Yesterday I went to drink wine and play wine buzz-word bingo. It was a tasting of a hard-core "naturalist," (bingo!) Le Coste di Gradoli. Their vineyards are on volcanic soils (bingo!) around the boundaries of Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria. They aim for extremely unmanipulative methods (bingo!) of wine making and use absurdly low amounts of sulphur (bingo!) so they can be delicate - but gladly there were no issues related to such methods (just one cork tainted bottle). These are artisanal (bingo!) wines and are produced in tiny amounts - they have just 14 ha of vines and yields are miniscule and they make something like 14(+/- depending on the year) different wines - so I was very happy I got to taste through such rarities.Le Primeur pour les filles 2011
A red wine to start with before the tasting proper. This is a field blend (bingo!) of everything imaginable. This is a lovely wine: fresh and refreshing and bright aromas; lovely grip and lightness of touch though ripe. A great example of everything that can be good about "natural" wine.Moscato 2011
An orange (bingo!) Moscato. This has some of the loveliest and purest Moscato aromas I have had from this grape. The palate is a bit of a shock after all those sweet aromas: tannic, powerful, acidic, tart and really quite wonderful once my system adjusts to the initial shock. Lovely.Bianco 2011
An "orange" blend of Procanico, Malvasia Toscana, Malvasia di candia, Puntinata Malvasia, Vermentino, Greco, Pampanone, Ansonica and Verdello (some of these I've actually heard of before!
). Tough and tannic with almost malty, sour-beer aromas: perhaps one only for the Cantillon fans! Ergo, I'm a fan.Bianco Paino 2010
100% Procanico from the best parcels of old vines (c.50yo). This is "orange" wine at its best (though I have no idea if this reflects the grape variety since I've never had one before): lovely floral aromas, quite wild and Cantillon-like; strong structure from both tannins and acidity and perfectly enough fruit to handle it. Lovely.Rosato 2010
100% Aleatico. It doesn't look a rosé wine; it's a deep red. And it doesn't smell like rosé; it smells like a hefty red. It has lovely floral aromatics and is quite sweet. Full bodied and very high in alcohol (label says 15% abv) and for this reason this was one my least favourites in the tasting - it was just a bit too much.Rosso di Gaetano of unknown vintage
I'm not sure what went into this wine, but it smells really nice and like an unmanipulated Chianti. Lovely sour cherry aromas and wonderful bite from the acidity. Crunchy and very tasty.Rosso 2010 & 2011
Sadly the 2011 was corked; but the 2010 was sublime. Mainly Greghetto (local variant of Sangiovese) and Canaiolo, Colorino, Ciliegiolo and Vaiano. Much like the Gaetano, i.e. beautiful aromatics, very refreshing and structured and with enough fruit to handle it all. Unending finish. Awesome wine.Empreinte (2) 2005(?)
Since these are all Vino da Tavola, no vintage is shown on the label, but our host was pretty certain this was the 2005 vintage. It's a blend of 80% Carignan and 20% Grenache. A very sweet aroma, more S. Rhone than Tuscan, but really fresh for such a sweet and ripe style of wine. Perhaps slightly oxidative in style, but wonderfully structured which makes it very moreish. Lovely.Le Coste 2009
Old vine Greghetto. Ripe but refreshing cherry aromas, quite dark toned in fruit, and perhaps a small bit of oak(?). More broad on the palate than the previous reds but still with enough structure. Nice!Carbo 2009
Carbonic maceration; a blend of Greghetto and Ciliegiolo. This smells a bit funky - cumin perhaps or did some add a drop of Pinotage into my wine?
Nice, sweet, carbonic style, long finish. Fun!Riserva lotto 20 2009
The best parcels of old vine Greghetto are made into the Lotto 20. This was quite an amazing wine - lovely Sangiovese aromas of cherries and slight funk; lovely acidity and freshness and crunch. Very moreish. Interminable finish. If anyone needs a wine to convince people that "natural" can be gorgeous and drinkable I would open one of these - except that this can't be found anywhere...Rosso più 2009
Whole cluster fermentation of Greghetto. A lovely, crunchy wine, very moreish. Pretty Chiantiesque in style.Alea jacta est 2009
100% Aleatico; whole cluster fermentation. A rather glossy wine in comparison to some others, but still with good crunch and wonderful structure. Very moreish and lovely.Gambrinus 2010
After these mass-produced wines (600-900 bottles of most of these were produced) it is good to get an artisanal wine: only fifty liters were produced. The aroma is one of the prettiest I have experienced: floral and tangy with touch of ripe red fruit. Wonderfully tangy and savoury in style, lovely balance and nervosity. Outstanding. Now, how on earth can I get my hands on a bottle if only 50l were made!?Umatantum Aleatico Passito 2009
A very sweet, inky, dark fruit style; luscious and very sweet, nicely tannic but still somewhat un-fresh. Perhaps just a bit lacking in acidity? Maybe it's a bit reductive (bingo!), too? Nice enough, and I'll certainly be happy to try it again, but it wasn't among the better wines of the range.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.