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

Cantina Madonna della Grazie Liscone
Cantina Madonna della Grazie Liscone

Cantina Madonna delle Grazie - 2014 Liscone

Price: $23.00
Size: 750ml
Availability:

24+ in stock

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

The Wine

Liscone’s taste is more refined and sophisticated than Messer Oto, the first Aglianico in the range grown on very different soil and with younger vines. It is notably more serious, deep, dark red with a fine structure and loads of charm. It punches so far above its weight class that most are shocked by the price, even top Italian wine professionals in California's best restaurants. Like Messer Oto, the wine matches very well the overall mood suggested by its dreamscape label.

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: The 5.5 hectares that compose the Liscone wine comes from 30+ year-old vines sitting 430 meters above the sea. Three kilometers away from Messer Oto, it is harvested one week later in late October because of its soil made of more clay and the nearby creek, not because the temperature is so different. The plants are a masale selection different than those on Messer Oto, but likely have their larger size because of the stronger water retentive ability of the soils by comparison. The average yield is 50-55hl/ha (70-80 quintale).

Vinification: Liscone’s natural fermentation is longer than Messer Oto’s, and ranges between 14-24 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 28-32°C. Malolactic fermentation takes place naturally in the spring and sulfites are added after that.

Aging: Aging takes place initially in stainless steel for 18 months, then it is racked into old, neutral 500-liter French oak barrels for one year and then back to stainless for 3-6 months before bottling. The wine is lightly filtered but not fined.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Dark Fruit, Earthy, Ashy, Classy, Elegant, Structured

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:

Exclusively black volcanic soil with more clay and volcanic elements without much in the way of a solid bedrock within reach of the vine roots, save the volcanic reasonably soft tuff layer below. 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. Mixed in with the topsoil, tuff rocks are easy broken apart, adding a slightly sandier grain to the soil along with the dark clay. Bauccio, a step up in their range, is also located in this vineyard but with less tuff, making for soils with more dense, darker clay.

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

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

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

Planted in 1986

Altitude (meters):

430

Aspect:

Exposed to all directions

Slope:

Flat
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfites

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

Alcohol:

13.0-14.0

pH:

3.4-3.5

Titratable Acidity:

5.5-6.0

Residual Sugar:

Dry

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

About The Wine

Liscone’s taste is more refined and sophisticated than Messer Oto, the first Aglianico in the range grown on very different soil and with younger vines. It is notably more serious, deep, dark red with a fine structure and loads of charm. It punches so far above its weight class that most are shocked by the price, even top Italian wine professionals in California’s best restaurants. Like Messer Oto, the wine matches very well the overall mood suggested by its dreamscape label.