Monastero Suore Cistercensi
At a monastery in Vitorchiano, a striking village perched on the side of a heavily wooded gorge in northern Lazio, about ninety minutes from Rome, a group of nuns tend organically farmed orchards, gardens, and vineyards. A blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia, and Verdicchio, this is a great introduction to “orange” wines (catchy name for white wines fermented and macerated on their skins) under the guidance of Giampiero Bea, the famous Umbrian winemaker. Buy for $21.99
Buy for $25.99
Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle 2010
About 10 miles southeast from the face of Mont Blanc in the Valle d’Aosta, the village of Morgex sits at an elevation of 3,000 feet above sea level. This Prié Blanc, a native variety, grows in vineyards farmed by Ermes Pavese perched even higher, around 4,000 feet (1,200 meters). The resulting wine is a racy, pure white with incredibly vivid flavors and a mineral character. These vineyards are the highest in continental Europe, right at the edge of practicable viticulture, and thanks to their isolation, have never been affected by phylloxera, so the vines are “own-rooted”.
Torrette Superieur “Vigne Rovettaz” 2008
Also in the Valle d’Aosta, the five sons of Dauphin Grosjean now run the estate that he built, farming seven hectares of vineyards using only organic fertilizer and never resorting to either pesticides or herbicides. The Rovettaz is a single vineyard situated in the town of Quart – thought to be the origin for the name of Fontina cheese, as a mountain pasture, Alpe Fontin, lies here – and is composed of Petit Rouge, Fumin, and Cornalin. This is a bright, juicy red, with plenty of nervy intensity that we’ll be drinking plenty of as the weather continues to warm. Buy for $24.99
Buy for $41.99
Az. Agr. Montevertine
Montevertine is the name the wine, the estate where it is made, and the “hilltop hamlet” in the heart of the Chianti district where the domaine is situated. Montevertine’s first vintage was produced by Sergio Manetti in 1971 and little has changed now that the estate is under the administration of his son, Martino. While frequently referred to as a member of the “Super Tuscan” group, the wines of Montevertine are perhaps the philosophical opposite of those in that heterogenous “group.” While the Super Tuscans rely heavily on “international” grape varieties to craft wines that match their makers’ visions, Montevertine is dedicated to tradition – so much so that, rather than incorporate white grapes into the blend (as was once required for Chianti), in 1981 Sergio Manetti parted ways with the Chianti Classico Consortium and denomination, to produce one of the few, authentic examples of what Chianti Classico should be, based heavily on Sangiovese with Canaiolo and small amounts of Colorino – all traditional Tuscan varieties. This is a true benchmark Tuscan wine, miles above the oceans of poor-quality Chianti produced each year.