Sunday, June 10, 2012

Serendipity - La Matta Spumante Integrale - Az. Agricola Casebianche

 Wikipedia: Serendipity means  a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it. 

I hadn't seen Maria in awhile, so we had some catching up to do when I bumped into her at Vivit during last March's Vinitaly.  And what better way to catch up than over a glass of spumante?  She led me to the stand that belonged to friends of her's.  Friends who she had been helping out during the wine fair.  Then she offered me a glass La Matta by Az. Agricola Casebianche..   I instantly noticed something out of the ordinary, though I expected a wine a little atypical from this organic winery located in the Salerno province.  This, however, was totally new to me...It was a spumante integrale,   Spumante Integrale? To put it all too briefly, a spumante classico that doesn't go through the  sboccatura,   disgorgement process.  
Though I only had half a glass over two months ago, I remember the color, the pleasant aromas of 100 % Fiano, and the full flavor.  I remember looking for Casebianche's owner, Pasquale Mitrano to help satisfy my luck, he was a meeting with a client.  I remember looking for Casebianche's winemaker, Fortunato luck there either.  And I remember walking away that afternoon with La Matta on my mind.

Fast forward two months.  Looking through my photos on my hard drive, I came across the two I snapped of La Matta...instantly those aromas came to mind.  I quickly sent out an email to Sebastiano with a couple of questions. He happily forwarded it to Mitrano, who let me in all I wanted to know about La Matta...and then some...
 Reading his email, I could feel the enthusiasm and passion he has for his it is for you to feel as well...

The idea for this project for us was simple and unaffected as you know we are a company that is very sensitive to issues affecting "natural" viticulture . Since the beginning of our adventure, with Fortunato, we try to work carefully in regards to healthy wine, but above all the natural expression of the territory. So far it's been quite a journey.La Matta represents for us an essential part of our path and our research. A fun game, from which the name, La Matta  is the King of Naples in the deck of Neapolitan cards ;representing the wild card, the unpredictable, a gamble.

We have tried many  spumanti or sparkling wines such as
prosecchi of Costedilà and from  Follador and many other producers of the Veneto and Treviso area, where there is a sparkling tradition of so-called "with the bottom ". Or the Slovenian Movia Puro, which delays the phase of "disgorgement" as soon as you open the bottle in the basket of ice. (He sells the bottle upside down). And the list could go on forever.

Betty (his wife) and I have roots in  Agro-Aversano and the area north of Naples, where the natural  spumamntistica "peasant"  tradition is very present, made with the Asprinio grape which comes   from beautiful vineyards connected to tall trees, which are now endangered. This is very serious, because these vines, "married" to trees up to thirty feet high, are an extraordinary part of the landscape that characterized this area. Even in these areas as I told you there was this tradition that if we had a spontaneous fermentation, it would stop itself, due to the onset of cold weather or the caves of tufo widespread in the area, leaving a  sugar  residual in the wine. The wine was then bottled in the spring and the residual sugars gave rise to a second spontaneous fermentation in the bottle. Sometimes if the residue was high, the bottles exploded. Please note that everything took place in an empirical way, there wasn’t science, nor computing,  only experience. Some were really  good such  as "o Caraciano", that I voted for as a little joke, but also because in some ways I believe, like on  Facebook, it to be the best white in Campania.
So La Matta comes in the wake of these emotions and these memories. With Fortunato we simply tried to introduce elements of rationality and scientifically  "drive"  the experience of our ancestors . La Matta  is produced in this way: We harvest the grapes very early (late August) to have a low alcoholic grade and  a sustained l acidity. Then we press the grapes whole with soft pressing, taking a sample of just the juice. A part of the must is immediately frozen, and will subsequently be used as a "liqueur de tirage" in place of sugar, for the second fermentation in the  bottle. The base goes through the complete alcoholic fermentation in steel, then a slight cold stabilization and transfer some to take out some of the large deposits of lees. In late November and early December, we thaw the must , unite it with the must, and proceed with bottling. The first warm days in spring is when the "miracle" of the second fermentation begins , and La Matta is ready for immediate drinking. 

For us it is simply beautiful.

For me, too, Pasquale.  That I remember...

1 comment:

  1. Great write up. We are waiting for our first shipment to arrive here in the United States. If you know of any Americans looking for it send them our way.