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Central Italy - Top Producers of Central Italy

DK Publishing's logoDK Publishing 02-07-2014 DKBooks
Photo: Garofoli Gioacchino vineyards © Provided by DKBooks Garofoli Gioacchino vineyards

Garofoli Gioacchino vineyards

Photo: Illuminati Dino © Provided by DKBooks Illuminati Dino

One of Masciarelli’s vineyards

Photo: One of Masciarelli’s vineyards © Provided by DKBooks One of Masciarelli’s vineyards

Illuminati Dino

Top Producers of Central Italy

Fattoria Zerbina - Romagna/Sangiovese di Romagna, Albana di Romagna & IGT

location: via Vicchi 11, Marzeno di Faenza
telephone number: 0546 40022
website: www.zerbina.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, dessert
best vintages: red: 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva Pietramora, Albana di Romagna Passito Scacco Matto, Marzieno Rosso IGT

Cristina Geminiani started a degree in economics, but switched to agriculture, studied oenology, and was managing her grandfather’s wine estate by the age of 30. This estate is strong on local grapes, and makes Sangiovese in styles from the fruity, unoaked Ceregio to the majestic, old-vine Riserva Pietramora. The honey- and apricot-flavored Scacco Matto is the region’s leading dessert wine. Marzieno is a classy Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon blend.

La Berta - Romagna/Sangiovese di Romagna

location: via Pideura 48, Brisighella
telephone number: 0546 84998
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red
best vintages: 2001, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Colli di Faenza Rosso Ca’ di Berta, Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Riserva Olmatello

This long-established, family estate started a replanting program in the mid-1990s that is now supplying consultant winemaker Stefano Chioccioli with first-class raw materials. The Bordeaux influence here is clear from the dark color, soft tannins, and ripe fruit of the Ca’ di Berta Cabernet Sauvignon-Sangiovese blend. The Sangiovese Riserva Olmatello is just as smooth, but has more local character in its aromas.

San Patrignano - Romagna/Sangiovese di Romagna

location: via San Patrignano 53, Ospedaletto di Coriano
telephone number: 0541 362362
website: www.sanpatrignano.org
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2001, 2000, 1999
recommended wines: Sangiovese di Romagna Riserva Avi

San Patrignano is a large, self-financing rehabilitation community. The professional winemaking operation here, led by top-flight consultant Riccardo Cotarella, is one of the many activities that provide finance for the center. Key emphasis is on red wines, which bear the Cotarella hallmark of impenetrable color, explosive fruit, and rich, deep textures. Ambitious plans for the future include the expansion of the vineyard area from the current 45 ha to 100 ha.

Stefano Berti - Romagna/Sangiovese di Romagna

location: loc Ravaldino, Monte, via la Scagna 18, Forlì
telephone number: 0543 488074
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red
best vintages: 2001, 2000
recommended wines: Sangiovese di Romagna: Superiore Calisto, Superiore Ravaldo

At 40 years old, Stefano Berti is just one year older than the Sangiovese vines on this 7.5-ha hillside property. Until 1999, he sold his grapes to a local co-op. Then, in 2000, he decided to start making his own wine in the cellar of the family farm. His first release of Sangiovese di Romagna, from a questionable vintage, was promising, but the 2001 was a knockout. The top selection, Calisto, has huge fruit and substance, but also a smoothness and balance that make it immediately drinkable. Ravaldo has less wood and concentration, but the same cherry and dried flower aromas as the senior wine.

Tre Monti - Romagna/Sangiovese di Romagna & Colli d’Imola

location: via Lola 3, Imola
telephone number: 0542 657116
website: www.tremonti.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2000, 1999, 1997
recommended wines: Colli d’Imola Rosso Boldo, Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore Thea

Tre Monti is one of a growing number of producers that now espouse the cause of the new Colli d’Imola DOC, designed to give an identity to wines from the hills around Imola, which would otherwise fall into the generic IGT category. The estate makes a small number of very respectable Chardonnays under the new DOC, but the most interesting release to date is a full-bodied and spicy Cabernet Sauvignon-Sangiovese blend called Boldo. Among the more traditional wines, the Sangiovese Riserva Thea has plenty of class and nuance.

