2018 Valentina Pasalaqua 'Mezzarosa' 1L
Region: Apricena < Puglia < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified biodynamic farming; rocky marble soils with calcified seashells; grapes are hand-harvested and macerated on skins 12 hours before being pressed (one of Valentina’s tricks); fermented in stainless with no temperature control, and bottled unfined/unfiltered under crown cap with zero-added SO2; 11.5% 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) and picks early to retain freshness and acidity. This is another in her new series of glou glou Puglian wines – ‘Mezzorosa’ (half pink, in Italian) is Montepulciano that gets 12 hours of skin maceration to impart the gorgeous dark pink hue and kiss of tannin. So, is it rosé or baby red? Does it matter? It’s super delicious and comes in a liter bottle, with a crown cap, no added So2, biodynamic certification, an adorable label designed by Valentina’s young daughters, and 10.5% ABV – just say yes!