Our favourite producer of Cesanese is Damiano Ciolli, whose family have been making wine for five generations.
In the past quantity had triumphed over quality with the wine made from the Cesanese grape sold off in bulk. When Damiano took over the vines at the age of 24 he reversed this tradition and he now produces two Cesanese wines of superior quality.
The vines, some of which are 64 years old, grow in red volcanic soil and thrive in a microclimate that sees the air cooled by breezes from the nearby coast and the grapes protected from extreme weather by the surrounding three mountain ranges.
Dotted amongst the vines are these pretty little flowers known as Silene
The grapes are harvested manually and imperfect specimens rejected.
At the Cantine the grapes are fermented in stainless steel vats then aged in concrete or French oak barrels.
This is where we get to taste the two wines that are produced here, Silene & Cirsium, named after plants that grow in the vineyard.
What can I say.....sitting overlooking the vines , chatting with Damiano and drinking lovely wine....just a perfect moment. Honestly, tears spring forth every time I think of it. I don't think we will ever taste wine in a more perfect setting.
Thanks to Gina & Casa Mia you too, can spend spend time with this talented winemaker who understands the potential of this grape variety which dates back to the days of the Roman Empire.
Gina is a wonderful guide whose enthusiasm & knowledge make for a fantastic tour.
Back in Rome some of our favourite restaurants stock Damiano's wine, including Sorpasso & Osteria dell'Arco.
It is also available from Eataly.