Boccadigabbia - Le Marche/Rosso Piceno & IGT

location: contrada Castelletta 56, Civitanova Marche
telephone number: 0733 70728
website: www.boccadigabbia.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red
best vintages: 2000, 1998, 1997, 1995
recommended wines: Rosso Piceno; Marche IGT: Akronte, Saltapicchio, Pix

Once the property of Emperor Napoleon III, this estate has revived a 19th-century tradition by specializing in French varietals. Akronte is a concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon that accumulates great depth through two years’ aging in new oak. The rich and spicy Pix is Le Marche’s first high-profile Merlot. Owner Elvido Alessandri also makes good use of local grapes. Saltapicchio is a classy Sangiovese with soft fruit aromas and the kind of depth and texture not always found in the variety’s native Tuscany. The core business Rosso Piceno has delicious dry cherry fruit and lots of body.

Bucci - Le Marche/Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

location: fraz Pongelli, via Cona 30, Ostra Vetere
telephone number: 071 964179
website: www.villabucci.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995, 1993
recommended wines: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Villa Bucci Riserva

Ampelio Bucci and his veteran consultant winemaker Giorgio Grai use traditional methods for the Villa Bucci Riserva, which include fermenting at natural temperatures and long aging in oak casks. The fruit for this legendary white comes from five different vineyards. Each parcel is vinified and aged separately before being assembled by master taster Grai to obtain the desired poise and complexity. The wine, which comes out after three years, is all about balance and aroma. A typical vintage has soft apricot fruit, a huge gamut of floral nuances, and a freshness that holds up for years in the bottle.

Fattoria Le Terrazze - Le Marche/Rosso Conero & IGT

location: via Musone 4, Numana
telephone number: 071 7390352
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red
best vintages: 2001, 2000, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Rosso Conero Sassi Neri, Chaos Marche Rosso IGT

The Terni Family has been making quality wines in the Rosso Conero DOC since 1862. The top selection is the Sassi Neri, with the blackberry aromas of Rosso Conero and a hint of leather in the background. Chaos is the new IGT creation of owner Antonio Terni and his consultant Attilio Pagli. Made from Montepulciano, Merlot, and Syrah, it has an inky depth of color and almost caricatured softness and fruit concentration.

Garofoli Gioacchino - Le Marche/Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi & Rosso Conero

location: via Arno 9, Loreto
telephone number: 071 7820163
website: www.garofolivini.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, sparkling, dessert
best vintages: 2001 (w), 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Rosso Conero Riserva Grosso Agontano; Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi: Classico Superiore Podium, Riserva Serra Fiorese

Garofoli produces some two million plus bottles a year. The estate is best known for Verdicchio, which winemaker Carlo Garofoli turns out in five distinctive versions. The Classico Superiore Podium delivers nectarine and acacia aromas and a soft, round palate. The Riserva Serra Fiorese is released after a year’s wood aging, when it has begun to develop honey on the nose and a long, minerally palate. Also look for the muscular Rosso Conero Agontano.

La Monacesca - Le Marche/Verdicchio di Matelica

location: contrada Monacesca, Matelica
telephone number: 0733 812602
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Verdicchio di Matelica: La Monacesca, Mirum Riserva

This family-run estate makes terroir-focused wines that bring out the tangy quality of the Matelica DOC zone, yet preserve the varietal character of the Verdicchio grape by aging exclusively in stainless steel vats. The standard DOC wine boasts floral aromas and a long, dry finish. The top-of-the-line Mirum Riserva is sourced from 30-year-old vines and released two years after the vintage. Expect a deep, glossy palate, and aromas of sweet aniseed, apricot, and hazelnut.

