2017 Casale Della Ioria, Campo Novo
Blend: Cesanese d'Affile
From: Cesanese Del Piglio DOCG, Italy
An article from Wine Folly on the ancient varietal, and with food pairings! Cesanese del Piglio is not for the faint-of-heart. On the palate, it’s surprisingly well balanced with subtle pin-cushion like tannins and perfectly moderate acidity. After a drink or two you’ll start to notice a bitterness on the finish similar to that of kale. Cesanese grows in Rome and Frosinone in Lazio.
Chef’s Pairing: Garganelli alla Coda
Shortly after putting his nose up to the glass chef Mike Easton started to get hungry for oxtail. In Rome, there is a popular food movement called Cucina Povera or ‘Poor Kitchen’ which is a style of cooking of the peasants. Garganelli is a type of tubular pasta that’s made by rolling flat squares of pasta around a stick. You’ll see this dish made with both rabbit and oxtail, but you can use any gamey rich meat (offal). The marinade uses red wine, tomato paste and usually employs winter spices including rosemary, sage, clove, allspice or juniper berries.
and savory wine like Cesanese will taste way more fruity when paired with a rich meaty dish. You can do this even if you’re a vegetarian by using the meatier veggies including lentils, truffles, kale and chestnuts (all Lazio regional foods).
Cesanese Wine History & Info
It’s quite possible that Cesanese was the red wine of ancient Rome because the grape is quite old and existed in the region during pre-Roman times.
However, there is no physical records to prove this, just ampelography (the study of grapes)
Evidence of Cesanese dates back to the 1400s from agricultural contracts that were preserved in local monasteries.
There are only about 1500 acres of Cesanese vineyards left around Rome and the province of Frosinone in Lazio, Italy.
Cesanese del Piglio DOCG is considered the best Cesanese wine, made with 100% Cesanese grapes from the Frosinone Province.
The Cesanese del Piglio region has about 680 acres of vineyards and is located 30 miles East of Rome in the Ernici Hills.
Cesanese del Piglio grows alongside olive and chestnut orchards in poor clay soils that are a dark red color due to high iron oxide content.
Cesanese wines used to be produced as sweet red still and sparkling wines with fruity strawberry notes.
There are two different genetically unique Cesanese species. One is called “Cesanese Comune” or “Local Cesanese” and the other is called “Cesanese d’Affile.” Most Cesanese wines are a blend of both grapes. Finer versions typically have a higher proportion of Cesanese d’Affile although, most winemakers will tell you that the vineyard location is the more important factor.
The olives trees that grow in Piglio produce a sage green colored olive oil that’s peppery.
A common delight of the area is wild boar salami. Vegetables used in Lazio cuisine include mushrooms, artichokes, chestnuts, kale, garlic, shallots, and and lentils. Marzolino (Marzellino) cheese is the regional cheese of the area. It’s typically a blend of sheep and cow’s milk that is soft, low in fat and has a sweet taste. It’s hard to find outside of Italy, so you can substitute Crescenza or Stracchino or a very young Pecorino. Another favorite dish of the region Peperonata alla Romana is slow cooked sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions, anchovies and garlic –perfect with a hunk of Roman Libum bread.
Believed to be an indigenous grape to the Roman Lazio (Latium) region, Cesanese d'Affile was revived by a small group of agriculturalists and winemakers back in the 1960s. For the last 50 years, just a handful of farmers have been committed to preserving the ancient traditions of the DOCG Cesanese del Piglio around the towns of Piglio, Serrone, Acute, Anagni, and Paliano. About 35 miles south-east of Rome in forested Anagni, Casale Della Ioria grows the oldest clones of Cesanese D'Affile and uses them to make several wines in a variety of styles and weights. Campo Novo is their early drinking cuvee that's fermented and aged in steel, and truly embodies the terroir and the grape's essential flavors.
Taste: Medium-bodied, quite dry. Black cherry on the nose followed by currants, dark earth notes, spice, and medicinal herbs on the palate. The finish is taught, dry, and refreshing with lots of plums and cherries.
Pairing: Pair with duck, fava & white beans, lentils, dark leafy greens sauteed with garlic & oil, sausages, fennel, artichokes and olives.
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