Maria Ernesta Berucci - Rosso del Frusinate 2015
Frusinate, Lazio, Italy
Imported by Louis / Dressner
From the importer-
The Rosso is a blend of the two local strains of the indigenous Cesanese grape, both vinified and aged 8 months in Slavonian oak barrels. It is bottled as IGT Rosso del Frusinate. The label art for the Rosso features a watercolor sketche of family friend Antonietta Raphael Mafai, who created them for an exhibit curated by Manfredi in the early 70's.
Maria Ernesta Berucci is a young woman from the gorgeous Hernican town of Piglio, about an hour southeast of Rome at the foot of the Apennine mountains. Vines have always been in her father's family, the Massimi Berucci, and at one time her father Manfredi owned as much as 30 hectares. Manfredi was the head of the Cantina Cooperativa di Piglio from the early 60's up until 1972. In 2004, he created a new entity called Emme and almost all of the family vines transferred to this group with the exception of a beautiful, 1.5 hectare vineyard of more than 50-year-old vines, grown in pergola adjacent to their home in the countryside of Colli Santi (holy hills).
In 2009, Maria and her brother decided it was time to revive the family's roots and produced a wine from this vineyard site called l'Onda (the wave) as it announced the next wave of winemakers in the Massimi family. Slowly they have been recuperating some of the family's historic parcels and renting other quality sites. Berucci is looking especially for old vines planted in Cesanese di Affile, a strain which produces a noticeably smaller, less compact bunch than the vine known as Cesanese Commune. They now are working 2.5 hectares of vines.
The Berrucis also run an agriturismo in the heart of Piglio's medieval old city. Maria's mother, who is from Montenegro, is the chef and her food is delicious. Her father, a true country poet and raconteur, entertains guests with stories of local history, folklore and the vines. His knowledge of the area and it's viticultural history is remarkable.
The Cesanese del Piglio DOC was conferred in 1973 and it is considered one of the legendary grapes of central Italy capable of making very tasty long-lived and versatile wines. It was elevated to DOCG status more recently. The soils in the delineated area are rocky limestone with a good deal of clay. Most vineyards are on gently rising hilltops. And most all the old vines are trained in pergola.
Maria, with the help of her fiancé Giminiano Montecchi, is converting all the vineyards to organics and together they are practicing an agro-homeopathy akin to biodynamics. The purpose is to allow the vines to ward off any maladies themselves. They had been using space at the local cooperative to vinify the wines, but have started construction on their own winery this year.