Giovanni Mesina, Natural Winemaker from Umbria, Central Italy, Natural Wine, Primal Wine - primalwine.com

Giovanni Mesina – The Shepherd Who Makes Wine

Giovanni Mesina likes to call himself “the shepherd who makes wine”. That’s because that’s what he is, aside from being a natural vigneron who is as unassuming and gentle as he is tremendously skilled and inspired.

Giovanni’s family hails originally from the rugged mountains and plateaus of Sardinia, and have been raising sheep there for 3 generations. He emigrated to Central Italy’s Umbria in the ’60s when he was a child but he strongly feels the energy of his Sardinian roots, which you can see from the fact that he chose to find the most suitable soil in Umbria to plant his beloved Vermentino, the most typical white variety of his ancestral home.

Giovanni’s farm is located on the verdant and wind-swept hills of Pianello, just North-East of Perugia, and, at the time he bottled his first vintage in 2017, was comprised of just 3 hectares, which have since then been expanding. His business had always been sheep-raising, with the milk of the 1,000-strong herd being sold to the local cooperative. He also makes the mother of all pecorinos, an utterly and mind-bogglingly delicious cheese up to now reserved from family and friends.

Giovanni and his family had, however, always made wines and one day he gathered the courage to face a new challenge, and see if the wines that brought daily joy to himself and his family could also do the same with others. Giovanni’s vineyards had always been farmed organically, as he would have never allowed any chemicals to touch the wines he consumed daily.

The vineyards are surrounded by orchards, woods, and olive groves (yes, the extra virgin olive oil is something out of this world) and see local varieties such as Ciliegiolo, Vernaccia Rossa, Sangiovese, and Montepulciano for the reds and Trebbiano and Vermentino for the whites. Vinification is super-respectful of the soul of the grapes, with no winemaking devilry of any sorts, just fermented grape juice, and no added SO2.

His wines, reflecting his warm personality, are sincere, easy-drinking, full of life, and brimming with terroir-driven energy. You’d do yourself a disservice if you didn’t try his Ciliegiozzo: an electrically convivial petnat from the Ciliegiolo grape, bursting with fresh cranberries, rosehip, sage, and cherry blossom. Or the amazingly marine and saline Vermentuzzo (though Umbria is land-locked), singing with notes of honeysuckle, fresh grapefruit, thyme, and pickled ginger. Run and go get yourself some of this cosmic Umbria juice.

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