After tasting with Tenuta di Trinoro I hopped back in the Abarth and blasted over into Umbria. Halfway through the drive I was actually on roads that I recognized from running around Lake Trasimeno and to Tiberi last year! It was a funny feeling to be driving through Italy and realize I actually knew the towns and roads and didn't need GPS to get around.
In an excellent moment of serendipity I pulled up to Della Staffa just as the Danilo and the whole SelectioNaturel crew rolled in after having lunch at Collecapretta! Sleeping situations all got sorted out and we took a short break before heading over to Tiberi for dinner and to taste their new vintages. Carolyn and Jen came with me and I tried hard to drive in a calm polite manner. The back seat has decent space but it's right over the rear wheels so any one back there feels every bump!
It was great to see everyone at Tiberi. We walked through the vineyards and talked about how porous their soil is. It's argillous and a bit sandy and the same sort of stuff the call Ponca up in Friuli (thanks Marco Sara for teaching me that name!). We were there walking the vineyards right at dusk and Umbria was at it's prettiest.
Generally they get relatively a lot of rain at Tiberi so being up on a windy west facing hill with great drainage is good because it keeps the vines from having too much water and prevents humidity in the vineyard. Humidity leads to vine and grape diseases: non bouno. But 2017 was hideously hot and dry. It didn't rain for 6 months where they are. So they actually had to do some drip irrigation in order to keep some of their 80+ year old Gamay del Trasimeno (actually Grenache) vines from dying.
It was a hard year and yields were down, but I get the feeling that they and the other wine makers I spoke to were watching and checking the vineyards day and night so that they could manage to catch the tiny windows of optimal proper balanced ripeness and not let the grapes get over ripe. The whites I tasted certainly were proof that their hard work had paid off because they were fresh and vivacious (vivace). The two pet nats, Tribulato and Musticco, we're fantastic: clean fun and refreshing.
They both had a poise and elegance that wasn't their in previous vintages, but this is only the third year they had made Tribulato, the second time they'd made Musticco, and just the 4th vintage for them making wine period, so obviously there's going to be a learning curve there.
We tasted through their l'rosso, l'bianco, bianco de Cesare (named for the great grandfather) and a couple older vintages. They're lovely ripe giving central Umbrian wines that are so grounded in that place. When I drink them I can really smell and taste the same smells I had when I ran across the countryside there last autumn. And they were awesome with all the grilled pork and lamb that they cooked on a wood fire outside!