It seems like a lifetime ago that leading Italian wine blogger Alessandro Morichetti grabbed me by the arm at Vinitaly 2014 and whispered in my ear: “Jeremy, man, you just have to taste this wine. It’s incredible.”
The wine in question was a rosé made from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and named tauma, which means twin in Aramaic, the language most likely spoken by Jesus and His disciples. It was the language spoken during his era by most Jews, who were more likely to speak Aramaic and Greek than Hebrew.
(Check out this hard-to-navigate but super cool Aramaic lexicon on the Hebrew Union College website.)
The name is owed to the fact that Abruzzese winemaker Giuliano Pettinella (a lawyer by day) sources his fruit from “twin” vineyard sites.
Ever since its debut three years ago, Tauma has been one of the most talked-about wines among Italy’s wine cognoscenti.
According to the best online description I could find (translation mine), the wine is made from fruit grown in “two vineyards that, combined, barely cover a half of hectare and make for handful of bottles (roughly 1,800).”
“One of the sites is located in the foothills of the Maiella [massif in the central Apennines] in Tocco da Casuria township (Pescara province) with 45-year-old, Abruzzese pergola-trained vines. The other is found on a hillside facing the sea in Silvi Marina (Teramo province), with 20-year-old, low cordon-trained spur-pruned vines.”
No chemicals are used in the vineyards. And Giuliano alternates each year between manure and tilled cover crops for fertilizer.
The only treatments used to combat oidium and peronospora are sulfur and copper.
No herbicides are used and grasses are allowed to grow spontaneously. He mows between the rows at the end of summer so as to facilitate green harvest and the final harvest.
The grapes from each vineyard are co-fermented. No cultured yeasts are used for fermentation, which takes place in “decades-old” barriques without temperature control.
The wine is aged first in cask, where it undergoes frequent stirring of the lees, and then in stainless steel. No additives are employed to stabilize the wine and the wine is neither clarified or filtered. Only a small amount of SO2 is added before bottling.
It’s one of my most stunning wine discoveries over the last few years and it is available for the first time in the U.S. at Sotto in Los Angeles, where I have been authoring the wine list for more than five years now.
I’m telling you folks, this is one not to miss.
Thanks for reading and thanks for digging groovy Italian wine!