General Wine Geekery #3
General Wine Geekery: Terroir

Agricola Campogrande Rosso

Elio Altare is one of the old men of Barolo; one of the people that were there before Barolo was known around the world and was part of the evolution that made Barolo into what it is now.  In the same spirit that drove Altare to look towards Burgundy back in 1976 he decided to start a new project in Cinque Terre working with the traditional local grapes.  He and a local wine maker, Antonnio Bonnani, rebuilt this 5 acre vineyard and are making beautifully traditional wines from the absurdly steep vineyards.  You don't believe me when I say absurd?

Cinque terre vineyard
I stole this picture from the website, but really, look at that!  Working those vineyards would be so hard!


Cinque Terre is famous for complex, thick, powerful, mineral whites.  This is red.  The whites may be more famous, but the reds are even rarer!  Campogrande made 1500 bottles in the 2011 vintage.  That's 125 cases.  125.  This is because they believe in it.  No one's going to get rich on 125 cases.

Grapes: Caniaolo, Bonamico, Ciliegiolo, and a touch of Sangiovese.

Aroma: The aroma is pretty, relaxed, and floral.  The Campogrande smells like a great flower shop in early spring.   I smell fresh lilac and rose, also fresh raspberry, and....a hint of thyme.  Really it's the barest hint, but it gives the aroma another slightly spicy dimension.  The Campogrande Rosso is lighter but very pretty and endearing.

Taste: The Campogrande Rosso's taste matches it's aroma with a smooth bright taste that's got clean fresh raspberry to it and a feminine refinement.  The acidity is just enough to make the wine bright and fun seeming but not too much.  This tastes like spring to me; it's fresh and clean and has pretty young fruit.  The Campogrande Rosso is a medium to light bodied wine, but that's fine, it's really engaging and entertaining to drink.  The brightness, purity, and hint of spice make the Campogrande an excellent red for fish.

18 bottles came into Maine.  Want one?  Thanks to it's unusual-ness it's only about $22 retail.


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