2021 Crotin, Grignolino d’Asti DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
The easy to love and quaffable Crotin, which translates to a small cellar, Grignolino d’Asti is a delightful lighter framed, strawberry ruby hued, delicately floral Piedmonte red wine with a bright medium bodied palate of tart cherry, strawberry, red peach and blood orange, and is even better with a slight chill and simple food choices. This 100% Grignolino wine is juicy, but crisply dry and vibrant, allowing its refreshing nature to shine through, it is a perfect example of this varietal and a wine that can easily be enjoyed in the heat of Summer and a nice value too. I’ve not had many of the Crotin wines over the years, but what I’ve tried recently has convinced me that I should follow this small family winery more closely and explore the full range of wines here, and I highly recommend their Vino Rosso Contadino “Beverin” table wine and this vividly fresh and delicious Grignolino. Grown from all organic grapes and seeing mainly tank fermentation and aging, this absolutely pure Grignolino is one of the finest versions of this grape I’ve had, adding snappy herbs, spice, wild fennel and subtle earthiness with time in the glass.

The Russo’s, Federico, Marcello and Corrado, have an intriguing collection of vineyards for their Crotin winery that are in the far western communes of Asti, Maretto and Monale, where you can find lively red grapes like this Grignolino, Ruché and Freisa, as well as Barbera. The importers of Crotin, The Source Imports says, because of their proximity to the Alps, these sub regions are contenders for the coldest in the Asti commune, which makes for very balanced efforts and good natural acidity. The vineyard soils, they add, have varying levels of clay, limestone and sand, similar to the best found in the Langhe, with the Grignolino set on red, iron-rich clay, giving an extra degree of mineral tones and a deeper concentration that you normally find in this unique varietal. The Crotin brothers, named above, have the talents of young enologist, Cristiano Garella, making the lineup here and the wines continue to improve and impress for the quality and authentic nature of the offerings here. Not as perfumed as Ruché, or Freisa, nor as dense as Barbera, this Grignolino fits a niche for the Crotin offerings and will provide lots of simple pleasures over the next year or so, it is a good bottle to chase down.
($22 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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