Nadia Verrua’s family have been making wines in the hills of Monferrato in the province of Asti for over a century. She works with Barbera. Grignolino & Ruché, the latter two being indigenous varietals not well known outside of that region, but with characteristics that deserve attention. She vinifies these grapes in separate cuvees like her excellent Bandita, but every year also makes a blend, which changes every vintage, this year being simply Barbera and Ruché. This is the wine they used to keep for themselves, for friends, family and being the house wine at Nadia's husbands restaurant. Thankfully Tutto Wines persuaded them to bottle it and now we buy as much as we can.
Vino Rosso is a bright, young juicy wine brimming with fruit and energy, it's one of our favourite table wines, a great all-rounder with food and has become very popular in Llanarthne. This is the last we'll get of this vintage, so enjoy it while you can...
Nadia's grignolino is also used in another drink we sell, the incredible vini aromatizzati of Mauro Vergano, who is also her uncle in law.
Mauro has spent most of his life as a chemist, developing flavours and aromas and these skills are evident in his vermouth, chinati & other creations. He's been making these drinks for a while but when he retired he went pro (still in very small quantities.) One major difference to bigger producers of vermouth is the base wines he uses, which are from natural producers like Nadia for the Americano and Stefano Bellotti's cortese for his white vermouth. The subtleties and depth of his drinks are unmatched and it takes real skill to balance this amount of ingredients in one drink.
In his Americano, his version of a traditional bitter aperitif, (you may have seen Cocchi Americano in cocktail bars) uses Nadia's Grignolino as a base which is blended with raw alcohol, sugar, wormwood, bitter orange, chinotto and a bunch of dried wild herbs amongst other things. It's delicious on it's own, just with ice, or mixed into cocktails. But we serve it like Mauro did for us at the Real Wine Fair last year, over ice with a splash of soda and some orange rind. Simple and delicious.
If you want to read more about Mauro, check out this great visit and interview on the Louis/Dressner site.
Here's a highlight from it:
L/D: You source your grapes from winemakers many would consider as "natural wine" producers. What's your take on the ongoing debate on natural wine?
Mauro: In my opinion, natural wine is actually a wine that is as "simple" as possible.
"Simple" because it doesn't contain any of the elements that, firstly in the vineyard and then in the cellar, would make it heavier and more complicated.
"Simple" because its fragrance and taste are different from the ones that technologically and
scientifically cutting-edge growing and wine-making tend to standardize.
"Simple" because it changes from area to area, from vine-type to vine-type, from year to year and from producer to producer.
"Simple" because it respects the environment and is healthier for those who drink it.
"Simple" because drinking natural wines is a more moving experience: they are full of flavors and
fragrances, more easily digested and never "heavy".
"Simple" because natural wine expresses itself more freely, more finely. It is more alive, it has a
stronger bond to the area it comes from and of which it is the expression.
And in conclusion,
"Not simple" because in order to choose a natural wine, you have to go beyond a mere tasting; you have to get into how the individual producer actually works. I must say that it has been easy for me to work side-by-side with them because I have been fortunate to meet, get to know and appreciate the wine-makers first and the wines second. Once you have taken that step there is no turning back.