Monte Schiavo—La Vite - Marche/Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi & Rosso Conero

location: Fraz Monteschiavo, via Vivaio, Maiolati Spontini
telephone number: 0731 700385
website: www.monteschiavo.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2001, 2000 (r)
recommended wines: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi: Coste del Molino, Classico Superiore Pallio di San Floriano; Rosso Conero Adeodato

Monte Schiavo is a former co-op that was bought in 1994 by Pieralisi, one of Italy’s largest agricultural machinery firms. Its range covers all the main DOCs of the region, but Verdicchio leads the way. The tasty basic label Coste del Molino is great value, while the barrel-aged Riserva Giuncare, the superb late-harvested Pallio di San Floriano, and the new Nativo all compete for the top places in the Castelli di Jesi DOC. Also worth trying are the oaky Rosso Conero Adeodato selection and the recently released, innovative Bordeaux-style blend IGT Esio.

Saladini Pilastri - Marche/Rosso Piceno

location: via Saladini 5, Spinetoli
telephone number: 0736 899534
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red
best vintages: 2001 (r), 2000, 1999, 1998
recommended wines: Rosso Piceno, Rosso Piceno Superiore Montetinello, Rosso Piceno Superiore Vigna Monteprandone

Saladini Pilastri’s mission is to elevate Rosso Piceno from rustic, cheap, and cheerful right up to super-premium status. The resources are not lacking, since the 120-ha estate occupies prime sites on the hills south of Ascoli Piceno. The top selection Vigna Monteprandone made its debut at the end of the 1990s. It took a couple of vintages to come into its own, but the superb 2000 vintage was just right. The stable-mate Montetinello comes a close second in terms of quality. In the young red wine class, the astoundingly good basic label Rosso Piceno offers some of the best-value drinking in Italy today.

Sartarelli - Marche/Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

location: contrada Costa del Molino, Poggio San Marcello
telephone number: 0731 89732
website: www.sartarelli.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995
recommended wines: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore: Tralivio, Balciana

Sartarelli’s specialty is the late-harvested Verdicchio Contrada Balciana. The idea behind this unique wine is to pick the grapes in November, when they are in the state of advanced overripeness usually reserved for dessert wines, and then vinify them completely dry, in a style that captures their huge aromatic concentration, without the distractions of oak aging. The result is a spectacular white that takes Verdicchio into another realm. The succession of aromas wafts from peaches and mangos, to wild herbs and Thai spices, through to hints of mushroom and undergrowth. The palate is bursting with flavor, and the finish is almost infinite.

Umani Ronchi - Marche/Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Rosso Conero & IGT

location: SS 16, km 310+400, Osiom
telephone number: 071 7108019
website: www.umanironchi.it
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2000 (r), 1999 (r), 1998 (r)
recommended wines: Rosso Conero Cùmaro, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Casal di Serra, Pelago Marche Rosso IGT

Umani Ronchi is the biggest single producer of Rosso Conero, with a selection of wines that ranges from the unoaked Serrano through the great-value San Lorenzo to the top selection Cùmaro. Each maintains the value-for-money and drinkability that are Umani Ronchi trademarks. The company’s production Verdicchio is organized in this same three-tier range. And to prove that they can also perform in the luxury wine class, in 1995 they launched a Cabernet Sauvignon-Montepulciano-Merlot blend called Pelago, which promptly won London’s International Wine Challenge.

Arnaldo Caprai—Val di Maggio - Umbria/Montefalco Rosso, Sagrantino di Montefalco & IGT

location: loc Torre Montefalco
telephone number: 0743 378 802
website: www.arnaldocaprai.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red
best vintages: 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1995
recommended wines: Montefalco Rosso Riserva; Outsider Umbria Rosso IGT; Sagrantino di Montefalco: Collepiano, 25 Anni

Caprai was the first to believe in the Sagrantino grape and to back it with a program of vineyard research, clonal selection, and new planting (with 30 ha, it is the biggest grower of the variety in the DOCG). The investment is now paying massive dividends. In the cellar, credit goes to consultant winemaker Attilio Pagli for harnessing Sagrantino’s intransigent tannins and developing the complex fruit style that sets this producer apart. The top label Sagrantino 25 Anni is immense, but the sibling Collepiano and the hugely improved Montefalco Rosso Riserva are not far behind. The latest release is an immensely structured Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend called Outsider.

