08 Mar Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Casale del Giglio Matidia 2020 Cesanese, Lazio, Italy
The Tre Bicchieri-awarded wines of Gambero Rosso came to Los Angeles this past week. Hundreds of top-rated wines from across Italy were poured. Each and every one of them was delicious, from Franciacorta, Prosecco, and Lambrusco, to the white and red wines from Piemonte to Sardinia. As a fan of Italian wines, I was in heaven. But there was one wine I enjoyed that I have not been able to stop thinking about. It was the Casale del Giglio Matidia 2020 Cesanese, Lazio, Italy and it is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
I love indigenous grapes and exploring the world of Italian wines. Cesanese is an indigenous grape from the Lazio region (where Rome is the capital). Cesanese is a low yielding, late-ripening variety with small clusters of oval, medium-sized berries. It is a grape that I had not tried before, at least not that I could recall. But I remember reading about it in Robert Camuto’s book South of Somewhere. In the chapter, entitled “In Rome’s Shadow”, he wrote about Cesanese: “Cesanese – I have noticed the word is accompanied by a world-weary sigh when many Romans say it, as if to say the wine is probably a lost cause, not worthy of much interest. But, Cesanese…..does have its fans.” And I can say that I am one of them, especially after drinking the Casala del Giglio Matidia 2020.
About Casale del Giglio
The Santarelli family began as wine merchants in 1914. In 1967, Dino Santarelli founded Casale del Giglio and the family began bottling wine. The estate is located 30 miles south of Rome. Casale del Giglio produces a range of wines including many international varieties. But they also work with varieties such as Cesanese and Bellone which are indigenous to Lazio.
The 2020 Casale del Giglio Matidia is 100% Cesanese. The grapes come from a 30-year-old vineyard that sits 500 meters above sea level and has volcanic limestone soils. The grapes are picked and undergo a cold maceration before fermentation. The wine is racked and aged for 12 months; part is aged in stainless steel and part is aged in 400 liter oak casks.
The is a deep ruby red wine with notes of cherry and spice. On the palate, the medium-bodied wine is fresh and elegant with a textured mouthfeel and a mineral finish.
This elegant wine is a food friendly wine that can be enjoyed with duck, pork, and other meat dishes.
After enjoying this wine, which retails for around $15, I plan to seek out other Cesanese wines.