2019 Luca Bevilacqua Carbonic Lab
Region: Val di Sangro < Abruzzo < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; from a .5 hectare plot of 35-year-old vines, planted on ochre-yellow sandstone; 10-day carbonic maceration, no pumpovers, but some foot stomping then rested in stainless steel; bottled unfiltered/unfined with no added sulfites; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Luca Bevilacqua
Abruzzo is a fairly unknown region on Italy's eastern edge, backing up to the Adriatic sea on one side, and the Gran Sasso mountain range, home to the Caldarone glacier, Europe's southernmost glacier, on the other. It's considered the greenest region of Europe, with nearly half of its territory dedicated to national parks and nature reserves. But most people outside of Italy have never heard of it, much less visited (and even Italians rarely go) -- and pretty much no one thinks about Abruzzese wine. Which makes it a sizzling hotbed for natural wine -- the land is mostly untouched by chemicals, and it's cheap, so young natural winemakers can afford to buy and tend vineyards and make the kind of artisanal wine that will never get the scores or price points of it's more famous neighbors. Exactly the wines we want to drink and the producers we love to support!
Like Luca Bevilacqua, a professional somm from this quiet region who started his own wine project, LAB vini, inspired by (and named after) his kids (both of their initials are LAB). He calls it "contadino" wine (Italian for farmer), because it's super small scale wine meant for quaffing, not cellaring. His dad made a similar style of wine for the family, but Luca dialed it up with fun labels, clear glass bottles (to showcase the pretty rainbow colors of his juice), and a commitment to organic farming and low-intervention winemaking practices. We're loving his juicy carbonic red, which smells like the rustic Italian countryside from which it hails. But it tastes anything but rustic -- crunchy, tart cranberries and red Sour Patch Kids combine with something leafy and herbal, in a bright, chuggable package.
SERVE SLIGHTLY CHILLED.