Cantina Novelli: A Young Winery in the Heart of Italy (Wine Review)
A specific part of his vision, and a success which is helping Cantina Novelli to make a name for itself, is the resurrection of an old and at one time very prestigious grape cultivar called Trebbiano Spoletino. Dating back to the Middle Ages and at one time common in the region immediately surrounding the town of Spoleto, the vine had fallen by the wayside and become all but non-existent until Novelli began a research and viticultural project to bring it back.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sample several wines from the Cantina Novelli winery and found them as a whole absolutely delightful. See my individual review notes for each of the five wines that I sampled after the jump, or check out the winery website for more details.
Rosso Cube ($16/bottle) is created using Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, and Canaiolo grape varieties. It has a slightly clouded rich red appearance that leans towards auburn, which fits well with the strong aromas of cranberry, alfalfa, musk and cherry. On the palate it was sweeter than expected and I tasted mostly cranberries and cherries, with hints of raspberry and woodshop. It was soft, easy going down, and had the shortest finish of the group. Would be great with: spaghetti, sun-dried tomatoes.
Trebbiano Spoletino ($24/bottle) is made from the Spoletino grape, an Umbrian native that dates back to the Middle Ages and was only recently rediscovered. The wine is light and golden in color, with glints of amber, and releases only faint aromas of sour grape, grapefruit, and fresh herbs. On the tongue it starts crisp, citrus, and slightly peachy but turns towards almond and musk during the long-lasting and slightly rugged finish. Would be great with: roasted fish.
Montefalco Sagrantino ($54/bottle) is made from Sagrantino grapes and presents as a heavy and almost black shade of red in the glass. It greets the nose primarily with thick scents of blackberry and sour cherry interlaced with mushroom and grass, and greets the palate with tart cherries and other, slightly smoky, fruit. It has a long, nice finish that stays surprisingly fresh. Would be great with: a red-meat roast, aged cheese.
Bianco Cube ($16/bottle) was my other personal favorite in this group, which says a lot since I almost always prefer reds. It's made from Trebbiano Spoletino, Grechetto, Pecorino grapes and has a deceivingly delicate straw-yellow coloring. It smells of sweet apple, peach, and crisp citrus while the flavor strikes as tart but oddly smooth, heavier than expected, and tasting of grapefruit, apple, and dry woods. It's well-rounded, fresh, and lingers pleasantly on the tongue. Would be great with: fettucine alfredo.
Cantina Novelli wines are currently available at Ristorante Tosca and MacArther Beverage in Washington, DC. and will soon also be available at various locations in California, New York and Las Vegas.