19 Apr 2010

Toilet Dance

I’M GLAD that grand epicurean incarnate, Dino Joannides recommended me to taste the wines of ‘Masseria del Feudo’, Caltanissetta, Sicily. Without his savvy tip I’d never have found their relatively humble looking (but in terms of rental, sheerly priced) stand amidst 4,299 others at Verona’s ‘Vinitaly’.

At 90,000 square metres, the five day annual showcase is purportedly the wine world’s largest, with halls and marquees umbrella to output from all 20 of Italy’s regions. There being very little drinking water, I was surprised not to spy drunkeness, although very few loos made for some comical renditions of what I can only term the ‘toilet dance’...
Francesco and Carolina Cucurullo are the Feudo’s fourth generation brother and sister team. They organically tend an 120ha farm comprising 19ha of varieties, Grillo, Ansonica, Chardonnay, Nero d’Avola and Syrah, as well as nectarines, olive groves and, significantly, 60 micro-chipped cows. As well as dairy, those bovines provide what Francesco’s great-great grandfather termed ‘black gold’, enriching the soil. Francesco’s attitude is to plant at altitude to exaggerate day-to-night respite through temperature differences, with white grapes on white soil; black in brown.
Love or loathe the buoyant brand of international grapes, Haermosa ’07 from the conquering Chardonnay was a mouth-watering interpretation. A nose of a kind of Five Alive cordial gave way to an alert, toned, fresh palate. Warm butter, brisk acidity. Understated power. I also loved Rosso delle Rose ’06, a blend of near and far, Nero d’Avola and Syrah. Whilst still discernibly young, its plush perfume, thick texture and perfectly balanced alcoholic temperature temporarily took me away from the bustle of the fair. Indeed, swirling glass whilst gazing at photos of the Feudo’s sun blanched guesthouse bungalow, I understood why Francesco never took up the opportunity to become a banker.
Masseria del Feudo have no UK importer.
The Epicurean (Dino’s site) http://dailyepicurean.blogspot.com/