Rossese Di Dolceaqua, 2018
San Biagio Della Chima
The color is a bright happy glowing garnet, like shimmering through a stained glass window. Opening the bottle and the first pour is cherry, mineral, and floral. Reminds me of magnolia or azaleas, but not overpowering like your eccentric great aunt’s perfume. Just reminds me of flowers from home. I remember climbing magnolia trees…Aunt Eula had them in them out back. She was a unique soul, and I always keep a piece of her in my heart. FYI she didn’t wear the before mentioned perfume. She was my hero and a very distinguished nurse. Her backyard always reminded me of a fairy land. The moss, the flowers, the earthy damp humid smell. It was just enchanting and magical. The forest hints in the wine take me fully there.
Bring on the taste: cherry and strawberries. Fresh and tart and fun fruit that opens up to sweet but not too sweet loveliness. Summery floral but not overpowering, light leather, salt and a touch of olive pit. Bellisimo! Happy, happy times
My really sweet dad keeps sending me wonderful care packages including Cheez-Its. So here goes “Pairs with Cheez-its”: All of above but a tingle and more smooth less tang. Actually has a full on prune w it. More sweet. More concentrated. Does it really matter if I’ve hit the point of eating Cheez-its in the dark during a pandemic while sipping wine and watching Chris Cuomo. Oddly the wine makes the Cheez-its more toasty
Onto the travel. Been having a hard time finding a lot specifically about San Biagio Della Chima, so any feedback would be very welcome. So far I’m finding it’s a comune in the province Imperia in Liguria. The comune sounds like it has close tight climbing roads and staircases. Sounds like it would be great exercise, which I could really use right now. There’s also the Chiesa dei Santi Fabiano e Sebastiano, where you can find artworks by Jacopo Rodi di Montalto, Giovan Battista Casoni, Maurizio Carrega and Anton Maria Maragliano. They also have a wonderful restaurant La Vecchia Ostaia (“Mamma Angela”) which has recently been reviewed by “The World’s 50 Best”. Back to the winery, it’s evidently steep planting, so everything is by hand. Sounds like this is a lot of hard and dedicated work by Giovanna Maccario and her husband Goetz Dringenberg. Everything I’m reading is that they both changed their lives to keep the winery open. She switched career first, then love happened and Goetz came on board. Such a romantic story.
As I said, I’ve had a hard time getting info, until I stumbled upon Patricia Thomson’s article on Rossese. I’m just going to directly quote her on the developing wine history: “But passing generations have witnessed a hacking away of the viticultural landscape. Where once 3000 hectares (7400 acres) of vineyards blanketed these valleys—50 percent more than in the Langhe—now there’s just 100 hectares. Wars and phylloxera started the shrinkage. But farmers voluntarily continued it once the flower industry was introduced. Seeing they could make the same amount of money in half the time with half the property, they started ripping out vines and building greenhouses. Now those multistory monstrosities sit empty, for Dutch buyers have turned to cheaper sources in Chile, Kenya, and Tunisia, where flowers cost one-tenth the price.”
That’s pretty distressing, but evidently there are younger vintners seeking to bring all the wineries back and cultivate the old vines. Thank goodness Maccario Drinngenberg is keeping up this hard work. Please check out Patricia Thomson’s site. She writes about film, wine, etc. and it’s all fabulous.
Also in Imperia there is another comune, Dolceaqua, which (according to google maps) is a 22 min car ride from San Biagio Della Chima. Monet captured their Castello di Dolceacqua and the Old Bridge Dolceaqua in a few paintings. I can definitely see why he chose to paint this magical place. The bridge is truly enchanting. During research on these works, I stumbled onto another site that is a gold mine of information on Liguria. https://thatsliguria.com/en/
A wonderful woman named Agata fell in love with Liguria, and also fell “in love” in Liguria, and built the site so everyone else can see how beautiful the places, people, and the food are. She’s even keeping up posting from quarantine. She is definitely stirring my love for this beautiful region.
One more take away, as I keep looking into wine, the people, the communities, and the land; I keep finding tales of love, dedication, and perseverance from all over the world. During this tense stressful time of the pandemic/covid19/isolation, I find these stories inspiring and bring a bright light to my day.
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