Sunday, 31 August 2014

Discovery of the summer: Colli di Candia Alpi Apuani

Looking for a wine shop in Massa, we drove past this little place on the road from Carrara. It looked unpromising with its sign for 'Bier' (sic) e Vino but perhaps they knew where the real Enoteca was? On entering our impression was not altered. There were sparse offerings of stuff in jars, demijohns (vino sfuso), beer and wine. The chap behind the counter took his time to tune in to our wavelength when posed with our opening gambit about rare grape varieties.

He answered with Vermentino but when we asked about something rarer, he indicated two bottles with interesting blends including the very local Massaretto (i.e. 'little Massa'). We had been reading about this in Ian D'Agata's 'Native Wine Grapes of Italy', our holiday companion.

Ever dubious of blends where some grape of interest was submersed in unverifiable proportions with others of less interest, we nonetheless took advice to buy Terramarina's Toscana Rosso which consists of 25% each of Cilegiolo, Massaretto, Sangiovese and Vermentino Nero.

Terramarina Rosso

We also bought Azienda Biologica Nardi Paolo Armando Rosso Liguria di Levante. Vino Biologico. 13.5%. So not Colli di Candia but 5 km from there according to Sr. Nardi whom we telephoned for a bit more information. His answer to the 'uvaggio' was charming; Massaretto (50%) plus others including Merlot. Others? Vines in his vineyard which are unidentified. Fascinating.

Damage to label commensurate with pleasure of drinking

We asked Paolo (for it was he) if he could direct us to Podere Scurtarola who we recalled also used Massaretto (together with Buonamico, Cilegiolo and Sangiovese). He was a bit vague as to how to get there and in fact we didn't find the place on this occasion. We also didn't find a larger wine shop in Massa bur Bier Vino was becoming more and more interesting and if later attempts to buy the wine of Colli di Candia Alpi Apuani were anything to go by, they may well not have stocked it. Certainly no one in Lucca did.

All this was beginning to remind us of our trip to Barga in the Garfagnana the previous year. There we had discovered a marvellous white ('Riana') made from fascinating grapes, Balsoina and Verdolino (the former is unknown to 'Wine Grapes') and a slightly less enjoyable red called Fopola which also contains funky varieties: Pighetta and Farinella, similarly unknown to
'Wine Grapes'. Italy is just so rich in these amazing types of wine they don't know what to do with them. Colli Candia Alpi Apuani only obtained their DOC in 1981. Presumably they have been making their distinctive wines for centuries before that.

'Bier & Vino'  were committed to organic wines. Paolo had only recently opened the shop. He writes a blog and is set for the long haul. We wish him 'Auguri'. Certainly our introduction to the wines of the area was a big discovery. No more can anyone relegate Toscana to a province dedicated only to the better-known varieties.

1 comment:

Bier-Vino-Shop said...

Thank you Robert for the nice words you wrote about my shop. The word Bier is German, Vino is Italian and shop is obviously English. This is because I grew up in Germany, lived a few years in the States and now live in Italy. I liked to somehow sum up my life in a few words.
Next time I'll know better about local grapes!