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Amilcare Alberici dresses in green coveralls and socks and sandals. He has farmer hands. He smiles often. He speaks Italian sotto voce with short spaces between syllables. Alberici’s daughter Arianna is more direct, emotive, easier to follow. Arianna plays the viola, which isn’t surprising. She is a creative, positive force at the estate. Her family are all heart: they exude sincerity. The Casalone farm is on a floodplain of the Po River in Reggio Emilia, close to a nondescript highway overpass. The area is called Pianura Padana, the nearest town is Gualtieri. The nickname of their little hamlet is “Giardino” or garden. A short row of blue beehives sits in the driveway, in front of low trellises of Lambrusco Salomino and Fogarina vines. Eleven hectares of vines surround the estate’s small cluster of buildings: house, cellar and barn. The red and black flag on the Fogarina label are the colors of Italian anarchists, a dedication to the memory of family friend Luigi Veronelli, who encouraged Amilcare to produce La Fogarina. This abandoned vineyard of 60-year-old vines was brought back to life by Alberici and his cousin Joseph Caleffi, beginning with the 2002 vintage. The duo even had to get Fogarina officially listed with the regional registry of permissible grape varieties: it was nearly extinct.
Organic. 100% estate-grown fruit. Made from 85% Fogarina and 15% Ancellota from 60 year old vines. Frizzante and dry, between 10 and 11.5 percent alcohol in a typical vintage. Hand-harvested in mid-October. The wine rests in tank from harvest until February or March of the following year, then goes through a slow, natural fermentation in bottle. 4000 btls produced annually.
FOOD PAIRING: cured meats, salty meats, fatty meats, aged cheeses, pizza and pasta with tomato-based sauces.
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