The Wine: Ceppafrizz Pet Nat 2018
Piccolo Podere del Ceppaiolo Ceppafrizz Pet Nat is a rose' natural wine, a field blend of all grapes grown on the property, including Trebbiano, Malvasia, Aleatico, Vernaccia Rossa, and Montepulciano. Spontaneous fermentation, aged in cement. Frozen must from original grapes added before bottling in the Spring. Re-fermentation in the bottle. No added sulfur and no filtering or fining. 1,300 bottles production. Danilo Marcucci strikes back.
The Producer: Piccolo Podere del Ceppaiolo
Piccolo Podere del Ceppaiolo is a small 1.7 hectares artisanal wine estate planted with old-vine indigenous varietals located in Umbria. The winery is run by Danilo Marcucci, one of the most talented winemakers in Italy. Danilo Marcucci, together with Angiolino Maule of La Biancara winery, is one of the most outspoken and authoritative Italian natural winemakers and he is regarded as some a true master of the craft. Danilo runs the estate together with his associate and friend Riccardo Pennaforti.
Danilo Marcucci grows native grapes Grechetto, Trebbiano, Ciliegiolo, Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Sagrantino, Grechetto, Verdello, Malvasia, and Uva Pecora which he vinifies with native yeasts, no chemicals, no added sulfites. Results are always mesmerizing, Danilo Marcucci’s wines are an instant classic, benchmarks for natural winemakers all around the world.
The Region: Umbria
Umbria is no doubt one of Italy’s many hidden gems. A tiny hilly region right in the center of Italy with no access to the coast, Umbria borders with Tuscany (West), Marche (East), and Lazio (Southwest). Its capital is the medieval city of Perugia.
Umbria is the fourth-smallest wine producing region in Italy, and only the 20% of all wine produced falls under a DOC or DOCG appellation. This, however, by no means mirrors Umbria's wine production quality, which in the last ten years has increased considerably.
Umbria, despite its size, is an immensely rich agricultural region, with a plethora of typical products, such as olive oil, cheese, charcuterie, cured meats, wheat, and truffles.
The Terroir of Umbria
Due to its position, right in the heart of the Italian peninsula, and lack of access to the sea, Umbria has a fairly homogenous continental climate with cold winters and hot summers.
Along the coast of Lake Trasimeno, on the Northwestern border with Tuscany, the climate is slightly milder. Here we find the higher density of vineyards, planted on Umbria's characteristic rolling hills.
The Red Wines of Umbria
Even though Umbria is more famous for its white wines - a common thread in Central Italy if we think about Marche and Lazio - the only two DOCGs appellations are red wines.
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG: made with 100% Sagrantino grapes, native to Umbria and specifically to the town of Montefalco. Sagrantino is one of the most tannic grape varietals in Italy and gives wines that are intensely dark.
Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG: made with 70%-100% Sangiovese, and 30% maximum of other grape varietals such as Canaiolo, Cigliegiolo, Montepulciano, and even white grape varietal Trebbiano.
In addition to the two DOCGs, there are in Umbria several producers making wine with international varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and also Gamay.
The White Wines of Umbria
Umbria has been historically a land of white wines with Orvieto being perhaps its best-known white wine and for a specific reason. Orvieto is, in fact, a blend of several grape varietals native to Umbria such as Grechetto, Verdello, Trebbiano, also known as Procanico, and Drupeggio.
Chardonnay also finds its place in Umbria, though it's a fairly recent trend, where it's often blended with Grechetto for a distinct Umbrian style Chardonnay.