Hanging out with Danilo in Umbria
Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations

Visiting Tiberi in Umbria: Story and Pictures

Visiting Tiberi in Umbria: Story and Pictures

8 acre family winery that I love

On Thursday Danilo and I took a drive over to visit the Tiberi family in Montepetriolo. The Tiberis have about 8 acres of vines on this beautiful windy hillside looking west. As much as anything in reality can actually live up to an ideal the Tiberis epitomize what I love about the natural wine movement. They've lived here on this hill top and grown grapes for generations but around 2010 the price they could get selling their grapes wasn't enough to make ends meet. The specter of selling their family homestead was real and frightening, but somehow they heard of Danilo Marcucci and reached out to him. After some talks they decided to partner with Danilo in order to learn how to make wine and export it. They had been making a bit of wine themselves and just selling it to neighbors and the grandfather, Cesare, had made wine there when he was younger so it wasn't completely foreign. They renovated a ground floor room of their house to act as a starter winery and bought a couple tanks. What they did have going for them was a fantastic vineyard site with 50 year old vines of Trebbiano, Gamay del Trasimeno, Sangiovese, and Ciliegiolo. The younger generation, Federico and his sister Beatrice, dove into the whole process of naturally managing the vines, natural wine making, and maybe most intimidating was trying to export the wines to the US, Germany, Sweden, China, and so on. 

The first vintage they bottled and sold was 2015. It was a difficult vintage that was quite hot and the grapes were very ripe. Some of their Trebbiano got stuck during fermentation because it had so much sugar. After several days with the fermentation still stuck Danilo told them to just bottle it so that it would eventually finish fermenting in the bottle and they would have a pet nat. That was the first Tribulato. It was pretty crazy: deep, savory, frothy, sunny, and a bit spicy. I actually did really like it but it was pretty far from the fun thirst quenching style of petnat that is dominant now. But that was the start! They named it Tribulato because the vintage was such a tribulation. They made it though and that inspired them to go on and keep making petnats. The following year they made the first vintage of Musticco: a delicious Gamay del Trasimeno based petnat rose. All this is to say I was excited to go have lunch with Federico and taste the new vintages. 

We drove over and walked through the vineyards first. They're very small and planted on the hillside right around the house and winery, so that was very quick! But their Trebbiano grapes were still on the vines, just about ready to harvest in the next several days. The grapes looked super healthy!

We sat down to lunch and in between talking politics and inflation I was so impressed by the wines and had to retaste the l'Bianco and l'Rosso; they were just so good. The 2021s are a big step for the Tberis. All the wines of this vintage taste so well put together; sunny and Umbrian but well balanced and interesting and clean and precise. It's fantastic to see how they have perfected their wine making skills and thoughtfully evolved in the styles of wine they produce. 

They were just getting ready to harvest their old vine Trebbiano and the grapes looked super healthy!

Here's the view from their windy hill side vineyard

The Tiberis built a new winery last year and moved into it in the autumn. So these 2021s are the first vintage where they've had a space larger than a tool shed to work in!

Tiberi Il Musticco Frizzante Rosato

Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Maine & Loire, Cafe Louis, and Solo Cucina

Gamay del Trasimeno with a bit of Ciliegiolo blended in.

Aroma: the aroma comes across immediately as pretty strawberry, some rhubarb, and a little bit of raspberry. It smells elegant and also a little bit savory, a little bit like strawberry shortcake, strawberries and baked pastries.

Taste: fresh strawberry, a little bit of cranberry; it's bright and fun up front. The bubbles come in and they're very fine and fizzy- pretty and not too intense. The mid palate has more strawberry and raspberry. It's beautiful and really reminds me of slightly cooked like strawberry shortcake or something like that. The strawberry fruit builds across the palate and there's a little bit of salt too that comes in underneath and makes it more savory. Again, the flavor is very much like delicious strawberry flavored pastry. This is the best vintage yet, certainly the most integrated and cohesive. Previous vintages were good but this is a huge step forward.

