2015 Valentina Passalacqua Terra Sasso
Region: Puglia < Italy
Grapes: Negroamaro, Primitivo
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified biodynamic farming; rocky marble soils with calcified seashells; grapes are hand-harvested at the end of September and macerated on skins 2 weeks before being pressed (one of Valentina’s tricks); then the two are blended in concrete tank and not touched for one year (no racking); bottled unfined/unfiltered with zero-added SO2; 13.5% ABV
Winemaker: Valentina Passlacqua
Valentina Passalacqua is a trailblazing young natural winemaker in Puglia, a region not exactly known for biodynamic, no sulfur wines. She took over her family’s land (used only for cattle grazing since 1900), located inside Gargano National Park, to create a diverse farm that includes indigenous grape varietals. Her family considered the land too difficult, too poor, for crops, not realizing that they were actually sitting on a precious marble mine – or soil that happens to be amazing for vines. The rocky, mineral-rich soil does not retain water (also great for vines), and proximity to the sea means cooling breezes and ventilation (another plus). Valentina’s wines are pure, elegant, never soupy as you sometimes see in wines from Puglia (it’s hot there). Because she is careful about canopy management (to ensure grapes don’t get cooked), picking early and limiting punchdowns – she basically creates a cap and lets the juice do its thing underneath, untouched, creating a little carbonic action that lifts up the fruit. This is bright and juicy, with high-toned purple fruit and smoky undertones. So pure and pretty, especially with the slightest chill. You want this at your next BBQ.