A native of the Jurançon region in the foothills of the French Atlantic Pyrenees, the small-berried, thick-skinned Petit Manseng grape from which this white wine is made, is more highly regarded than its larger-berried sibling, Gros Manseng. As Petit Manseng’s small berries yield very little juice, they are not harvested until late autumn. By this time the grapes have shrivelled and their sugar content is at its most concentrated. This is the process known in French as ‘passerillage’. Interest in the grape’s potential is growing in the Agro Pontino valley, where it was planted for the first time by Casale del Giglio in their vineyards at Le Ferriere, near the town of Latina, 50 km south of Rome.
GRAPE VARIETIES AND VINIFICATION TECHNIQUE
The optimal acidity of 100% fully ripe Petit Manseng grapes guarantees the varietal character of this aromatic white wine. After crushing and destemming the grapes are chilled to 7-8˚C and allowed to macerate at this temperature for 10-12 hours. They are then slowly and gently soft-pressed to avoid damaging the skins and sedimentation takes place naturally at 14-16˚C. Spontaneous fermentation enhances the aromatic characteristics of the variety and yeasts are not added until the second day. Ten days later, when fermentation (at 18-20˚C) is over, the new wine is racked and cooled to prevent the onset of malolactic fermentation. After several months on the lees, the wine is bottled in March or April of the following year.
Brilliantly straw-yellow in colour, the wine is intensely aromatic, fruity and spicy on the nose, fresh, crisp and flinty on the palate. An exquisitely structured wine which bows out on a seductive, fruit-filled finish.
SUGGESTED FOOD PAIRING
Ideal with ‘Scorfano Ponzese all’Acqua Pazza’ – scorpion fish (from the island of Ponza) in flavoured broth.
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