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 delle Grazie - 2016 Messer Oto

Price: $20.00
Size: 750ml
Availability:

24+ in stock

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

The Wine

Messer Oto is a charmer and perhaps their most versatile wine and able to appeal to a broad range of drinkers. The aging in steel preserves the wine's aromas and freshness, revealing impressive levels of bright acidity, earthiness and an ethereal nose. One might say this is the Aglianico for summer time.

It's named after the fountain in Venosa, where you can see these vineyards off in the distance. Paolo commented that the wine should be easy to drink, like you're drinking from a fountain. It is easy to drink...

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: The two-hectare parcel of Aglianico vines that make up Messer Oto come from the family’s youngest vineyards (15 years—noted in 2019) in Venosa’s Fiano di Camera district, inside the Aglianico del Vulture DOC in southern Italy. A location 420 meters above sea level on volcanic soils full of limestones begets this wine with highly expressive with bright aromas. The normal yield is targeted at 50-55hl/ha (70-80 quintale) and the grapes are a masale selection of small berries with more polyphenols in the skin, which brings more color to the wine. These grapes are usually picked in the middle of October and are the first ones in for red wine production. Climatically it is the same as the other vineyards in their range, but the soils are better drained which results in earlier ripening than the Liscone, Bauccio and Drogone, all with more rich volcanic clay soils.

Vinification: To achieve the ethereal nose and spry texture, the grapes are fully destemmed and crushed before fermenting in stainless steel vats. These are always the first grapes to come in at harvest—usually during October—and start fermentation naturally within a few days. Gentle pump-overs (more early on and less toward the end) are made each day during its 10-14 day fermentation, with peak temperatures between 28-32°C.

Aging: The wine is left on its lees in stainless steel tanks for two to three years, depending on the vintage. Sulfites may be added before fermentation but its more common after the malolactic fermentation—this depends on how healthy the grapes are. It is lightly filtered but not fined.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Red and Purple Fruit, High Energy, Fun, Serious, Textured

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:

Light brown volcanic tuff mixed with lacustrine (from lakes) cobbles of volcanic and sedimentary limestone origin. There are a lot of stones in the first meter of topsoil and the more flat zones are composed of darker volcanic soil.

Farming:

SustainableOrganic CertifiedBiodynamic CertifiedUncertified Naturalist

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

Irrigation:

ForbiddenNeverSometimes

Vine Age:

Average of 15 years (2019)

Altitude (meters):

420

Aspect:

Numerous aspects

Slope:

Soft to Medium
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfites

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

Alcohol:

13.0-14.0

pH:

3.50-3.60

Titratable Acidity:

5.3-5.8

Residual Sugar:

Dry

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

About The Wine

Messer Oto is a charmer and perhaps their most versatile wine and able to appeal to a broad range of drinkers. The aging in steel preserves the wine’s aromas and freshness, revealing impressive levels of bright acidity, earthiness and an ethereal nose. One might say this is the Aglianico for summer time.

It’s named after the fountain in Venosa, where you can see these vineyards off in the distance. Paolo commented that the wine should be easy to drink, like you’re drinking from a fountain. It is easy to drink…