Funktastic - 2012 Cascina degli Ulivi "Simplicemente Vino"

2012 Cascina degli Ulivi Semplicemente Vino
Dolcetto (80%), Barbera (20%)
Piedmont, Italy
Highly Recommended

My last experiment with a no/low sulfite organic Italian wine ended badly, with a house that reeked of sweaty barnyard poop and a whole bottle of wine poured down the drain. The wine had too much funk in all the wrong places. It will be left unnamed, though you might find a hint here.

While many in the wine world use "funk" as a negative descriptor of wine, usually to indicate a fault (such as the presence of brettanomyces), I generally use it positively. Wines with funk are often honest, transparent, and exhibit a load of character. The casual, indiscriminate wine drinker may not enjoy them, but for wine nerds and "terroirists," they are considered the holy grail.  

Luckily, the 2012 Cascina degli Ulivi "Simplicemente Vino" is weird in all the right places. It's full of energy with a dash of funk, made with 100% certified biodynamic grapes, and is only the second wine I've purchased that is sealed with a bottle cap. It's also made with natural yeasts and without any added sulfites during the winemaking process.

Beautiful deep ruby color. The wine has an alluring nose, with soft but assertive notes of bright red fruit. It's surprisingly rich and lively on the palate and the fruit pops out of the glass, similar to a good Beaujolais red. My guess is that the soft, richer fruit comes from the Dolcetto and the Barbera provides the brighter red fruits and nice backbone of acidity. It has a bit of petillance (French word similar to effervescent) that adds to its freshness though it seemed to dissolve after the bottle was open for awhile.

I was happily surprised by this on all accounts. It's a rare "natural" wine that I think will equally satisfy the wine nerds and the casual drinker. If you see this around, buy it now. It is as fresh as can be now and is intended to be enjoyed young.

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