I’m sure you don’t believe that Calabria (region of South Italy) is really rich in fine wines! Among these are excellent wines, born and handed down by ancient traditions. Such as the Moscato Passito di Saracena, produced with an unchanged method over time, since the Arab times.
Luigi Viola, now retired teacher, has introduced this wine, a intense nectar, to the whole world.
True man of culture, Professor Viola has studied and learned about the ancient history of his country, Saracena, 4500 inhabitants, province of Cosenza, south of the Pollino National Park, an immense natural area between Basilicata and Calabria.He discovered that just in his own country was produced an extraordinary sweet wine required by the popes since the 16th century. After half millennium, Moscato di Saracena wine was reborn from oblivion, escaping to almost certain extinction. So, since 2000 year, Luigi Viola and another half a dozen producers, just gave new life to this historic nectar, now also Slow Food presidium.
Currently, Luigi Viola is supported by his sons Alessandro, Claudio and Roberto.
Tasting notesMoscato Passito di Saracena, vintage 2016. So, I tasted a seductive, rich and bright wine. Bright amber yellow. The nose shows all its freshness and exuberance: peach, caramel, honey in the background, barley candy and still dried figs, candied citrus and a fresch hyodine note. Sip is smooth, elegant, soft, pleasing, sweet but not cloying. I want to define it exotic, charming, noble and modern at the same time. Absolutely typical in its beauty. 2016 vintage is ready to drink, but will give best satisfaction (I’m sure) in one to two years.
Moscato Passito di Saracena born in a very special and singular way.
“This wine can only originate here, in our territory – Luigi Viola tells – from the particular winemaking of our various native vines. The most important grape is Moscato or Moscatello (that means Muscat) that is grown exclusively in area of Saracena and it’s not similar as other Muscat grapes. In addiction we use other grapes: Guarnaccia and Malvasia Bianca. Other producers add to a minimum another vine: the Odoacra“.
“Muscat harvest takes place in September, the other grapes in October,” Viola continues. “The Muscat grapes dried in the cellar, in a dry and airy environment. The clusters are hanging one by one for about three weeks until drying. Then the dehydrated berries are selected (eliminating those with molds or defecs) and crushed individually by obtaining the must in which concentrated sugars and aromas. We used differently Guarnaccia and Malvasia Bianca grapes: after a soft pressing, the must is concentrated by boiling in steel containers until it is reduced to one-third of the original quantity. This process lasts for several hours. Meanwhile, the alcohol and sugar levels increasing. This is the most delicate stage of production. Obtained the concentrated must, cool it and leaving it for a while in barrels”.
“Then – Viola says – “the Muscat straw must be thrown into the previously boiled Guarnaccia and Malvasia Bianca. At this point, a very slow fermentation starts and continues for two weeks. And after yet, there are 6 months of contact with the skins inside the barrel and a steel refinement of the obtained wine. Finally bottling. This winemaking method is always the same since the 1500’s”.
Produced about 10,000 bottles of 0.5 liters. To drink with blue cheeses or meditation. Try to believe: you will never forget this nectar!
Retail price – € 34 – $ 40. My Rating: 94/100