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2018 De Fermo Concreto Bianco

2018 De Fermo Concreto Bianco

Region: Pescara < Abruzzo < Italy

Grape: Pecorino, Chardonnay + field blend of Trebbiano, Manzoni Bianco, Verdicchio, Grenache Gris

Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified Biodynamic farming; clay and limestone soils; bunches are partly de-stemmed and partly left in whole clusters, macerated for a few hours, pressed in an old-school vertical pressoir and then fermented with native yeasts and no temperature control in tank. The wine is aged in concrete tanks--hence the very literal name--for 6-7 months and bottled without fining or flitering or additional sulfur; 12% ABV

Winemaker: Stefano Papetti Ceroni

Stefano Papetti Ceroni got his start in winemaking unconventionally, and in a roundabout way. Growing up in Bologna, he did not come from a winemaking or farming family, but being a precocious youngster, fell in love with wine at the wee age of 11. In high school, he formed a tasting group with his friends, and once he was old enough, took a sommelier course. After studying law and history at university, he ventured to his wife’s hometown in Abruzzo to visit the family’s land that was being managed by local farmers, called contadini. He immediately fell in love, and for years would escape there each weekend to learn about viticulture and winemaking until he finally took over the estate himself.

Two things set the De Fermo vineyards apart from most in the region. First is their dedication to biodynamic farming, having been Demeter-certified since 2010. Second is that the vines are maintained in an ancient style called alberello, a style of vine training involving no wires or system of support, thus resulting in a shrub or bush. De Fermo is one of the only estates in all of Abruzzo to not use the Post World-War II tradition of pergola (an ancient Italian overhead vine-training system that uses wires or wooden structures). The pergola system is known for very high yields, and the alberello produces 50% less. The lower yields result in greater concentration, and more depth, in the wine.

We love textural white wines that make you think. This is a blend of mostly Pecorino, Abruzzo's most important white grape, and old-vine Chardonnay (planted in 1926 by the De Fermo's Burgundy-loving great uncle), with a little of everything from a wild half-hectare plot of mixed varieties.  Here, the Chard providing the muscle and Pecorino, the nuance.  Don't be afraid to try if you typically hate Chardonnay. Unoaked and aged in concrete, this is clean and crisp and complicated. It starts off a bit reductive (that closed off, sometimes oniony smell) but it blows off to reveal an elegant, nuanced wine that tastes like crunchy apple, rocks and salt spray.  

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