2017 Cincinnato Pollùce, Nero Buono, Lazio IGT Rosso, Italy.
Made from a rare varietal, Nero Buono, the Cincinnato Pollùce IGT Rosso comes from vines in the Latium area of the Lazio region, not far from Rome, it is an outstanding no pretense red that shows a fresh and balanced array of red fruits and has a nice snappy spiciness, mineral notes and a light floral note, in a medium bodied wine that is great with food. The Nero Buono, an ancient grape, is grown organically on the volcanic based clay soils in Cori, again just south of Rome in an area with a long history of winegrowing, though many of these old varietals, like Nero Buono, nearly went extinct over time as other regions became more important in modern times. The 2017 has brandied cherry and balsamic strawberry and dusty plum layers and zesty acidity with some juicy orange rind, mountain herbs and hints of savory/stony elements that adds complexity to this superb value priced wine. The Cincinnato Pollùce saw a 10 day maceration to bring out a good extraction of flavors here, but this Nero Buono has a refined tannic back bone and is a wine to enjoy with a wide range of cuisine options, including pasta dishes and or cheese plates.

Made from 100% Nero Buono that was de-stemmed and fermented in stainless vats, with no oak involved, after which the wine is aged in the stainless steel for close to a year before release, all to promote purity and terroir. Crisp and mouth wateringly dry at first, this vintage feels nicely old world in style, with moderate alcohol, coming in at just 13%, and has some tones that will please those that enjoy regional bistro wines. Imported by Oliver McCrum Wines, an importer that is acclaimed for finding unique and entertaining lesser known Italian regions and grapes, so my own interest was heightened to look into this almost unheard of varietal and small co-op producer. McCrum notes, the Cincinnato winery was originally founded back in 1947 and is named for the ancient Roman senator and farmer Cincinnatus, and champions these native varietals, like Bellone a fabulous white grape, as well as this Nero Buono, with value priced offerings. This grape, Nero Buono, which translates to “good black grape” is from unknown origins, though it may come from Greece, like many varietals in the Southern parts of Italy. The Pollùce name is a tribute to the mythical twins Castor and Pollux, as the archeological remains of their temple is located near by, bringing the past into the present, as this wine does.
($16 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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