2018 De Fermo Concreto Rosso
Grape: Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified Biodynamic farming; clay and limestone; bunches are destemmed, crushed and macerated for only 4-5 days then fermented with no temperature control; aged in concrete tanks for up to a year before bottling without fining, filtering or additional sulfur; 13% ABV, 650 cases
Winemaker: Stefano Papetti CeroniStefano Papetti Ceroni got his start in winemaking unconventionally, and in a roundabout way. Growing up in Bologna, he did not come from a winemaking or farming family, but being a precocious youngster, fell in love with wine at the wee age of 11. In high school, he formed a tasting group with his friends, and once he was old enough, took a sommelier course. After studying law and history at university, he ventured to his wife’s hometown in Abruzzo to visit the family’s land that was being managed by local farmers, called contadini. He immediately fell in love, and for years would escape there each weekend to learn about viticulture and winemaking until he finally took over the estate himself.
Two things set the De Fermo vineyards apart from most in the region. First is their dedication to biodynamic farming, having been Demeter-certified since 2010. Second is that the vines are maintained in an ancient style called alberello, a style of vine training involving no wires or system of support, thus resulting in a shrub or bush. De Fermo is one of the only estates in all of Abruzzo to not use the Post World-War II tradition of pergola (an ancient Italian overhead vine-training system that uses wires or wooden structures). The pergola system is known for very high yields, and the alberello produces 50% less. The lower yields result in greater concentration, and more depth, in the wine.
Concrete Rosso comes from across all four of De Fermo's certified-biodynamic Montepulciano parcels but hand-harvested later than that for Le Cince rosato. Here, the goal is to make a younger-drinking, fresher version of this very tannic grape. Which is exactly what it is -- perfumed and pretty, it smells like wild strawberries and wet stone. In the mouth it’s soft and fleshy, energized by brilliant acidity that balances the juicy red fruit, finishing with a twang of minerality. Another brilliant and elegant food wine that works with everything from a fancy dinner out (#byoRockJuice) to a casual deck BBQ.