Un viaggio continuo alla ricerca delle radici di una terra, dei suoi valori e delle sue intime connessioni.

La fama del Cesanese arriva negli Usa. Il racconto di una nota giornalista americana

La fama del “Cesanese” arriva fino agli Usa e viene esaltato su “Forbes”, la rivista più accreditata in America di cultura economica, leadership imprenditoriale, innovazione e lifestyle. La giornalista Susan H. Gordon ha, infatti, scritto un articolo raccontando di una degustazione avuta in un bar di Manhattan consigliata dall’esperto di vini Roberto Paris. 

Il vino al centro dell’attenzione è della cantina “Costa Graia”: si tratta del “Senza Vandalismi” descritto come un vino prodotto con uve coltivate nel 2017. Insomma, un biglietto da visita non indifferente per il mercato Usa. Un articolo che inoltre parla anche del vitigno Cesanese di Affile e menziona la produzione di Olevano Romano.

Di seguito riportiamo l’articolo tratto dalla rivista americana.

From Piglio, to get specific. I sat at the bar at Manhattan’s Il Buco for a 2019 continuation of learning Italy’s wine grapes by way of an unusual Italian wine library: wine director Roberto Paris’s by-the-glass lists here and at Alimentari & Vineria. My pour this time: Costa Graia “Senza Vandalismi” made from Cesanese grapes grown in 2017 in this wine-making area of Lazio in central Italy, seat of capital city Rome. Without vandalism. Which translates wine-wise to hands-off: minimal sulfites and technology; fennel, sour cherry, floral so deep it reads as perfume and I don’t mean that all the way poetically; a solid juiciness holding court against a hard streak; something bready. Like some other Italian wines born of stubborn, revolutionary-minded producers, it’s labelled Vino Rosso, a Vino da Tavola, updated recently and fittingly to simply Vino.
“Those wines are not meant to be on a wine list,” Paris tells me. “It’s really a simple secret. Whenever you have something that you want to expose to a large public, pour it by the glass. Have the [courage] to do it. That’s how you build something. By the glass is my favorite game, because it’s there that I can really push the limits. It’s the most amazing way to let people grow.”
To grow into places like Italy’s, it helps to think about where a grape was grown, why it, why there, by whom, what’s happened with all that in both the decades and the centuries previous. In the case of a thoughtfully made wine, remember that what’s in your glass is a deliberate arrival, either through preserving time- and land-tested tradition, or via rethinking the possibilities offered by current circumstances. Both work and sometimes the two ways converge, as in the case of Costa Graia. “Seven hectares of vineyards south of Rome. Started by three friends who grew up in Lazio, all the grapes cultivated are indigenous to the area. Their first release was only a handful of vintages ago but their winemaking credentials and commitment to farming is helping them quickly make Cesanese d’Affile, Passerina and Fosco Peloso household names,” reads their New York importer’s website, Grand Cru Selections.

To get more specific: the grape I’m tasting is Cesanese d’Affile, one of two officially recognized varieties by the same name. The other is Cesanese Comune, once the more widely planted but whose 2016 numbers — according to a 2017 study by Anna Carbone et al of the state of Lazio’s winemaking and viticulture, for ARSIAL, an organization that tracks Lazio’s rural development — lag 328 (a skip up from 307 in the 2010 census) hectares to the first’s 535 (a haul from 2010’s 372). “They are vines strongly tied to Lazio’s viti- and viniculture,” write Carbone et al, and concentrated in the provinces of Roma and Frosinone. “In reality, there is a third, recently discovered Cesanese variety that few are aware of: Cesanese di Castelfranco, localised in sporadic plots in the northeastern section of Lazio,” writes Ian D’Agata in his 2014 Native Wine Grapes of Italy.
Cesanese d’Affile, small leafed and small purple-black-berried, is thought to be of better quality for its structure and ability to age. All are thought to originate in Lazio, and to be named for the town of Cesano in the Castelli Romani just south of the city, where they are almost exclusively cultivated today. The acknowledged champion of the grape is Damiano Ciolli, and the new “benchmark guide that we have to look at is Gabriele Graia,” says Paris. “It’s not by chance the two of them are very much friends, they’re young and very committed. They’re kind of pioneers, and doing a better and better job.” All of Graia’s wines are low to zero sulfites and minimal intervention thinking, including their San Giovanni cru bottling of the same grape. The Cesanesi are the kind that “read their terrain,” writes Antonella Pompei in a 2017 article in Bibenda, the magazine of the Italian Sommelier Foundation. “Their varietal characteristics tend to give different results according to sites: soils, microclimates, expositions, elements that change according to denomination. The style of the producer is obviously fundamental.”