Castello della Sala - Umbria/Orvieto & IGT

location: Castello della Sala, Ficulle
telephone number: 0763 86051
website: www.antinori.it
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: white: 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Cervaro della Sala Bianco dell’Umbria IGT, Muffato della Sala Umbria Bianco Passito IGT

Quality is impeccable across the whole range of this Antinori-owned 160-ha estate, but the star is IGT Cervaro della Sala. This genial blend of oak-conditioned Chardonnay and Grechetto ranks among the country’s top 10 whites. It has been around since the mid-1980s, but no other Italian producer has managed to match its unique style. Cervaro bursts with fruit and energy, which make it enjoyable two years after vintage, but it also has dauntless aging potential. The sweet Muffato della Sala (a Sauvignon Blanc-Grechetto-Gewürztraminer-Riesling blend) is less consistent, but it, too, is capable of greatness.

Up-and-coming Umbrians

Behind the fairly short list of internationally known Umbrian wineries, there is a much longer one of excellent producers about to break onto the scene. The majority of these work with varieties not permitted within the DOC system, which means they have to use the IGT Umbria label. The most interesting wines here are red, many made with Merlot: Cantina Monrubio, Palaia (0763 626064); I Girasoli di Sant’Andrea, Il Doge (0759 410798); Castello delle Regine, Merlot (www.castellodelleregine.com); Sportoletti, Villa Fedelia (www.sportoletti.com); La Fiorita Lamborghini, Campoleone (0758 350029); Poggio Bertaio, Crovello (0759 56791).

Lungarotti - Umbria/Torgiano & IGT

location: via Mario Angeloni 16, Torgiano
telephone number: 075 988661
website: www.lungarotti.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: red: 2000, 1999, 1997, 1995; white: 2000
recommended wines: Aurente Chardonnay dell’Umbria IGT, Giubilante Rosso dell’Umbria IGT, Torgiano Rosso Riserva Rubesco Vigna Monticchio

A pioneer in the 1960s and 70s, Giorgio Lungarotti was the first Umbrian producer to plant Cabernet Sauvignon and to use barriquesfor white wine. For decades, he was the sole bottler of the Chianti-inspired Torgiano DOC, and his Rubesco was largely responsible for putting Umbrian red wine on the map. The Riserva Vigna Monticchio, which is released up to 10 years after the vintage, is part of the Lungarotti heritage. The new generation is represented by the oak-conditioned Aurente Chardonnay, as well as by an IGT red from a multi-grape blend called Giubilante (Cabernet-Sangiovese-Canaiolo-Montepulciano).

Palazzone - Umbria/Orvieto & IGT

location: loc Rocca Ripesena 68, Orvieto
telephone number: 0763 344921
website: www.palazzone.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2001 (w), 2000 (r), 1999 (w)
recommended wines: Orvieto Classico Campo del Guardiano, Muffa Nobile Umbria IGT, Armaleo Umbria IGT

Palazzone is divided between innovation and representation of traditional local varieties. On one hand, there are mini-productions of the prize-winning Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc blend called Armaleo, a young, fruity Viognier, and a late-harvested Sauvignon Blanc. On the other, there is the Orvieto Classico Campo del Guardiano, which is often top in its category and exploits the local white wine’s largely unrecognized capacity for bottle aging. Cellared for 16 months before release, it boasts aromas of wild flowers and herbs, and a poised palate. Muffa Nobile is a juicy, honey-and-raisin-flavored dessert wine made from Sauvignon Blanc.

