The intense ruby with a tinge of violet, quite dense, which does not offer itself to transparency and brilliance, preludes a direct and vinous bouquet, without too many delicate shades, or lingering tastes, sprinkled areas of bitter and sweet nuances which makes the whole picture exuberant and rustic – all on a base and substratum of sour cherry and almonds. Clear hydro carbonic signs such as black olive, and “china”, so realising a vivid and bold spectre, not too long but beautifully rustic. If you wait , the time and air will give to the wine the hint of bilberries, thus enhancing the entire flavour.
Heartily warming of the palate, a wine of structure in spite of its alcohol, evidencing also the acidity which tends to overcome the inspiration of fruit as the sharp increasing tannin, perhaps, limits its expansion. I can still remember the astringent taste, but also a distinctive ardour and willing presence, typically of almonds with low oxidation after contact with the air, and a relative ability to equilibrate (after 5 days there is no deterioration, in fact it improves). I feel that this wine likes to breath for a long period and from this aspect I deduce that it is not short lived. The angelic and simple hand of the artisan transpires through this dark and unfiltered liquid. It is made for people who do not like to be persuaded, who do not like short cuts or roundness in a wine, briefly, it is made for seekers of secondary routes as found in the countryside with little traffic. This wine has only a “small” story to tell, not a bombastic one, a wine which cannot afford the luxury of shiny pages in glossy magazines, although it is a fascinating and interesting story made out of dedication, of suns and moons, of stubbornness, of simplicity and respect for the land. These are virtues found only in farmers.
I think it would be impossible to find this wine in the wine shops of Italy, but only and only from Simone, the wine maker from the heart of Diano. reperire nelle enoteche d’Italia ma solo e soltanto da Simone il vignaiolo, in piena Diano.
It is not by chance that I have “opened the doors” to my weekly notes about this wine, Sorí del Bartu 2001 “anti hero”, rustic, underground, and anti-establishment, with a silent presence of about 40 years. In fact as many years as the lean silhouette of Simone Castella has been seen, against the light, bustling day in and day out among the tall rows of vines, producing the Sorí of which we have discussed.
This is a wine, in its own way of extremes, avoiding compromise, and year after year it aims to represent in its simple manner the typical characteristics of the terrain of Diano, the balcony of the Langhe, with its extraordinary panorama. Simone Castella is a typical man of the Langhe, shy and bashful who narrows even more his foxy eyes when he talks about his wine. He tries his utmost in a continuous attempt to explain the traditional method that he carries on year after year, which is the unique fruit of a lifetime of experience simply lived out on his own back, only a simple “do it your self” farmer. In fact, a one man band.
“Eh yes, there are not the risks of a time gone by…..” – he whispered to me the last time I saw him. Words, I think, I have never heard by a wine maker if I remember rightly. The very idea of using oak keeps him awake at night and makes him cry out in shame, “ Get behind me Satan!” (vade retro!). And yet, in spite of his naivety and his instinctive stubbiness, I cant help but be attracted to the feeling of his gestures and to his rough, vigorous, disagreeable, moody and morose wine. It is a feeling of a profound truth and attachment to his own land, it is respect of all that which is genuine. It is a social and democratic feeling of wanting to share a gift, created by the thousand, in fact two thousand unknown wine makers who are not in the limelight, of wine that must be honoured, drunk, chewed; an every day wine, a sweet gift long awaited for by the saved souls of the world, a liquid reflection of simple lives, simple and exemplary, in their own way, archetypal.
Perhaps the Sörí del Bartu will never become a talked about wine or discussed and written about by important critics and wine writers and yet, it does not know it, but its charm is so vibrant, its embrace so true, its presentation so genuine that one would desire, strongly desire that fascination, embraces and genuineness will mingle together in the mind and soul of the whole wine growing and wine producing world and perhaps even further. A wave of extreme, reiterated and generous naturalness, this is what is needed.