It feels like a bit of a trick to talk on time scales like these, but geology demands it – for rocks, millions of years is a casual semester or so. Once under an ancient sea before glaciers crawled to and fro, the morainic hill of Monte Mamaor just outside of Verona in Northeast Italy’s Veneto contains a library of marine deposits & morainic sediment. For 3rd generation winemaker Stefano Bertaiola & agricultural expert Alessandra Bertaiola, this soil composition represents the prosperous trailhead for the wines to be wrought from such a place. Located in the Bardolino DOC (just south Lake Garda), the wines of Verona have long been known as Amarone & Valpolicella country, deeply-extracted expressions of International grape varieties planted, cultivated, & raised for an international audience; but, given the cold-climate, the influence of mountains & an alpine culture, with such a marine & morainic geology underfoot, the wines of Vini Sassara seek to express austerity and salinity, something rocky and joyous and pristine. Working with only autochthonous grape varieties – and a smattering of them, to boot – like Corvina, Rondinella, Trebbianello, Garganega, etc., Stefano and Alessandra have converted the vines to biodynamics in the past few years & play with co-fermentation and extended maceration in the cellar. For a picture of their vision, look no further than the “Esotico” you’re about to drink; no less than 10 grape varieties co-ferment to land this wine in that no-man’s-land-sweetspot. It will say “Vino Rosso” on the label but this wine is not red, pink, white, or orange. It’s simply itself and it wants to show you its little corner of Bardolino.
This is a coferment of over 10 different white and red varietals, including Corvina, Rossanella, Rondinella, Molinara, Fernanda, Moscato, Trebbianello, Trebbiano, Garganega and Tocai. Macerated with the skins for 10 days and bottled unfined, unfiltered with no added SO2. Not quite a rosé, not quite an orange, this falls more into the "wintry white" category than anything else: mineral-rich, savory with a faint hint of talcum, while still maintaining that ripping acidity that will quench your thirst and keep the bottle flowing.