A short walk from the forum, a pantry-sized wine shop faces a busy, dirty, central Roman thoroughfare. Inside, I find a small selection of alternative Italian producers with no centralizing ideology other than legitimate farming and a transparent final product. The “Triple A” group features heavily, but so do historical and underappreciated producers such as I Clivi.
For reference, “Triple A” means “Farm Workers, Artisans, and Artists” (Agricoltori, Artigiani, e Artisti) and includes the likes of Dettori, Occhipinti, Movia, Emidio Pepe, and Radikon. One of the lesser-known members of this group is former Parliamentary bureaucrat Luigi Tecce, who inherited a few hectares of vines in Campania from his father in the late 1990’s. Since then, he has dedicated himself to his fortune of a large old-vine stock of Aglianico in the world’s greatest region for the grape. He farms it and makes the wine in solitude.
After a long conversation in my luck-found postage-stamp sized Roman wine shop, I purchased a bottle of Tecce’s old-vine Taurassi called Poliphemo. It is a wine deserving of long-aging.
Satyricon is Tecce’s entry-level wine. I surprisingly found this in Vancouver at Everything Wine where one of the wine buyers was surprised that I enjoyed this type of wine. Who wouldn’t? Tecce makes some of the purest, most expressive and alive bottles of Aglianico I have tasted. They are texturally more supple than most from Campania, despite many other great producers. It is also true to both its variety and its biodynamic old-vine roots.
Tecce’s wines fulfill the promise of the old guard in Taurasi – namely Mastroberardino from its golden years in the 1980’s and 1990’s. They share the characteristics of the great producers of Sangiovese and Nebbiolo in Italy – transparency and a light touch for a variety with significant tannin and acidity that requires managing without adulteration.
A wonderful find in an overwhelmed city that has a wonderful soul if you look for it.
$40 at Everything Wine