Alea Viva is 100% Aleatico di Gradoli. Very expressive, aromatic nose combines floral raspberry, liquorice, quinine, cinnamon and white pepper. Breezy, pure, fresh flavours hint at red cherry, dill and gunflint, complicated by a strong note of nutmeg. This intensely flavoured, classically dry wine finishes with polished tannins and outstanding energy and perfume. This is a rare example of dry Aleatico, a wine that is usually sweet.
ANDREA OCCHIPINTI, TUSCIA, Lazio Certified Organic by PCCB, Natural
This estate is based on the slopes surrounding the volcanic lake of Bolsena; the region is part of Maremma (called “Tuscia” in Lazio), just about 15 minutes’ drive from the Tuscan border.
Andrea works essentially with Aleatico di Gradoli (the local aleatico, stylewise a bit more on the delicacy and spicyness than Massa Vecchia) and with Grechetto Rosso (called Grechette due to proximity with Umbria, but part of the Sangiovese family, although it tastes completely different than any sangiovese I ever tried). These are real wines of terroir, pure and natural. Andrea fell in love with the vineyards of Gradoli while he was at the Agrarian University of Tuscia, so much so that they became the subject of his master’s thesis in 2004. He was able to rent and purchase 4 hectares of vineyards planted in the 1990’s. They are set at 450 metres above sea level on the volcanic slopes of Bolsena Lake, the biggest volcanic lake in Europe. Situated just one hour north of Rome, the lake provides a unique microclimate that together with the particular terroir and Andrea’s objective to preserve and promote the local indigenous varietals, Aleatico and Grechetto Rosso, produce wines with the flavour of tradition and the effervescence of innovation. The vines are farmed organically and harvest is manual with particularly low yields.