Our tasting impressions
I like to taste new wines before doing my research. So, prior to learning about Croatina, my impression of this delectable wine was that it could be the love-child of Barbera and Zinfandel. Turns out the opposite is partially true (see below). This is a gutsy wine but without being full-bodied or particularly tannic. The flavors are black and blue fruit with an exhilarating side of zest. This is almost too easy too drink but don't translate that into simple. Oh, and it's really food-friendly.
About this wine
Named for Luca's nonna, this 100% Croatina is from a single, highly-regarded vineyard planted over 40 years ago.The east-facing plot at 350 meters elevation is farmed organically. The soil is clay and calcareous. Grapes are harvested by hand and selection is very strict.
Fermentation is over 10-12 days in contact with the skins and with frequent pump-overs. Then into medium-toast barriques for 12 months.
About the grape
Croatina (aka Bonarda or Charbono) originated in Italy and could be the parent of Zinfandel & Primtivo. It is late-ripening and high-yielding. It’s mostly a blending grade with Corvina in Amarone. Not a lot of plantings remain as it’s been pulled up in favor of internationally popular grapes.
Luca's vintage perspective
2016, 2017 & 2018 each, in Luca's opinion, had optimal weather conditions. The only real difference among them is that '17 was very hot and dry, resulting in a harvest that was considerably earlier than the other two. He views the grapes from all three years to have been of exceptionally high quality.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl Liberté
Gianni Respighi, a gracious B&B and wine bar host in Tortona introduced me to young Luca Canevaro. Luca has assumed the daunting responsibility of leading the wine tenuta started by his great-grandfather about a century ago. Just as significantly, he decided to join in the crusade to resurrect and celebrate Timorasso (or Derthona, as it is traditionally known), one of Italy's truly great varieties.
Luca transformed the family business in 2016, supported by his brother Stefano (who has recently finished his oenology training) and guided by his father, Sandro. They farm 8 hectares of vineyards that are now certified organic. Production is only about 15,000 bottles per year.
Vineyards thrive at higher elevations (more direct sun, greater day/night temperature variance and enhanced drainage) and Canevaro has some of the highest vineyards in the DOC of Colli Tortonesi - up to 300-350 meters. This asset combined with respect for the land and tradition, passion and dedication has this small estate on a path to prominence. VDLT is pleased and proud to introduce this wonderful family's wines to the US.