2020 Danilo Marcucci Nuovo
Region: Umbria < Italy
Grapes: 90% Sangiovese, 10% of Ciliegiolo + Aleatico
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: zero-input, organic farming; semi-carbonic vinification technique: partially de-stemmed, partial whole-cluster fermentation in an open-top fermenter with a bit of a submerged cap and aged in fiberglass tanks; bottled unfined/unfiltered with zero added So2; zero-zero; 10.5% ABV
Winemaker: Danilo Marcucci
WINEMAKER RECAP: Danilo Marcucci travels the length of Italy working as a consultant to several wineries, but instead of trying to leave his own stamp on each project he collaborates with the owners to maximize the expression of their own fruit and terroir (try to explain this one to the French!) Each wine has its own personality but uniquely represents its place and the people behind it. Luckily, he married into a family, the Conestabile della Staffa's, who happened to own a bit of land. A minor understatement, as this noble Umbrian family formerly oversaw hundreds of acres of agriculture in the 1700s, producing over 10,000 hectoliters of wine. Production gradually declined and the two World Wars effectively ended it altogether with the last wine produced in 1956. The property and vines were left untended, but no chemicals were ever used. Enter Danilo. Years after marrying heiress Alessandra, he finally focused his efforts on the family property, rehabilitating the vineyards and making wine with the indigenous varieties that had been growing there.
Last summer we had the pleasure of spending time, and drinking more than a few bottles of wine, with Danilo himself in Umbria, listening to him talk about how he tries to coax the minerals out of the soil to marry with the yeasts on the grape skins to create a sort of alchemy that not only presents as “terroir” but also helps stabilize and preserve the wine without additives. It was transformative, like going to church (or wine) and seeing the light. We've loved every wine of his, and this surprising Nuovo (with a groovy label featuring his newly acquired, 1970's-era, second hand fiberglass tank that looks like the Apollo Moon Lander) is no exception. Surprising because it isn't light and frothy like most Nuovo (Nouveau) wines. No, this bad boy is still a product of the Umbrian sun, meaning that even made in a fresher, low ABV style, it presents as medium-bodied, crunchy and tannic, yet bright and highly drinkable, if not completely chuggable. One sip of this deep purple elixir with inky black fruit (blackberry, black plum), earth and licorice will tell you that you're not in Beaujolais Nouveau territory, but we're loving Danilo's Italian version, an authentic expression of the rugged, rustic place from which it hails.
SERVE SLIGHTLY CHILLED.