Dolceacqua is a small enclave, just over 80 hectares, in the far west of the Riviera Ligure di Ponente, a few kilometers from France, which boasts a tiny production of wines based on Vermentino and Rossese. The beauty of the place, with its ethereal and timeless landscapes, also led the leader of impressionism, Claude Monet, to fix some traits in his famous “Le Château de Dolceacqua” which include the houses of the old village and the Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge). In this tiny area, stands a tiny producer who owns the oldest vineyard of the entire area, cared for, along with the others, with dedication and care for more than 60 harvests: Nino Perrino.
Nino comes from a family whose surname, as in all the small villages of Italy, had been forgotten, replaced by the name Testalonga, as if to indicate the ability of the Perrino family to see far. Alongside Nino there is today his niece Erica, who has quickly learned the art of producing wine, both in the vineyard and in the cellar, according to the fully handmade style handed down to him by his grandfather.
Oh yes, because Nino makes wine as he learned to do it, starting from 1961, after leaving school, by his father who, until his premature departure (1967), produced wine mainly for himself and for consumers in the surrounding area. The first bottling began only in the 80s and, also the choice to keep the label’s graphic appearance unchanged until today, show how little this winery is influenced by fashions or by the evolution of the times. Even talking about the cellar is an excess, since Nino has a small garage with 8 exhausted barrels of 500 liters where the wines produced from just 2 hectares of vineyard are racked from time to time to clarify and oxygenate them. As for the production techniques used, it all start from the care of the vineyards made entirely by hand, exclusively with occasional uses of sulfur, after having also banned copper.
Behind the two wines produced, red is a Rossese di Dolceacqua doc made from grapes harvested manually, on the terraces of the steep hills of Arcagna and Casigliano, among the most suitable crus ever, in a historic vineyard with plants more than hundred years old, whose masses arrive in the cellar where they are pressed with feets. Maceration, together with stems, and alcoholic fermentation last about twenty days and occur spontaneously thanks to the work of indigenous yeasts. The resulting wine ages for a year in 500 liter barrels, with a dozen rackings, and for a few more months in the bottle, before marketing.
The 2020 vintage shows a bright and translucent ruby color, with a slightly hinted consistency, with an olfactory fan that opens on notes of sour cherry, pomegranate, red currant and bloody orange, followed by Pulsar Rose, vinyl and blond tobacco, with Mediterranean scrub and incense final echoes. The palate is a small masterpiece thanks to the perfect balance between the savory/ mineral and sweet/ glyceric components, with a tannin just hinted (but still useful to mark the sip’s rhythm) and a hint of white pepper; all enriched by the return of red fruit and Mediterranean scrub that persist for a long time, after a delicious and juicy closure.
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