Bucatini all’Amatriciana & Collecapretta “La Cese” Sangiovese is the closest you can get to having sex while eating dinner in sweatpants. Bucatini all’Amatriciana is an especially spicy dish in this household, but the “Le Cese” tempered the heat while flattering the tomatoes, and is overall an herbal, ripe cherry chutney with dusty gravel & liquid pheromones. An absolutely perfect pairing.
Collecapretta Vigna Vecchia
Varietal: Trebbiano Spoletino
Region: Umbria, Italy
There is no place my mind wanders to more frequently than Italy. On both good days and bad, I often dream of picking up my life in California and unpacking it somewhere in Umbria; close enough to Rome, but far enough away to be alone, and explore more of what has quickly become one of my favorite wine regions. While I'd been a fan of the wines for awhile, visiting Umbria this past spring with Matt Mollo of SelectioNaturel seared the Italian countryside into my heart. (And into my ankle. Not sure if you saw on my Instastory where I stayed in an Umbrian hotel that was a converted grain silo, but my room had essentially a carpet slide to accommodate the original structure. After a lot of wine that evening, I obviously had to drunkenly slide down until Mary Bartlett and I got the perfect two second video, and subsequently I gave myself the gnarliest rug burn on my ankle bone which has since scarred, and I consider it my first, and only, tattoo.)
I first had the Vigna Vecchia at Collecapretta in Umbria this past spring. The tiny hamlet that has been helmed by the Mattioli family since the 1100's currently has about four hectares of old vines and the winemaking is mangaged by the head of the family, Vittorio, and his stunning daughter, Annalisa. I have this bottle today as a gift from Danilo Marcucci, basically the Yoda of Italian natural wine, who works closely with Collecapretta and considers this wine the one that changed his life. This particular type of Trebbiano is only found in Umbria, and has only recently been revived after decades of the region being gutted of indigenous grape varietals.
Drinking the Vigna Vecchia now, there are two sides of it. Or at least, I have two sides of it.
There is the side that conjures so much from my experience at Collecapretta. It's the barely budding maple trees and the white, dusty road that runs along the vines. It's the potted Meyer lemon trees and flowers that line the stone drive, with wafts of wet rock from recent watering. You can taste the closeness of the cellar we huddled in after a long lunch of homemade charcuterie and spinach ricotta ravioli (which this pairs perfectly with). It makes me want to move to the countryside and spend endless hours drinking this glass of emulsion blended sunshine and jasmine while watching the horizon disappear into the evening sky.
But then there is the side that I taste as though I never sat at that table or walked those hills.
And that side of this wine tastes like a decadent tropical vacation.
The Collecapretta Vigna Vecchia also tastes like that perfect day-buzz on a sandy beach with the right amount of salt in the air and some sort of rich, pineapple drink in your hand. It's confident, it's passionate, it's lusty. As a skin-contact white, with it's fuller body and modest tannins, it's even a bit grabby, and makes you want to rub tanning oil all over a lover's (or a hot stranger's?) back. And then be like, "Do me now. Don't forget to lift my straps... And no, you are right, I didn't quite get my sides..." and then you share a melon, smoke an indica-hybrid, and blow each other on lounge chairs after dark, or some equally romantic shit.
But this is what I love so much about wine: It is so subjective and based on your experiences. What you taste in this wine could, and very well may be, entirely different than what I taste.
But whether it takes you to Italy or to a distant beach, the Collecapretta Vigna Vecchia is a daydream of a wine you'll never want to leave. It is so warm yet so refreshing, that it is almost impossible to have another care in the world while drinking it.
Not only that, but it is constantly evolving. You will think you have it figured out, but each sip is slightly different. And before you hit your next pour, you will notice that the wine has taken on more petrol and cashmere qualities, almost reminiscent of a aged riesling.
The Collecapretta Vigna Vecchia is like a good lover: It just keeps giving.
Tasting Notes: Looks like strewn gold in direct sunlight. Smells like salted, wet rock and white floral breezes of pineapple, apple, and papaya. Tastes like concentrated pineapple, and like dousing jasmine in gasoline and burning aflame with green melon. Has a long, warm cashmere finish of orange peel. Constantly evolving and endlessly flavorful, this has to be one of my favorite white wines ever. I'm in awe of it.
Ross Test: Bitter pineapple juice. It's quite good, but not as good as out of a glass. But don't get me wrong. It's good.