Cascina Val Liberata 'Anarkoide' Grignolino 2020
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Direct Press Selection | October 2022
Deirdre O'Brien and Maurizio Caffer met in Ireland where she was a doctor and he was growing bored with office work. They returned to his native Italy and restored an old farmhouse in a valley that long ago was home to peasants who sacked and burned the local ruler's hilltop castle, hence the name of the winery: Val Liberata, or liberated valley. They've brought some order to the vineyards and beehives they tend, re-introducing agriculture on land that had been abandoned since the 1940s. They are committed to farming using Biodynamics and are certified organic, so they are still allowing plenty of freedom to the ecosystem that has been happily saved from any chemical sprays over the many decades of benign neglect.
'Anarkoide' is a reference to Grignolino's 'anarchist' personality. It was ripped out in favor of Barbera and Nebbiolo in much of the PIedmont because of it's unpredictable nature, but is making a comeback. Val Liberata's Grignolino is one of the most natty versions I've come across, probably the funkiest of the lineup this month, but it is wildly delicious in addition to just being wild. Hibiscus, rhubarb, violet, and blueberry notes with a tangy, nervy energy. This is perfect with a bit of a chill and goes down easy. A touch of chewy crunch and spice will leave you wanting more of this rustic mountain wine. Jonathan Kemp