Cantina Madonna delle Grazie

The Story

With great excitement we present a dazzling new producer, a huge addition to our growing Italian portfolio. The Latoracca family team of three (two sons, Paolo and Michele, both with enology degrees and father, Giuseppe, who spends all day in the vineyards) has come out swinging since bottling their first wines in 2003.

The combination of two idealistic millennial enologists (Michele has a second degree in Agronomy as well, which he teaches in school) coupled with their father’s deep vineyard wisdom creates the launching pad for truly astonishing juice. These wines convey clarity, craftsmanship, authenticity, and energy unheard of at such reasonable cost.  It’s as if they discovered some secret the rest of the world hasn’t learned yet. If you like reds with a tight grain, lithe body, and high-toned aromas, these are for you.

The Latoraccas release all of their reds later than most producers, even their least expensive. Releasing the wine too early, they believe, does great disservice to Aglianico, and they’re willing to hold their wines until the proper moment for release, no matter when that may be. Each cuvée has its own unique protocol, but overall throughout the elevage, the family applies sensible techniques to keep the wines fresh. It works: the wines glisten like polished stones upon release. -TV

Lay of the Land

Basilicata is the Mali of Italy, and Venosa, where the Latoraccas are located, is its Timbuktu. You could say it’s the ankle and mid-arch of the boot, and mostly landlocked, but for two access points to the Mediterranean, one to the east and one to the west. It’s sparsely populated and the arid landscape is marked devilishly by the infamous extinct volcano, Monte Vulture, which clearly put on a world-class show before it pushed out its last bit of steam.

The new DOCG (since 2010, upgraded from the DOC established in 1971) Aglianco del Vulture is home to a pretty complex arrangement of soils. Of course, Monte Vulture plays a role, but through years of eruptions and floods a layer cake of limestone and volcanic deposits formed, easily observed by cutting into the bedrock. Of course, it’s more complicated than that. Veins of clay, conglomerates and sandstones appear as well, all contributing something unique to the wine made from the rustic, noble, reigning red grape of Italy’s south, Aglianico.

Once a mighty beast, roaring with fire and spewing molten rock, Monte Vulture is deceased, gasping its last breath about 800,000 years ago. It finally blew its lid (literally), emptied its magma chamber (caldera) and eventually collapsed downward into its former magma cooking pot. It’s quiet now and this once great ruler of the land gave its all to this beautiful, tortured vineyard landscape. -TV

Bauccio
Bauccio

Cantina Madonna delle Grazie - 2013 Bauccio Aglianico del Vulture

Price: $32.00
Size: 750ml
Availability:

24+ in stock

Type of Wine: Red
Grape(s): Aglianico
Style: Rich, Rustic, Elegant and Aromatic

The Wine

Bauccio is the flagship of the Latoracca family's efforts and it's equally stout as it is refined. With a full display of only the perfect marriage of volcanic and Aglianico flavors, this top-notch craftsmanship in a bottle will age effortlessly for decades while maintaining very good accessibility in its youth. It's only bottled in years where the seed ripeness is correct so they can extend their maceration times beyond thirty days when the seeds begin to break down. The grapes are picked at the end of October and if the ripeness is not there, it's blended into the Liscone wine, which has a fermentation time short enough to not dig deep into the seeds to extract hard tannins.

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: A sub-parcel of the Liscone vineyard, the soil here is exclusively black volcanic clay and volcanic elements with a soft volcanic tuff layer about 60-70cm below the surface. Tuff is a combination of sand compacted with pyroclastic material, and each volcanic region and subzone has its own combination of minerals and bedrock structure. By comparison to the wine bottled as Liscone, the topsoil inside this same vineyard has little to no tuff in its black volcanic clay topsoil. It takes another week or so to ripen fully despite being next to all the vines for the Liscone wine due to the soil depth and the creek nearby. It is usually picked in the last week of October.

Vinification: All the grapes are destemmed and crushed before its natural fermentation that lasts between 25-34 days, depending on the tannin level of the vintage. Extractions are made daily, with more in the beginning than the end, and the peak temperatures range between 30-35°C which is a consequence of the higher sugar level, which is higher here than the Liscone wine which maxes around 28-32°C. The higher temperatures and the longer maceration extract more tannins from the seeds, but with the longer time on skins and seeds the tannins reach a point where they begin to polymerize and become softer before the aging process. Malolactic fermentation takes place naturally in the spring and sulfites are added after that.

Aging: Once the grapes are pressed, they are settled in stainless steel tank for 7-10 days then racked off the gross less and back into stainless for 2 years. After stainless aging, they are put in 500-liter French oak barrels with 80% of them new for 3-4 years! Interestingly, after this lengthy time in wood its presence within the wine becomes notably absent by the time it is bottled. After its aging in wood, it is racked back into stainless steel for at least six months before bottling. Eventually they will incorporate more time in old foudre (25hl) as well. The wine is lightly filtered but not fined.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Noble, Refined, Balanced Power and Elegance, Dark with Bright Highlights, Ash, Textured, Deeply Complex

Mineral Impressions:

Lightly SaltySaltyMetalMineralWet StoneFlintGraphiteReductivePetrol

Ageability:

Drink YoungShort-Term BenefitsLong-Term BenefitsUnknown

Technical Precision:

NatureModerateNurture

Intensity:

SubtleVigorousElectric

Core:

LitheMediumDense

Acidity:

LightMediumFullElectric

Texture:

LitheMediumDense

Body:

LightMediumFull

Tannin:

NoneLightMediumFull

Wood Presence:

NoneSubtleNoticeable

The Vineyard

Soil:

Black volcanic clay with soft volcanic tuff bedrock

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

Completely natural farming with only the use of copper and sulfur in the vineyards.

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

An average of 55 years (2019)

Altitude (meters):

430

Aspect:

Exposed to all directions

Slope:

Flat
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfites

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

Alcohol:

14.0-14.5

pH:

3.40-3.50

Titratable Acidity:

5.5-6.0

Residual Sugar:

Dry

Notes compiled in 2019 by Ted Vance (The Source) and Paolo Latoracca

About The Wine

Bauccio is the flagship of the Latoracca family’s efforts and it’s equally stout as it is refined. With a full display of only the perfect marriage of volcanic and Aglianico flavors, this top-notch craftsmanship in a bottle will age effortlessly for decades while maintaining very good accessibility in its youth. It’s only bottled in years where the seed ripeness is correct so they can extend their maceration times beyond thirty days when the seeds begin to break down. The grapes are picked at the end of October and if the ripeness is not there, it’s blended into the Liscone wine, which has a fermentation time short enough to not dig deep into the seeds to extract hard tannins.