- Published: 01 November 2023 01 November 2023
We are tasting with Nicola Chiucchiurlotto, founder of the organic Madrevite estate located on the border of Tuscany and Umbria on the undulating hills around lake Trasimeno.
A common thread in his wines is personality and accessibility, from the labels through to the energetic character of the wines themselves.
Nicola Chiucchiurlotto owner of Madrevite
The mention of Umbria summons scenes of high culture, like the frescos of Giotto, or with forests spreading out over rolling hills, patterned with olive groves and vineyards. With regular breezes blowing across the landscape and decent range of diurnal temperatures, the location is especially ideal for viticulture and olive oil production. Amongst all this you find eleven hectares of vines spread across the sixty hectare estate, that Nicola revived and has expanded since his grandfathers days, intentionally referencing regional scents and flavours.
While we are tasting, Nicola, dives back into history, referencing periods of Spanish presence on the Italian peninsular, the influence of Popes, and marauding Sicilians. There is something in the drinkability of his wines that conjures discussion, evoking these unexpected linkages, leading us back to the grape varieties, Grenache and Grechetto.
Madrevite Elvè - Grecheto 2020
Pale, with aromas of white fruits, wild herbs like rosemary and thyme.The rich fresh complexity of flavour is preserved in the winemaking process by using dry ice to ensure protection from oxygen, which can assert its own influence on the wine. Nicola stresses the human inputs, both physically in the fields and philosophically in winemaking choices.
There is a fine balance between the flavours, the richness of intensity and the savouriness on the finish, as it makes a clean sweep of the palate.
Madrevite Reminore 2020
Nicola describes this wine, or precisely, the grape, Trebbiano Spoletino, as one for the young, because of its versatility. He says he also uses it to make an organic (sparkling) pet nat.
Golden colour - Macerated on the skins with some lees stirring (batonnage), tropical fruit, fresh basil, brighter acidity than the Elvé. Mouthwatering fresh clean sensation with cool long dry finish.
Versatile for food choices but with autumn setting in, I would go for roasted partridge, infused with wild Umbrian herbs, root veg, in a light gravy of cooking juices.
Madrevite Bisbetica 2021 - Gamay del Trasimeno (Grenache) Rose
Attractive soft pink hue. Fresh wild strawberry with rose scents,. Preserved from the cold maceration, before 4 months aging in cement and stainless steel tanks, with 4 months in the bottle. A rosé with some suavity.
Nicola discusses the history of Grenache arriving in the region, four or five centuries ago. It is one chequered with meddling popes and Spanish rulers, among others. All of this feeds into culture of loving life as much as wine. Nicola emphasises the linkages between everything.
Madrevite Opra Trasimeno - DOC, Gamay del Trasimeno 2022
Pale cherry lipstick red. Bright lozenge cherry nose, very pleasant, light juicy fresh wine, mild soft tannin, highly drinkable. Harvest is done by hand and undergoes spontaneous fermentation, followed by maceration and ageing for ten months in cement tanks and three months in the bottle. All lending to its softness and bright appeal.
Friendly and fun, with lots of one-more-glass-allure. Nicola makes the stylistic link to another gorgeous Sicilian variety, Nerello Mascalese, famous for its equally vibrant energy.
Madrevite C'Osa 2019 - Trasimeno - DOC Gamey del Trasimeno Reserva
The C’Osa label is inspired by the art of Jean-Michel Basquiet, himself a cultural icon in the short time he was alive and, portentously said, “I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.”
A darker more complex wine with opening hints of black pepper, black cherries and forest floor aromas. The wine is aged in both cement and large oak tanks that are not toasted. The resulting wine shows a gentle presence of wood but not at all overpowering; adds a little complexity. Ripe juicy tannic structure.
C’Osa leaves the mouth excited for a mouthful of autumnal baked mushrooms, succulent roasted duck, a wild herb gravy, with crispy roast potatoes.
Wine tasting in the real world involves discussion, food, liveliness and conversation. Nicola clearly sees the context for his wines in this way. Although we tasted for only an hour, it was good to hear a winemaker talk about the times in which we live. He acknowledges the complexity of the age, with pandemic, Brexit (impacting ability to sell in the UK), and war. Perhaps it is the communion of people, enhanced by wine, that makes bearable the greater, more worldly problems, that confront us.
To echo Basquiet: the best way to know Madrovite is to fill your glass.
Price guide on the continent: €15 Bisbetica Rosé - €35 C’OSA
by Nick Breeze