In the heart of the Italian Peninsula, the Monti Ernici form the natural border between the central-western region of Abruzzo and the central-eastern region of Lazio; it is a mountain range of volcanic origin strewn with broad-leaved vegetation such as sweet chestnut & bog pine, evergreen shrubs like mountain cranberries rub shoulders with woody and verdant drupe-bearing groundcover like bearberry. This is a particular land of small-medium sized mountain forests and meadows, just outside the city of Frosinone some 60 miles southeast of Rome; if you didn’t know better, you may think you’d landed in the Scottish Highlands. Here, a former professional soccer player, who was also a “near-physicist,” has, since 2000, tended to his family’s heirloom vineyard to craft unadorned wines of unsulphured purity. Mario Macciocca works primarily with the native Lazio grape variety Cesanese though his heart may moreso be with the other, more undersung, grapes endemic to this region: Nostrano, Passerina, Malvasia Puntinata, and the white-berried Bellone. His goal has always been to facilitate the growth of something pure & seamless though the hard-won; the kind of thinking that undergirds the essence of “singularity” in name of his most well-known range of wines: Monocromo. Seamless indeed; treats from the central hills of Italy where Lazio greets Abruzzo and the land dizzies off in a mess of rivers.
Mostly Passerina with a touch of Malvasia from vines grown on volcanic soil. Grapes are hand-harvested, briefly macerated on the skins and fermented with wild yeasts in stainless steel. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with no SO2. This baby orange wine is a subtle stunner…Chamomile, toasted hazelnuts, sea salt and a faint whisper of apricot. Expect a touch of reduction on the nose upon opening, and perhaps allow the wine to open up for about 30 minutes before enjoying.