2018 Velenosi Lacrima Di Morro D'Alba
From: Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, Marche, Italy
Taste: Intense ruby red color with violet hues. The nose is rich and intense, with notes of strawberry, marasca cherry, violet flowers and rose bud. On the palate it has a full sapidity and smooth tannins. Overall it is soft, and it reflects all the aromas felt at the nose. Good persistence.
Pairing: This wine pairs well with Asian and spicy food, salami, main courses based of ragù sauce, white meat and any marinated dishes.
Located just outside of the town of Ascoli Piceno, Velenosi is a dynamic estate headed by the charismatic and skilled Angela Velenosi. The estate is included in the Rosso Piceno Superiore production subzone, a privileged area included in the much larger zone of Rosso Piceno. While Rosso Piceno is produced in a rather vast hilly area of the Marche, only the very limited zone within the province of Ascoli Piceno, with its special microclimate and pedologic conditions that extend over fourteen municipalities of this province, is designated Superiore. In addition to Rosso Piceno Superiore, which is generally cited among the top wines in the Marche, Velenosi also produces a Bordeaux-style IGT Marche called Ludi that is widely considered one of the top Italian wines. The potential of this terroir combined with the work of Attilio Pagli at the helm of the winemaking has led Velenosi to be recognized as a leading producer in Italy and around the world.
Ths Velenosi Lacrima is grown from mainly clay soils, once destemmed, grapes are conveyed in steel vats, where temperature-controlled fermentation takes place. Maceration on the skins takes about 20 days with daily pump-overs, almost always closed to better preserve the fruity and floral scents peculiar to this wine.
Lacrima di Morro (Lacrima di Morro d’Alba in full) is a distinctively scented red wine from Marche, central Italy. It is produced from the ancient Lacrima grape variety, in the area surrounding the hilltop village of Morro d’Alba. The wine’s floral bouquet recalls lavender, roses and violets, over heavier notes of stewed strawberries. No less impressive are the flavors, which are redolent of vanilla-tinged blueberry brioche with a hint of sweet spice (cinnamon). Although typically mid-bodied, dry and relatively tannic, the wine can also be produced in a sweet passito style.
Despite their ancient heritage and distinctive style, Lacrima-based wines from Morro d'Alba could do little to compete with Italy's more-famous wines – the likes of Barolo and Chianti, both of which shot to popularity and prestige in the 20th Century. In fact, the Lacrima-based wines received official recognition only in 1985, with the creation of the Lacrima di Morro d'Alba DOC title. This long-overdue recognition may well have saved the wine from extinction; prior to 1985, plantings of Lacrima vines amounted to just 2.5 acres (1 hectare), but they have now expanded to cover almost 100 times that area.
The evocative name Lacrima means 'teardrop', but there is no clear and unanimously accepted story attached to it. There are various Italian varieties that bear this name, and it is generally assumed that these are given in honor of teardrop-shaped grapes or grape bunches (although the Lacryma Christi wines of Vesuvius have quite a different story). A juicier theory behind the Lacrima name is that its grapes have a tendency to split, or perhaps 'cry', forming tears of juice on the bunches. The Lacrima grape's ancestry is still debated in the world of vine identification, but DNA profiling has suggested links with Aleatico.
Beyond their memorable story and flavor, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba wines are also unusual in the way they are made. The governo Toscano (Tuscan method) is used, which brings the wine into a second fermentation via an addition of fresh, sugar-rich must pressed from partially dried grapes. Under DOC laws, this process must be carried out by December 31 in the year of harvest. To add a further element of intrigue, Lacrima di Morro d'Alba wines are produced not just in dry styles, but in off-dry abboccato or sweet dolce.
Although they are generally made from 100% Lacrima grapes, these wines can also contain up to 15% Montepulciano and/or Verdicchio. As a white-wine variety, Verdicchio may seem an unusual inclusion here, but a small addition of white-wine grapes in a red wine is far from unheard-of (this was in fact common practice in Chianti in the mid-late 20th Century). Verdicchio is the obvious choice, as Morro d'Alba lies immediately north of Jesi and just 25 miles north-east of Matelica (the heartlands of Verdicchio production).
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