2018 Monte Bernardi Italia Ti Adoro VDT 1L
Region: Tuscany, Sicily, Abruzzo, + Le Marche < Italy
Grapes: Nero d'Avola, Frappato, Malvasia Nera, Nerello Mascalese, Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; 80% concrete and 20% stainless steel fermentation; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Michael Schmelzer
In 2003, American Michael Schmelzer moved to Italy with his family and purchased 10ha of organic vineyards, right in the heart of Chianti Classico. When he planted in 2005 and began farming biodynamically, he didn't know how difficult it would be. But he did know that conventional vineyards tend to spray when it rains, to help prevent the grapes from rotting, and that these chemicals just wash off of the vines and into the soil -- and that he wasn't going down that path. So he focused on building strength from the roots– from the base up, basically –then he would have healthy vines that would be more resistant to mold and pests. Bingo. He was right, and his robust vines, now 15 years in, have maintained equilibrium through the ups and downs of each vintage and its unique weather and other cards dealt by Mother Nature. We had the pleasure of visiting Monte Bernardi two years back, and these guys are the real deal.
While Michael mostly makes elegant, sought-after Chianti Classico wines, 'Ti Adoro' is his ode to Chianti's traditional flask (fiasco) wines, a kitchen sink of Italian grapes from regions up and down the boot meant to celebrate all things Italian. He put it in a 1L jug because he wants you to share it with friends and basically make Italian wine part of every meal. It's a blend of organic grapes from Tuscany, Sicily, and Le Marche, with bits and pieces from other regions as well, all fermented together to make a light-bodied, easy drinker reminiscent of a classic Chianti but with a touch more black fruit and dark spice. It's fun, easy and super chuggable, like that pitcher of nameless red you get in a Italian trattoria that turns out to be way more interesting than you expect, and pairs so beautifully with the spread of delicious things in front of you. Cin-cin!
SERVE SLIGHTLY CHILLED.