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Live and learn (hopefully): the Veronelli cellar again presents us with a selection ranging from the familiar to the kind of wine that sends me hunting for information, like Vernaccia di Pergola. Who knew that Pergola was not just a trellis for training grape vines, but also a town in the Marche? (Ian d’Agata*, for one – and probably a bunch of people who are better educated than I am.) And who knew that Vernaccia di Pergola was actually Aleatico? Again, Ian d’Agata: “Among the world’s most undervalued treasures, wine made with Aleatico can demonstrate a thrilling combination of raciness and richness.” And: “In the Marche, winemaker Alberto Mazzoni believes that the Pergola biotype of Aleatico gives a much more intense, richer wine than those of other regions.”*
Another intriguing wine that I've never heard of: Castlet “Passum” – something that Luigi Veronelli must have admired, since he bought at least the four vintages represented here. Passum is made from Barbera, in a Amarone style, with grapes that are dried for 3-5 months. While Castlet made an oaked Barbara as well, Passum was fermented and aged in steel. Wasserman gave the wine his highest rating of 3 stars.***
I could go on and on, but just one more: the Cogno Dolcetto “Boschi di Berri” is made from vines planted in the 19th century before phylloxera struck; as such it is an extreme rarity, but it is also very delicious, and totally age-worthy. Jamie Wolff
You can read about Luigi Veronelli here - including some info about label condition.
*“Native Wine Grapes of Italy” by Ian d’Agata. The big problem with this book is that it’s a printed equivalent to internet rabbit holes: no sooner do you look up the subject on your mind than something else fascinating catches your eye, ad infinitum. And it’s actually fun to read.
*** “Italy’s Noble Red Wines” by Sheldon & Pauline Wasserman. Long out of print, this remains indispensable as one of the only comprehensive books in English on Italian wine. I don’t always agree with their conclusions, but they sure got around.
A consistently excellent wine — we've been lucky to get to taste this several times in the last few years. It needs a lot of time to breathe, and then it provides a classic example of fully mature Nebbiolo. Jamie Wolff