Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thanks to Dr. FRANCESCO BELLINI of DOMODIMONTI Vineyards for sponsoring the trip and Riccardo Strano, DIRECTOR of the ITALIAN GOVERNMENT TOURIST BOARD NORTH AMERICA (http://www.italiantourism.com/ ) for helping organize the trip. As you can see from the photos, I was sent to Montefiore dell'Aso for the Grand Opening of Domodimonti's state-of-the-art facility and the Grand Opening of ALBERGO MAGNOLIA, Domodimonti's new hotel and spa, located on the vineyard.
Located ONLY two hours plus East of Rome, the LE MARCHE region offers a breathtaking landscape characterized by simple, yet elegant beauty. LE MARCHE offers a vast landscape of narrow coastal plains that rise sharply into the peaks of the Sibillini Mountains, which create a natural boundary between Umbria and Tuscany. Emilia-Romagna is to the north and Abruzzo is to the south. LE MARCHE'S eastern border is the Adriatic Sea, whose crown jewel is ANCONA.
The region is a MUST VISIT if you are fortunate enough to fly to ROME. it is only a few hours away. I have toured Italy over 50 times and am amazed that LE MARCHE has not been on my agenda. I am ashamed to admit that my last visit to this region was in 1981.
The landscape is amazing, as well as the adjacent Adriatic Sea. At times you feel like you are in New Zealand, which is graced with natural beauty and an ocean that is paradise.
My main objective was to visit the DOMODIMONTI Vineyards, a boutique winery with a 400,000 wine bottle production capability. (140,000 bottles were produced in 2009)
LE MARCHE is a REGION IN ITALY that is not on the RADAR of most TOURIST TRAVEL in ITALY and should be.
My second objective was to attend the ALBERGO MAGNOLIA Hotel and Spa GRAND OPENING on the grounds of the vineyard.
The property is owned by Dr. FRANCESCO BELLINI and his family. Dr. Bellini, a research chemist-entrepreneur, grew up in the area ( Ascoli Piceno) and decided to return to his roots by purchasing property (140 acres) to create a "NATURAL WINE VINEYARD".
DOMODIMONTI's objective is to produce wines as naturally as possible with the least amount of additives. As a chemist and research scientist, Dr. Bellini, who resides in both Montreal and Le Marche, approached the science of winemaking from a chemists point of view.
DOMODIMONTI'S natural approach to the cultivation and conservation of wines typically exceeds the rules and regulations of organic farming. Domodimonti focuses on specific aspects of sustainable wine growth including water conservation, soil improvement, erosion control and the latest in Integrated Pest Management techniques.
The vines are sustainably grown, using organic matter. The grapes are hand-picked, low-yielding with no sugar added. The wine has no acid adjustments, strict selection of yeasts and no other additives for mouth-feel or color. Minimal sulfites are added. Temperature controlled vats with external jackets allow strict control of the very important stage of fermentation. By cooling each individual vat, Domodimonti is able to substitute the use of sulfites during the fermentation process.
"OUR FAMILY PHILOSPHY IS TO MAKE THE HIGHEST QUALITY WINE WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT OF INTERVENTION POSSIBLE. WE STRIVE FOR OUR WINES TO BE A NATURAL AND AUTHENTIC REFLECTION OF THEIR ORIGIN" The BELLINI Family
The vineyard is spread across the backdrop of Montefiore dell'Aso. The vineyards are spread over several parcels of land. The soil is clay with the vines facing south. The soil was originally covered by the Adriatic Sea. The vicinity of the sea to the east and the protection by the 'Sibillini Mountains' play a role in the 1200 foot high vineyards ideal microclimate for healthy and natural ripening of the grapes.
The first vintage was in 2004, although the vineyard has been in existence since the 1950's. A great deal of work was performed to restructure the original vines and to plant new ones. Throughout the growing season the vines are monitored for growth. During the summer months, the vines are pruned, reducing the fruit by 50%. This strengthens the remaining grapes. They receive the maximum amount of nutrients and achieve their full potential.
CARLO FERRINI, the internationally acclaimed winemaker, adds his guidance and inspiration to the wines he produces at Domodimonti. The entire winemaking process is performed under nitrogen, which is generated by ionic exchange, allowing Domodimonti to handle and later bottle the wine in the absence of oxygen. (This is where Dr. Bellini and his chemist mind enters).
The wine is aged in French oak barrels in the wine cellar. Depending on the wine, the duration in the barrels may range from 3-14 months. Afterwards, the wine is bottled and stored for a minimum of three months, before being shipped.
The grape varieties include: Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Petit Verdot, Pecorino, Passerina, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
DOMODIMONTI makes wonderful wines, which are distributed in America through Domodimonti North America , located at 79 Victoria Square, Suite 224, Montral, Quebec.
The office can be reached at (+1) 514-288-8466.