Tiberi Il Tribulato Frizzante
Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Solo Cucina

Trebbiano and 30% Verdicchio grapes. Direct press and refermented in bottle with frozen grape must.

Aroma: sunny and relaxed. It smells a bit like a meadow in the sun in late summer, and then behind and above that I can smell some dry pineapple, yellow peach, and some white rose. It's a very pretty aroma that sort of meanders back and forth between savory and fruity

Taste: fine frothy bubbles that lift the wine up and expand and dry out the mid palate and finish. Up front I taste some pineapple and dry lemon- it's the flavor of pineapple but not any sweetness. There's a little bit of a saltiness underneath the fizz of the mid palate, then a little bit more pineapple comes in followed by some dry orange and orange zest flavors on the finish. It's really interesting and delicious: the wine is refreshing and uplifting and playful... but a lot of the flavors are actually a bit more savory. It's cool how those different flavors are woven together to create this overall more uplifting and playful experience.

Tiberi l'Bianco 

Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Solo Cucina

50/50 Trebbiano and Grechetto. The juice spends a night on the skins before being racked off.

Aroma: ripe honeydew melon, some lime zest, guava, orange, and kumquat. It's that classic Trebbiano sunny relaxed ripe meaty sort of fruit. It's orangey but also sort of makes me think of roasted ripe squash: delicata butternut spaghetti squash....

Taste: ripe and then so deliciously salty! It opens with a burst of bright citrusy orange fruit and then this delicious salt on the mid palate just lights up my taste buds like fireworks. The wine is bright and refreshing, but it has some body. It has some roundness that gives it a more relaxed character. It tastes a little bit melony on the mid palate and then the finish has a little bit of aromatic spice like sage and salty lemon!

Tiberi Pistarello Orange Wine

Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Goods and Solo Cucina

90% Trebbiano and 10% Grechetto. The juice spent 17 days on the skins with regular punch downs. 

Aroma: orange, fresh mango, ripe cantaloupe, yellow peach.... it's a fresh, rich, ripe fruit driven aroma! It smells sort of orangey but not in any way oxidized or funky

Taste: yup, orangie up front with nice fresh acidity. Some salt comes in underneath and gives it this tasty delicious satisfying component. All well and good, where is the oranginess to it you ask? Well then the tannins come in! It's actually great; it's totally in line and works really well and is not aggressive. But you get this more meaty almost like cooked or nice delicious marmalade with some drying tannins to it. It also reminds me of tea; like a beautiful white tea or a really pale aromatic elegant Earl Grey. Boy now that I've said that I feel like I taste Bergamot and the finish. It lingers and is super elegant. There's really nothing rough or aggressive about this orange wine. It's excellent

Tiberi l'Rosso

Approximately $30/btl 

Available at Goods and Solo Cucina

80% Gamay del Trasimeno and 20% Ciliegiolo with a short 4-6 day skin maceration.

Aroma: dried cherries, strawberries, ripe reduced cooked down tomatoes, and something that's right on the edge of ripe deep blood orange. This is really interesting and beautiful: bright and a little bit floral, kind of aromatic, but there's an elegance and delicacy to it. And it smells really honestly central Mediterranean Italian

Taste: wow! This wine has fantastic poise and focus. The fruit flavors are vivid but also sort of restrained: not too juicy and in your face. Some dried cherry, some raspberry, very smooth with this suave salty component that gently builds behind the fruit. The mid palate has beautiful pure fresh cherry. It makes the wine super savory and delicious but still so sleek and effortless. There are tannins but they're gentle and linger and draw out this cherry almost candy sort of flavor on the finish. This has the supple-ness of elegant red Burgundy!

This Thursday we're hosting a wine dinner at Nina June to celebrate the release of Sara Jenkins' new 2022 vintage olive oil!

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