“A writer takes his pen and writes the words again/all is fair in love.”
Above: Four of six bottles of Dettori 2010 Romangia Bianco have been fizzy and slightly sweet.
Dettori Romangia Bianco, a skin-contact wine from Sardinia made from 100% Vermentino grapes, is one of our all-time favorite wines.
Tracie P and I have a mini-vertical of the wine in our cellar and we buy a case of every new vintage to put down each year.
That’s just one of the reasons that I was so thrilled to see the wine finally make it to the Texas market (until now, I’ve bought the wine in California where I keep my cellar).
But the number-one reason was that we love drinking it.
Above: The Dettori back label with a note on the winery’s approach to vinfication. Click image for high-resolution version.
I can’t imagine that anyone, even the greatest Natural wine skeptic or detractor, would deny that Dettori’s wines are Natural wines.
As Alessandro Dettori writes on the back of each bottle, the only ingredients are grapes and sulfur. And no enzymes or additives (he calls them adjuvants) are used in vinification.
In my experience, the wines can be radically different from vintage to vintage. But their intense tannic component seems to keep the wines relatively stable although never homogenous.
Above: Alessandro Dettori in his “oldest vineyard.” I’ve never been to the winery but my friend Georgios Hadjistylianou graciously let me use these photos from his recent visit there. Here’s the photo album. Thanks again Georgios!
I won’t conceal my disappointment when four (so far) of six bottles turned out to be fizzy and slightly sweet.
When the importer came through town and tasted the wine with me earlier this month, the 2010 seemed to align with my previous experience. It was tannic and rich, very youthful in its evolution. I couldn’t wait to buy some.
And when my local wine merchant told me he was holding the last six bottles for me, I hurried to the shop to pick them up.
But I’m sad to report that somewhere along the way — probably due to the extreme and often capricious Texas heat — the wine underwent a secondary fermentation in bottle.
Above: Cement vats at Dettori.
As Tracie P noted, they taste like vino paesano, the “country wine” that is often sold in demijohns in proletarian Italian wine shops. It’s fresh and bright, the alcohol and tannin are tame, the acidity is zinging, and the gentle spritz makes it even more food-friendly.
I’m a wine professional and am well aware that a flawed or corked bottle here and there are variables in the vinous equation. But four out of six bottles and counting could be grounds to ask for my money back.
But, no, I would never do that.
I’m a Natural wine addict and if nature — including the moody temperatures of my adoptive state — has delivered the wine in this condition, it’s my
bitter sweet pill to swallow.
“We are artisans of the earth,” writes Alessandro on the back of his bottles. The wines are “what they have to be and not what you want them to be.”
We’ve been drinking the flawed but wholesome wine as an apertif and pairing it with early summer pesto and pasta al pomodoro. Not as cheap as a vino paesano but equally enjoyable.
It’s a wine that reminds us that all is fair in nature and in love…