PICCOLO PRINCIPE ROSATO.... a Marche Rose wine made from Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. This salmon colored wine has a nose of red berries followed by soft, delicate, fruity
notes. The wine is a perfect wine for the summer,as it is lively, refreshing and is always a hit when entertaining. It is a must buy over the roses from the south of France. Four thousand bottles are produced on a ten acre plot. The first year of production was 2006. This wine pairs wonderfully with sesame crusted salmon and a spicy beef tatare.
DEJA' V.....a pale yellow wine with green highlights made with the Passerina grape. In Le Marche, one finds grapes that are not found in other parts of Italy. The Passerina grape is an example. Vineyards with this grape are known to be near Domodimontis vineyard, in Ascoli Picene, the birthlace of Dr. Bellini. The high acidity of the grape, as of late, has sparked Carlo Ferrini's interest and has resulted in an interesting, seafood friendly wine. I sampled DEJA'V with mushroom risotto, which paired perfectly with the Passerina grape. The bouquet is highlighted by pears and baked apples. The palate is rich and silky due to the intense flavor of the grape. This popular wine was first bottled in 2007. Today, twenty thouand bottles are bottles are produced. annually.
LI COSTE....this golden yellow wine is made from the Pecorino grape (new to me)...taste wise, the wine reminds me of a buttery, oaked California Chardoonnay. The nose has elegant notes of hazelnut, vanilla, peach and bananas. In the 1970's the Pecorino grape was confined to old vineyards in the foothills of Ascoli Picene and Maserata. recently the grape has been rediscovered and is used in many DOC wines, as is LI COSTE. The grape is blended perfectly in the 2009 LI COSTE release. The wine has is straw yellow in color with green highlights. Intense perfume with floral nuances higlight this highly acidic wine. Due to it's complexity, this is my favorite white wine Domodimonte produces. Only ten thousand bottles are bottles produced on a three acre plot.
MONTE FIORE....deep purple, ruby in color...100% Sangiovese...aroma of ripe berries, plums, strawberries and cloves...soft tannins on the palate mixed with flavors of ripe red and dark fruit.
This fresh, young wine has a complex structure with very soft tannins, found only in a few wines made from the Sangiovese grape. Domodimonti has achieved that quality in a very short time frame. The wine was first produced in 2007. With fifteen acres dedicated to the production of this wine that pairs well with cheese, salmon and veal scallopini , I assume production will exceed the fifteen thousand bottles that are produced today. MONTE FIORE, a true food wine, is reasonably priced and a true winner.
PICENS.....a fairly intense purple, ruby wine made with a blend of Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon....the nose is intriging...aromas of blackberries, leather and menthol abound...the palate is highlighted with intense red fruit and berries, followed by supple tannins. PICENS is an IGT wine that pairs well with most types of food, including pizza, veal and cow's milk cheese. The flavor intensifies when chilled, the same process you do with a Beaujolais. Aged in French oak for six months, and first produced in 2004, PICENS deserves a place on your wine rack. It is an all around wine that should be drunk daily. Fifteen acres produce twenty-eight thousand bottles.
IL MESSIA....deep ruby red hue...made from Montepulciano and Merlot...complex structure with hints of blackberries and anise. Il Messia has a long finish and can be stored for several years. IL MESSIA is a robust wine, that is both delicate, spicy and mild. Aged in French oak for fouteen months and in the bottle for another six months, this wine represents what care and dedication Domodimonti has for it's prized grapes. Translated, the 'Messiah' is a true Messiah that has come of age. Only five-thousand eight-hundred bottles are produced on twelve acres. The first vintage was 2004. IL MESSIA is a very elegant wine that should be drunk on special occassions. It is my favorite red of the collection, even though SOL PER TE runs a close second.
SOLO PER TE.....deep ruby red in color, this overly intense, complex wine has a bouquet of dark chocolate, red berries and leather...the palate highlights chocolate, licorice and dark berries...this wine is well structured with a very long finish....100% Montepulciano. This is the jewel of Domodimonti. Aged for fourteen months in new French oak and another eight months in a bottle, this intense, over the top wine is destined to age into the best wine Domodimonti produces. Only two thousand bottles are produced, making this wine sought after by wine collectors worldwide. The first year of production was 2004. SOLO PER TE is destined to be a 'Classic' wine, similar to Barolo's and Brunello's.
In general, DOMODIMONTI'S "NATURAL WINES" are unequaled in the marketplace.
To learn more about DOMODIMONTI and their Unique Winemaking Philosophy, visit their website: http://www.domodimonti.com/ .
If you want to stay at their new Hotel/Spa, ALBERGO MAGNOLIA, visit http://www.albergomagnolia.com/ for information.
Photos by Fausto Proietti firstname.lastname@example.org
PHILIP S. KAMPE