Earlier this month with the Italian Food-Wine-Travel group I featured Lazio, a less known Italian region, and Cesanese, an indigenous grape found there. I couldn’t resist ordering more and picked up another grape native to Lazio but even less known. That grape is Nero Buono.
Wine Searcher has a succinct write up about it here.
Nero Buono is an ancient grape, meaning it goes back to the Romans and a politician named Cincinnatus who planted it in and around the hills of Cori. It’s cultivated there today in small quantities.
The variety likes altitude and volcanic soils and gets it in this area. The volcanic origin of the hills link to the Lepini Mountains. Altitudes range from 600 to 1,600 feet (200-500m) with crisp breezes and lots of sunshine.
The bottle I purchased is from producer Marco Carpineti. 41 hectares of grapes and 11 of olives are cultivated on the family estate in Cori, organic since 1994.
Carpineti is all about the rediscovery of native grapes and the foundation for which his company is built. And long ago these ancient grapes grew without use of pesticides and junk- he farms and makes his wine this way, nothing added accept a little SO2. Grapes grown include Bellone, Archpriest (a biotype of Bellone) and two Greek grape varieties known in Cori as Moro and Yellow. They almost disappeared.
After his farmer father passed in 1986 he transitioned from electrician to the family estate. He made various changes since then including the switch to bio (organic) farming and use of horses for plowing a certain portion of vineyards.
Apolide | Lazio IGT | 100% Nero Buono
This was Mark and my first time tasting Nero Buono.
A fifteen day temperature controlled maceration followed by twenty-four months aging in used barrels resulted in a medium ruby colored wine. At six years old– it’s from the 2013 vintage– we were surprised it didn’t have any browning color around the edges.
It smells of vibrant blackberry, dark cherry, black olives and forest floor. As many Italian wines we tasted, the body is bright with an over arching acid structure yet brilliantly balanced with tannins that felt soft. Dried herbs enter the finishing scene leaving you with more savory flavors and impressive length.
According to Ian D’Agata, Marco Carpineti is a maker of outstanding organic wines.
A stellar introduction to Nero Buono via Carpineti at just 30€.