Producer Profile: In this area of Umbria, the Italian Heartland, there is a deep history that plaits together dukes & counts with farmhouses, vineyards, tobacco fields & the like. Just outside of Perugia, one such estate has stood since seemingly time immemorial, going back some 500 years. The Conestabile & Della Staffa family lines that constitute the “Vini Conestabile Della Staffa” estate in the hilltop hamlet of Monte Melino came together in the 18th Century when an arranged marriage between two of the more prominent Umbrian families tied their fates together forevermore. Think something like Montague & Capulet minus the Shakespearean murder of it all. Located in a subzone of the Umbrian countryside known as Trasimeno-Perugino given the influence of the nearby endorheic Lake Trasimeno, the vines of the estate run the gamut of Umbrian specialties: Grechetto, Trebbiano, Ciliegiolo, Sangiovese, Gamay del Trasimeno (aka Grenache, confusingly), Canaiolo & Sagrantino. Most of these vines were only planted in the ‘70s despite the long history of the farm. There are several reasons for this, most prominently the depletion of workforce through war and general urban flight that marked the early 20th Century. Due to this, from 1956-2015 no wine was made on the property; the grapes that subsisted on vines in general disrepair were sold off to the local co-op. A second wind came through the property with the arrival of Danilo Marcucci, a longtime cellar-wizard-cum-vignernon who’d studied with many big names in Central Italian winemaking. As fate would have it, adding another filial/marriage-twist to this long and winding filial/marriage-history, Danilo married into the family when he fell in love with his wife Alessandra, the one to whom the estate had been bequeathed. And so, for the past six years, this noble farm that, for centuries, was the most important socio-economic hub for life in Monte Melino is producing wine once more &, what’s more, the wine beckons what must have been in Conestabile Della Staffa bottles way back when, zero/zero traditional & pure, unadorned treats from the Umbrian countryside.
100% Gamay del Trasimeno, which is actually a local version of Grenache. After a hand-harvest, the grapes are fermented via a unique semi-carbonic method, where the winemaker covers "the fermenter in a simple clay-like paste with partial whole clusters" and allows the grapes to ferment briefly for 2 days on the skins. Aged in fiberglass tanks before being bottled unfined, unfiltered with no SO2.
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