2016 Cantine Madonna delle Grazie Messer Oto Aglianico
Region: Monte Vulture < Campania < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming, volcanic limestone soils; early pick grapes are destemmed and crushed before fermenting in stainless steel vats, with gentle pump-overs (more early on and less toward the end) are made each day during its 10-14 day fermentation; wine is left on its lees in stainless steel tanks for two to three years, depending on the vintage; lightly filtered (vegan) but not fined and bottled with minimal added SO2; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Paolo Latoracca
The Latoracca family named their ested Cantina Madonna della Grazie after the historic church next to their home and cantina (winery) in Venosa (founded by the Romans in 291 B.C.). The area was shaped by Monte Vulture, one of Italy’s most brutal volcanoes hasn’t partied for about 140,000 years. Pronounced “vooltooray," in Italian, Vulture’s history is now is a blessing, as volcanoes make for very good farming (because of the fertile, mineral-rich soils produced by past eruptions). Here the family has been farming (grapes and various other things) since the late 1800’s, but it has only been since 2003 that they began to bottle and sell their own wine. Today Paolo continues the work with his father and brother (who designs the modern labels).
More red-fruited than black, as is typical with the classic big, bold Aglianico del Vulture, the Messer Oto is what Paolo consider their “summertime” Aglianico -- light, fresh and chillable, for enjoying outside with all sorts of things from the grill. A profile that isn’t necessarily easy or common in this region, where the entry-level Aglianico often default to ripe, high-alcohol and tannic. Messer Oto (named after a local boss) avoids these pitfalls and showcases the noble grape’s more playful side, with soft, tart, brambly fruit and smoky, distinctly volcanic, minerals. We say it all the time, but trust: SERVE SLIGHTLY CHILLED.