2017 Garganuda Valpolicella
Region: Valpolicella < Veneto < Italy
Grapes: Corvina, Rondinella
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic + certified biodynamic farming; white volcanic mineral soils; aged in large oak casks then bottled unfined/unfiltered with 20ppm So2; 11.5% ABV; 291 cases
Winemaker: Stefano Menti
It’s a story we hear often: the son and great-grandson of winemakers, Stefano Menti returns home to the family vineyard to make natural wines, on his own terms. Growing up he was riding tractors through the vineyard and helping dad with harvest, then left to study and work abroad for years. When dad summoned him back to help the failing business, Stefano agreed, but on one condition: no more of the conventional farming BS used by his father since the 70’s. He went home, got rid of all the chemicals and returned to the hands-off methods used by his great grandfather. “The wine starts from the fruit,” he explains, “It is essential that the fruit is as pure as possible”.
Italy's Veneto region contains pockets of ancient volcanic soils, like Stefano's plots in Gambellara, near Vicenza. His volcanic terroir is different than other parts of Italy, with compact horizontal bands of dark basalt just below the surface, giving the wines a distinct tension and stoniness. Which is very apparent in this light-bodied red that smells like cherry-covered rocks, tastes like tart cherries and cloves and wet stone, with a pleasantly bitterness and bright acidity on the finish. Fantastic red wine for fish, especially with a classic Cioppino or other tomato-based fish stew.