The history of the Grillo Iole winery (www.vinigrillo.it) starts with Sergio, a successful dentist who wanted his own patch of land where he could make wine to enjoy with his closest friends. He started with just a hectare of land but these were the roots of the winery that, over the course of more than 40 years, has grown to 9 hectares and an annual production of around 40,000 bottles. Sergio’s daughter, Anna, gave up a career as a biologist in Ferrara to run the winery which she now manages with the help of her son, Mattia.
Anna and Mattia produce a range of wines but we were here to taste the red wines made using the local grapes. The first we tried was Refosco dal Peduncolo. This is a grape noted for its red stems whose origins go back possibly to Roman times, but nobody is really certain, Production is only 4,000 bottles a year. The wine spends two years in tonneau of French oak before being bottled. It is a wine with a long and pleasant finish, the colour is an intense purple and the bouquet is of blackberries and violets with a hint of citrus. On the palate there is good acidity with a taste of wild strawberry; try pairing it with game.
We then sampled the Schioppettino. This is the grape that this area is famous for. Like the Refosco, this wine spends two years in 500-litre tonneaux before bottling but production is higher at around 8,000 bottles per year. The colour is an intense ruby with spices and pepper on the nose. In the mouth there is bitter cherry. It is dry with good acidity and soft tannins and should pair well with roast red meat.
We came a long way to find these wines but the journey was well worthwhile. These local wines made from local grapes have an individuality that really sets them apart from a world dominated by the bland, slightly sweet and ubiquitous international style that frankly brings little but boredom to both the nose and palate.
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