Castel de Paolis - Lazio/Frascati & IGT

location: via Val de Paolis 41, Grottaferrata
telephone number: 06 9413648
website: www.casteldepaolis.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 2001 (r), 2000 (r), 1999 (r)
recommended wines: Frascati Superiore, Vigna Adriana Lazio Bianco IGT, I Quattro Mori Lazio Rosso IGT

Castel de Paolis boasts innovative blends, low yields, and high prices. The basic Frascati is the fullest-bodied version of the DOC wine in circulation. The super-ripe Vigna Adriana, which is made from an exotic blend of Malvasia del Lazio, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc, also has a hefty 14 percent alcohol. I Quattro Mori is a mature and peppery blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.

Di Mauro Paola—Colle Picchioni - Lazio/IGT

location: loc Frattocchie, via di Colle Picchione 46, Marino
telephone number: 06 93546329
website: www.collepicchioni.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2000 (r), 2001, 1999 (r)
recommended wines: Le Vignole Lazio Bianco IGT, Colle Picchioni Vigna del Vassallo Lazio Rosso IGT

The Di Mauro family inherited Bordeaux varieties when they bought this estate in the 1970s. At that time, making red wine in the Castelli Romani was considered eccentric, but Di Mauro’s Vigna del Vassallo blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc has changed that view. This top-class IGT red has broken into the alternative national elite since the arrival of consultant winemaker Riccardo Cotarella in 1996. Expect complex berry fruit, spice aromas, and rich, deep textures. Le Vignole is also good: a Malvasia-Trebbiano-Sauvignon Blanc blend with tropical fruit aromas.

Falesco - Lazio/Est! Est!! Est!!! & IGT

location: zona Artigianale Le Guardie, Montefiascone
telephone number: 0761 834011
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: red: 2001, 2000 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996; white: most recent
recommended wines: Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone Poggio dei Gelsi, Montiano Lazio IGT, Vitiano Umbria Rosso IGT

Consultant winemaker Riccardo Cotarella runs this winery with his brother Renzo, Antinori’s general director. Riccardo is Italy’s number one specialist with Merlot, which he uses for his top wine, Montiano. The concentrated style explodes with fruit and spice aroma, backed by new oak nuances of cocoa and roasted coffee. The texture is dense, creamy, and multilayered, and the fruit finish long and sweet. Est! Est!! Est!!! Poggio dei Gelsi is a bouncy white with candied peel and citrus aromas.

Fontana Candida - Lazio/Frascati & IGT

location: via Fontana Candida 11, Monteporzio Catone
telephone number: 06 9420066
website: www.fontanacandida.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: most recent
recommended wines: Frascati Superiore Terre de’ Grifi, Terre de’ Grifi Malvasia del Lazio IGT

Like all wineries owned by Gruppo Italiano Vini (GIV), Fontana Candida is run by oenologists. Director-cum-winemaker Francesco Bardi has a very hands-on approach. He is a great fan of the Malvasia del Lazio grape, which is generally much less used than other, more productive Malvasia subvarieties in the Castelli Romani, but gives his Frascati a distinctive roundness and slightly aromatic fruit aroma. Try the varietal Terre de’ Grifi Malvasia to get the full unblended flavor.

Villa Simone - Lazio/Frascati

location: via Frascati Colonna 29, Monteporzio Catone
telephone number: 06 9449717
website: www.enotecacostantini.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: white
best vintages: most recent
recommended wines: Frascati Vigneto Filonardi, Frascati Superiore Villa dei Preti

The wine style at Villa Simone involves fresh, intense flavors that come from early picking and carefully controlled vinification. Winemaker Lorenzo Costantini is excited by the potential of the local Ottonese grape, which he has rescued from obscurity and is now in the course of replanting. Besides a tasty basic Frascati, Villa Simone makes two single-vineyard selections: Filonardi has a lot of structure; while Villa dei Preti is a deliciously intense, dry white best enjoyed with fish.

