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 - 2018 Leuconoe

Price: $19.00
Size: 750ml
Availability:

24+ in stock

Type of Wine: White
Grape(s): Aglianico (made like a white wine)
Style: High acid, Mineral, Light, Elegant and Aromatic

The Wine

This whole-cluster pressed Aglianico white wine (yes, made from that deeply hued red grape with tons of tannin and acidity) is as unusual as it is special. Red grapes mostly rely on their skins for a wine’s complexity, color, and flavor. But not every red grape can make good rosé, let alone good white wine. Yet, even the greatest of red varieties would be challenged to match the complexity of this white, which demonstrates how much talent Aglianico harbors inside its thick, dark skins.

Multilayered and surprisingly complex, Leuconoe strikes with high-toned stinging acidity, softened by a back palate of nectar from the season’s first pickings of yellow stone fruits. Honey and spice are joined by a gentle hint of the beguiling smoke aroma typical in Italian wines from volcanic soils. A sublime gem of an experiment!

INFORMATION DISCLAIMER

Terroir: These are the first grapes of the year to be harvested and are from a single 1.5 hectare parcel in the Montalbo district, next to Montalbo mountain. This is a masale selection of grapes with bigger berries which brings more juice and less skin—ideal for this type of wine.

Vinification: The grapes are directly press with a pneumatic press and the first sulfite addition is made during this time. The juice is settled in tank for 24-48 hours and the fermentation is made with natural yeasts, which lasts between 16-22 days and kept under 22°C. One week after the finish of fermentation it is racked into another stainless steel tank for aging. There is no malolactic fermentation.

Aging: Aged only in stainless steel on the lees without any stirring. Bottled in March the following year. It is filtered and sometimes fined, but only if the juice doesn’t fall clear in the week after fermentation.

(Subjective and based on young wines)

General Impressions:

Aromatic, Fresh, Spicy, Smoky, High Acid, Stone Fruit

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:

Beige colored volcanic soil with rounded limestone boulders. While some areas are sandy, it’s mostly a mixture of clays from decomposed volcanic rock and decomposed limestone. There is no bedrock, only deep soil with almost no small stones.

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 30 years (2019)

Altitude (meters):

500

Slope:

A small sloped section and a flat one
(typical numbers; not vintage specific)

Enological Additions:

Sulfites and sometimes Bentonite, a natural clay used for protein stability.

Total SO2:

None AddedVery LowLowMediumHigh

Alcohol:

12-13

pH:

3.20-3.30

Titratable Acidity:

6.5-7.3

Residual Sugar:

Dry

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

About The Wine

This whole-cluster pressed Aglianico white wine (yes, made from that deeply hued red grape with tons of tannin and acidity) is as unusual as it is special. Red grapes mostly rely on their skins for a wine’s complexity, color, and flavor. But not every red grape can make good rosé, let alone good white wine. Yet, even the greatest of red varieties would be challenged to match the complexity of this white, which demonstrates how much talent Aglianico harbors inside its thick, dark skins.

Multilayered and surprisingly complex, Leuconoe strikes with high-toned stinging acidity, softened by a back palate of nectar from the season’s first pickings of yellow stone fruits. Honey and spice are joined by a gentle hint of the beguiling smoke aroma typical in Italian wines from volcanic soils. A sublime gem of an experiment!