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Chiara Condello, 'Le Lucciole' Romagna Sangiovese Predappio Riserva 2019
Italy / Red

Chiara Condello, 'Le Lucciole' Romagna Sangiovese Predappio Riserva 2019

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As sommeliers, when pairing wines we 100% subscribe to the old adage: If it grows together, it goes together. But what if that which grows, largely overshadows what it goes with? This is the enormous hurdle cast upon the wines of Emilia-Romagna. Despite the large quantity of wine produced here, a disputed claim to Sangiovese's birthplace, and a viticultural heritage dating back to the 7th century BC; aside from Lambrusco, the wines of Emilia-Romagna remain somewhat of a mystery. Some of the world's most famous culinary products such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, and Aceto Balsamico originate from here. Yet, you'd be hard pressed to find a wine professional who can point to a benchmark, or personal favorite producer of Emilia-Romagna wine. Prior to sourcing wines for a Flor 4 wine club member (shameless plug), I also never fully explored the reds of this region due to the abundance of rather underwhelming wines I'd been exposed to...until now. 

Chiara Condello is an exciting young winemaker who's leading, what can best be described, as a reawakening for the region; much like Arianna Occhipinti was to Sicily and Elisabetta Foradori was to the Trentino-Alto Adige. Yes, she belongs in that category! Unlike most Romagna vineyards, she is working with high elevation vines that have been farmed organically since her 1st vintage in 2015. The soils here are limestone and clay with a unique marine fossil composition dubbed spungone. The Sangiovese here, called Sangioveto dal Cannello Piccolo Predappio are smaller, spicier bunches than the Sangiovese Grosso grown in the more familiar Tuscan regions of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino. This 'Le Lucciole' (the fireflies) cuvée represents Chiara's Riserva bottling and it is nothing short of illuminating. The bouquet is brooding with black plums, currants, violets, dried roses, balsamic and cinder. A unique briny mineral-driven and velvety texture captivates as it descends towards a spicy, smokey and extremely lengthy finish. Simply put, there is an abundance of nuances and complexity to be found in this wine. There is a deeper philosophical tone of stillness in her wines that has been echoed by other well known producers across the wine world that is captured beautifully on her website by a quote from Italian poet Franco Armino: "Today, being revolutionary means taking away more than adding, slowing down more than accelerating, means giving value to silence..."
Romagna Sangiovese Predappio Riserva
Emilia Romagna
Red clay, calcareous sandstone
Partially destemmed; fermented on indigenous yeasts in upright, open-top wooden fermentation tanks and tonneaux, without temperature controls. Aged for 24 months in older Slavonian oak ‘botti,’ then 12 months in bottle.