un buon vino
a good wine
Living in California’s wine country (valle dei vini), we have developed a greater appreciation for the art and science (l’arte e la scienza) of producing a fine wine (un buon vino). In Maremma, in southern Tuscana (nel sud della Toscana), at the foot of the picturesque village of Capalbio (ai piedi del pittoresco villaggio di Capalbio), we discovered a special winery called Monteverro (the local dialect word for “wild boar”) that reminded us of our beloved (amato) Sonoma County.
Both regions share un microclima unico (a unique microclimate) created by una posizione collinare (a hillside position), with una brezza marina costante (a constant marine wind), le notti fresche (cool nights) and le calde giornate (hot days). Together these create le condizioni climatiche ideali (ideal climate conditions) per la giusta crescita delle viti (for the proper growth of the vines).
Yet in both California and Italy what matters most is il lavoro dell’uomo (the work of man). At Monteverro, l’uva è vendemmiata unicamente a mano (the grape is harvested only by hand). This, we learned, captures l’eccezionale terroir ad ogni sorso (the exceptional terroir with every sip).
The wine-makers at Monteverro describe their wines as il frutto di pura dedizione (the fruit of pure dedication), una grande passione per il vino di qualità (a grand passion for quality wine) and amore per la propria regione (love for their region). All of these create l’unicità e il gusto inconfondibile dei loro vini (the uniqueness and the unmistakeable taste of their wines), which they proudly declare "fra i migliori e straordinari al mondo" (among the best and most extraordinary in the world).
The winery’s vino iconico (iconic wine) is Monteverro, una cuvée (a blend) of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, a name sinonimo di assoluta qualità e carattere altissimo (synonymous with absolute quality and highest character). This fine wine is produced in limitate quantità (in limited quantities) with grapes from le migliori lotti (the best parcels) sulle colline che digradano verso il mare (on the hills that slope toward the sea).
As we sipped glasses of Monteverro on a sunny terrace overlooking the vineyards (le vigne), we savored la sua complessità (its complexity) and l’incredibile varietà del suo bouquet (the incredible variety of its bouquet).
Back in Sonoma, la vendemmia (the grape harvest) has begun, with the picking of the uva bianca (white grapes), which become matura or vendemmiabile (ripe) a few weeks before the uva rossa (red grapes). This week more than 200 vineyards are participating in the annual celebration of the grape harvest during the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend August 30 to September 1.
So which wines, a local viticoltore (viticulturist or vine-grower) asks, are better—vini italiani o vini californiani? I can't say. Entrambi (both), I’m convinced, sono ottimi (are outstanding).
Words and Expressions
grappolo d’uva –- bunch of grapes
vendemmiatori -- grape pickers
enologia -- the science of wine
enoteca -- wine shop
In vino veritas (Latin) – in wine, truth
Click below for a wonderful tour of the Monteverro winery--and do plan a visit next time you're on the Tuscan coast.
Dianne Hales is the author of La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language.