Fattoria La Valentina - Abruzzo/Montepulciano d’Abruzzo & Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

location: via Colle Cesi 10, Spoltore
telephone number: 085 4478158
website: www.fattorialavalentina.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2000 (r), 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Binomio, Spelt, Bellovedere; Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

This dynamic winery has grown rapidly over the past five years. La Valentina produces only local varieties, including both a great-value Trebbiano and Montepulciano for everyday drinking. Since the late 1990s, when Tuscan consultant Luca D’Attoma began to oversee the winemaking, a series of heavyweight special selections has arrived, starting with the single-vineyard Spelt and followed by Binomio and the latest release Bello-vedere. All three have impressive power and meaty flavors that will refine with bottle age.

Illuminati Dino - Abruzzo/Montepulciano d’Abruzzo & Controguerra

location: contrada San Biagio 18, Controguerra
telephone number: 0861 808008
website: www.illuminativini.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2002 (w), 1999, 1998, 1997
recommended wines: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane Zanna, Controguerra: Rosso Riserva Lumen, Bianco Ciafrè

The Illuminati winery was the first to sign up for the new Controguerra DOC when it was launched in 1996, and remains its principal champion. The Controguerra red is an impressive Montepulciano-Cabernet blend Riserva called Lumen that stands out for its plummy flavors and excellent aging prospects. Ciafrè, the corresponding juicy white, is made from a complex mix of local varieties.

Masciarelli - Abruzzo/Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo & IGT

location: via Gamberale 1, San Martino sulla Marrucina
telephone number: 0871 85241
website: www.masciarelli.it
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2000, 1999 (r), 1998 (r), 1997 (r)
recommended wines: Chardonnay Marina Cvetic VdT, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Marina Cvetic, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Villa Gemma

Gianni Masciarelli began to bottle wines from this family-owned property in the early 1980s. Encouraged by their success, he upgraded the vineyards with high-density planting and started to invest in new barriques(which today are custom-made in France). The current range is built on these foundations. The barrel-fermented Chardonnay gets its fruity intensity from the calcareous soils. The estate’s other top white has a full-bodied ripeness of fruit that is rare in Trebbiano. And the multiple-prize-winning Montepulciano Villa Gemma delivers wild fruit, spice, licorice, and sophisticated toasty oak.

Valentini - Abruzzo/Montepulciano d’Abruzzo & Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

location: via del Baio 2, Loreto Aprutino
telephone number: 085 8291138
wine styles: red, white
best vintages: 2000 (w), 1999 (w), 1998 (r), 1997 (r), 1995 (r)
recommended wines: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo

The legendary status of wines here derives in part from their sheer splendor and in part from the mystery surrounding them. Edoardo Valentini makes the odd cryptic statement about his winemaking philosophy (which, apparently, is inspired by ancient Roman authors), but his methods remain largely obscure. All that is certain is that he vinifies in old, traditional-sized barrels without any form of temperature control and that he does not fine or filter his produce. The resulting wines have a unique and unforgettable length, complexity, and intensity.

Di Majo Norante - Molise/Biferno, Molise & IGT

location: contrada Ramitelli 4, Campomarino
telephone number: 0875 57208
website: www.dimajonorante.com
winery open to public: by appt
wine styles: red, white, dessert
best vintages: 2001, 2000, 1999
recommended wines: Biblos Terra degli Osci Bianco IGT Molise, Biferno Rosso Ramitello, Molise Montepulciano Don Luigi

For decades, Di Majo Norante was the only Molise producer featured in Italian wine guides, and he is indisputably the best. The big (900,000 bottles per year) and great-value range is firmly anchored to local varieties: Falanghina and Greco for the whites, and Montepulciano and Aglianico for the reds. The wines have gained in fruit and body since the arrival of flying winemaker Riccardo Cotarella in 2000. Top of the line are the beefy Montepulciano Don Luigi, the Aglianico Contado, and the oak-aged white Biblos. The classic dry, berry-scented Ramitello is also worth trying.

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