The beauty of Italian wine lies in its diversity. There is never a dull moment when it comes to discovering unique varieties from unheralded places.
Several years back my friend, who I refer to as the "Mayor of the Marche" introduced me to the wines of the Pergola Rosso appellation.
This is a tiny wine zone in the Marche dedicated to making red wine from the Aleatico grape. The villages of Pergola, Fratte Rosa, Frontone, Serra Sant'Abbondio and San Lorenzo in Campo encompass the zone. There are only a handful of producers left making Pergola. And there are only about 1200 acres of Aleatico left in Italy.
Andrea and Cristina Orsini are the sixth generation making wines from their small farm on the outskirts of Montalfoglio, a small village in the central Marche.
Pandolfi Orsini makes the quintessential example of Pergola Rosso. The grape Aleatico is thought to be a mutation from the white grape Muscat. Yet there is still a lot unknown about where the grape variety originated.
Andrea keeps vinification of the varietal simple, with fermentation with natural yeasts in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. It is aged further in tanks until bottling.
The result is a truly aromatic, floral red, with lots of black cherry notes and spice. It is medium-bodied, with good freshness on the finish. It reminds us a bit of Frappatto mixed with Sangiovese, you know, Frangiovese!
Drink this alongside seared salmon or simple red sauced pasta dishes.
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