Over the years, I have met Chef Marcello Russodivito at different wine and food events. He owns a restaurant called Marcello’s of Suffern, in Suffern NY http://www.marcellosgroup.com. We would talk about wine and food and told me about a winery in Molise that he really liked. In fact, he liked it so much that he considered himself the American ambassador for the wine.
I asked him who the importer was and he told me that it is Wine Emporium. I called Franco Bengazi, owner of the company, and asked him if I could have some samples to try. In return, Franco sent me 7 bottles of very interesting wine.
Terresacre winery was established in 2006 in the small South Central Italian region of Molise. There are 35 hectares of vineyards and they are at 270 meters located in the countryside of Monterero di Bisaccia. This is in the hills of the lower Molise where the grapes are influenced by the maritime climate.
Falanghina 2018 DOC 100% Falanghina. Harvest is by hand the first week of September and the grapes are destemmed, immediately crushed, and softly pressed. The must is immediately cooled at 8 to 10 degrees C. After 18 hours the must begins the fermentation process. Alcoholic fermentation lasts for 10 days at a constant temperature 15C. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a fresh dry wine with hints of citrus fruit, apple, a touch of acacia flowers and good acidity. This is the first time I have tasted a Falanghina from Molise and I really enjoyed it. $21
Falanghina Oravera 2015 DOC 100% Falanghina. After pressing, the grapes are subjected to a pre-saturation and the juice is cooled at 8C and left to settle. After 24 hours the clear must is fermented. The juice is fermented in French oak barriques. To obtain aromatic complexity the wine remains in the barrels on the lees for 8 months. The wine then is aged in bottle until it is ready for release. This is a complex wine with hints of candied fruits, acacia flowers and vanilla. Even with the barrique aging the aromas and the flavors of the Falanghina come through. This is the first time I have had a Falanghina fermented and aged in barriques. $30
Rosato 2017 “Rosavite” Terre Degli Osci IGT 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand picked at the end of September. After the separation of the stalks there is a mild crushing of the grapes. Maceration is for 10 hours. Fermentation at a controlled temperature takes place at 16 to18 C for 10 days. This is a fresh fruity wine with hints a cherry, raspberry and strawberry. $17.50
Rosso Neravite Molise 2014 DOC made from 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand harvested on the last 10 days of October. The grapes are softly crushed and destemmed. Maceration is in small steel fermentation tanks for 15 to 20 days with continuous daily stirring. Temperature controlled fermentation at 28C. This is a wine with aromas and flavors of black fruit with hints of black cherry and blackberries. $17.50
Tintilia 2016 DOC made from 100% Tintilia. This wine is treated the same way as the Tintilia Riserva(see below) the only difference is the it is aged in neutral stainless steel containers only. This is an intense full bodied wine with hints of blueberries, dark cherry, spice and a touch of balsamic. $27
The Tintilia Grape Is a black-skinned grape grown in small quantities in Molise. The vines produce medium-sized, egg-shaped berries in lose winged bunches. During maturation, some berries will even detach themselves, thinning bunches even more and further lowinerg the yields. The history of the grape in Molise is open to interpretation. Because the name Tinta means red in Spanish some believe that the grape was introduced into Molise sometime during the 17th century from Spain. Others believe the grape goes all the way back to the Samnites who inhabited the region prior to Roman rule. All agree however it is the most interesting “indigenous” grape in Molise.
Because Tintilia is a very low yielding grape it was not very profitable to grow. The grape managed to survive in a few places here and there until it was “re-discovered” in the late 1990’s by producers such as Terresacre. This was helped in part by the creation of the DOC in 1998 which allowed wines made by at least 85% Tintilia to have the DOC.
Tintilia Riserva Molise 2013 made from 100% Tintilia. The grapes are hand harvested at the end of September and the beginning of October. After the separation of the stalks there is a soft pressing of the grapes. Maceration takes place in steel vats for 20 to 30 days with pumping over of the must. Alcoholic fermentation is for 10 to 12 days in temperature controlled tanks and at a temperature that does not rise above 28C. The wine is aged in French barriques carefully selected by the enologist Goffredo Agostini to respect the character of the Tintilia grape. This is a complex full bodied wine with hints of plum, red fruits, a touch of black pepper and balsamic notes. $41.50
Rispetto Montepulciano “Experientia Manet” 2013 100% Montepulciano. The grapes are hand harvested in late October. Maceration takes place in small steel fermentation tanks for 20 to 25 days and strring takes place. Fermentation is from 10 to 12 days at 28C. The wine is aged in French oak barriques made from two different types of wood. The wine has hints of blueberries, jam, vanilla coconut and coffee. $ 33.50
Thanks to Chef Marcello Russodivito for introducing me to these wines and to Franco Bengazi of Wine Emporium for sending me the samples.