2018 Terraquilia Bianco dell'Emilia Col Fondo ‘Terrebianche’
Region: Emilia-Romagna < Italy
Grapes: Trebbiano, Pignoletto, Malvasia
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; clay/silt soils; ancestral method, bottled undisgorged with the lees left in (col fondo); no added So2; zero-zero; 11% ABV
Winemaker: Romano Mattioli
Located in the Apennines mountains between Modena and Bologna, the Terraquilia estate has always practiced organic farming and natural winemaking, way before it was a thing. It’s just the way it was always done in Romano Mattioli’s family. You find this a lot in Italy - organic/low intervention was the old way, before all the modern crap was introduced, and many never deviated from these traditions. As a result, his wines are not the cloyingly sweet, mass-produced, carbon dioxide-injected wines so often found in the somewhat industrial region of Emilia Romagna. These are real wines that are dry, complex and reflect the place where they were made.
All of Terraquilia’s wines are made using the Methodo Ancestrale, which is one of the oldest methods for producing sparkling wine. The primary fermentation is stopped before it is completed by cooling the wine down while still in tank. The wine is then bottled, corked, and brought back to cellar temperature, and the fermentation continues without the addition of sugar or yeast. Once the bottle is corked, the carbon dioxide created by the fermenting yeast is trapped, and, voila, a sparkling wine is created. Fermentation ends when the yeast cells deplete the natural supply of sugar, and the dead yeast cells (lees) leftover create a sediment (called fondo in Italian).
Hazy, straw yellow in the glass, this lightly fizzy wine smells aromatic, with bright golden apple, pineapple, and honeysuckle. Super dry and refreshing, it tastes like it smells -- aromatic, floral, peachy, feminine, with a marzipan finish, all cleaned up with a perky, limey acidity. Move over Prosecco, there’s a new game in town! Fantastic with a cheese plate.