2018 Valentina Passalacqua Calcarius RosaPuglia 1L
Region: Apricena < Puglia < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified biodynamic farming; rocky, limestone, marble soils with calcified seashells; 4-day maceration in stainless on the skins with no temperature control, and bottled unfined/unfiltered under crown cap with <30ppm added SO2; 11% ABV
Winemaker: Valentina Passalacqua
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.
Calcarius is her project with famed natural wine consultant Danilo Marcucci, with whom we visited last summer. He is the ultimate "wine whisperer" who works with producers all over Italy to teach them the low-intervention, no added BS ways, helping them coax the soul from their native soils and translate it in the wine. Which he has done brilliantly here with Valentina in Puglia. Like in this liter of cloudy pink juice, the Calcarius rosato of Negroamaro, a local grape which tends to get very rich and ripe as a red in the hot Puglian sun. But here it's light and fresh, with a funky nose and ripe strawberry/raspberry fruit on the palate. It drinks like raspberry kombucha with a grassy, earthy element - like if Health-Ade did a raspberry/wheatgrass flavor? Yum, healthy, just like this natty rosé!