Although we’re technically on vacation, we never stop working and thinking of the future. Our vision is perhaps one day to do a tour called “Wineries on the Italian Adriatic Riviera” and did we find some gems.
Our first stop was in the Abruzzo area, and since we were so close to Molise, a wine area I had never visited, we decided to take advantage and try some Molise wines. I had heard something about their local red grape, Tintilia, so I was happy to be able to try it. It was a rustic style red, similar to an Aglianico, but with good complexity and a sense of terroir. A cab it was not.
In the Marche region I had the opportunity to try Bianchello del Metauro, which I would drink all the time in the States, if I could find it. This is a white wine with depth and character, full bodied and a wonderful aroma of exotic fruit. I was delighted to discover that many wineries in and near Fano have received accolades for their wines, including several Tre Bicchieri awards.
My real finds of the post tour were just a little further north, near Rimini and San Marino: San Patrignano and San Valentino. I look forward to bringing groups to both wineries.
San Patrignano is not only famous for its numerous Tre Bicchieri awards, but also for its mission. Over the past 30 years, some 25,000 recovering drug
addicts have spent the required 4 years treatment, which is offered completely free. Some work at the winery, others in the dairy or the furniture production area. We had a complete tour with a tasting of all their wines and then lunch with 1200 people who are currently at San Patrignano. It was a moving experience to say the least.
Then we went 15 minutes but a world away to San Valentino, a winery started by Roberto Mascarin who in just 11 years has earned 3 Tre Bicchieri awards. Roberto only produces about 100,000 bottles, none of which are currently available in the States. He is meeting with a New York importer in November so I hope for all us American wine lovers he is able to export to the US.
At San Patrignano I tasted Aulente Rosso Rubicone IGT, a fruit forward Sangiovese with a little merlot (6.5 euros at the winery- wow!); Ora 2011, a Tre Bicchieri winner in 2013 made from 100% Sangiovese (9 euros at the winery-double wow!); Noi 2008, a blend of Sangiovese, Cab and merlot and aged in barriques for 1 year; ‘Ino 2011, made in their Bolgheri facility from Cab Franc; Avi 2007, Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva DOC, their homage to their founder aged in botte for 1 year and in bottle for 2 years(a 2012 Tre Bicchieri winner and 16 euros at the winery) and finally their Montepirolo 2006, Colli di Rimini DOC, a blend of Cab, Cab Franc and Merlot.
At San Valentino, I tasted 2 of their wines still fermenting including a French hybrid Arinernoir (which he uses for color) and then more formally with Roberto, the following: Due 2011 a blend of Chardonnay with 10% Riesling, left on its lees but with no wood aging, a superb! white at 6 euros!!!; then Scabi 2010 Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore DOC. Scabi means ‘good wine’ in dialect but I thought it was outstanding (5.5 euros!); Vivian 2010 Rosso Rubicone IGT, a blend of Sangiovese, Syrah and Montepulciano with outstanding fruit and color; Terra di Covignano Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva, a consistent Tre Bicchieri winner; and lastly Luna Nuova 2007 Rosso Rubicone, a blend of Cab, Merlot and Cab Franc which was in this year’s running for a 3 Glass Award.
Incidentally for us wine history buffs, Roberto told me that we were tasting his wines just 7 kilometers from where the original Sangiovese was grown, not in Tuscany but in Romagna near a town called Sant