Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pinot Noir on Pesaro Hills

The first time I tasted the Focara wine, I've been completely blown away by that velvety, smooth translucent ruby drink and I thought "can wine be so good!". Yes it can, refined and delicate, with a strong personality Focara Pinot Noir doesn't need to scream its qualities, they are perceived at the first sip.
I don't like those strongly, muscular red wines that need to be chewed rather than drunk, I don't like to look at the glass which I can't see through. I won't ever be able to say I love Sangiovese, even if it's the grape variety mainly produced in Romagna, the area where I was born and where I came back to live after growing up in Rome.
I definitely love the pinot noir produced in the Fattoria Mancini, a few kilometers from the Marche and Romagna boundary, which as far as the landscape is concerned it is just an administrative whim that was fought over by the two warring families, the Montefeltro and Malatesta.

Fattoria Mancini is a family run winery located in the Natural Park of Monte San Bartolo, a pearl on the Adriatic coast that the tourists usually coming on the Riviera Romagnola never explore. At the beginning of XIX century that area was identified as ideal for growing Pinot Noir by the Napoleonic administration, who then occupied the Papal State for nearly a century. The Mancini family bought the land in the second half of the XIX century and preserved and reproduced the original Pinot Noir introduced during the French domination. Today that grape is recognized as D.O.C. (controlled origin denomination)

You arrive at a working winery and everything is as it should be, no posh structure or manicured gardens, a well preserved country house, where clearly the wine production is the core business as the several large wooden barrels lined up in state.
Inside the tasting room a coolness prevails above any other sensation, no pretentious and newly made smelling oak furniture, a mainly white empty space which gives room to the main character, the wine. Photos of the vineyards decorate the white walls, with a didactic purpose rather than pure complacency.
On our visit we were greeted by two perfect English speaking women (a rarity in that area), later we discover one was the owner's wife, a young and friendly New Zealand winemaker. They offered us to taste some wine, this is the first time I experienced a producer who really wanted to know what you think about their wine and not telling you what to think.

There is only one regret, during last year they changed the labels on some of their wines, it's true the new ones give figurative information of where the wine is produced and the history of that piece of land, but the old ones have got such a strong personality that really make you recognize their wine among thousands of bottles.

Which is your favorite wine?