Pinot Grigio) distinguishes by finesse and stratification of flavors. Sparkling wines are interesting too
- Ronco Severo (Friuli Venezia Giulia): here is one of my favorite Pinot Gris (I tasted the 2016) that ranges from pomegranate to fresh sage with an easy-drinking character like few others
- Boccella (Campania): a genuine and focused project that grows in respect of time and territory based only on some typical grapes of Irpinia area (inland Campania) such as Fiano grapes (for a white wine, “Casefatte”, which suggests infused herbs with a silky and thick texture) and Aglianico for a Taurasi (I had the 2009 on this occasion) from long aging and the award-winning “Rasott” (Aglianico of the mythical Campi Taurasini sub-zone) tasty with its clear identity
- Casebianche (Campania): is the company that conquers you starting from their wonderful position in Cilento area (the less known area in southern Campania), an energy that you can get from the labels themselves, especially those of sparkling wines from Fiano or Aglianico: La Matta (white), Il Fric (rosè) and Pashkà (red) deserve our attention
- Praesidium (Abruzzo): is a company to be discovered without any form of superficiality, also because the Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva (2014) and “A Marianna” Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva (2012) need to be bottle aged to be properly appreciated
- Raìna (Umbria): always an excellent representation of territory and spontaneity in the Umbrian landscape with a fairly wide line and continuous research. Among my favorites are the Trebbiano Spoletino (2017), the red Montefalco (2015). Worth noting the vermouth, waiting for good news…
- Doquet Pascal (Champagne): with Champagne in a rather classic style where complexity, creaminess and good elegance are pretty well combined