I first tried one of the wines from Casale del Giglio four years ago but only really got to know them well at the 2013 VinItaly in Verona where I had the opportunity to talk and taste their full line with their cellar master and one of their sales representatives. Today I want to share my tasting notes with your for one of my favorite Casale del Giglio wines: Madreselva
Casale del Giglio is located roughly 50km outside of Rome in Italy’s Lazio region and was founded in 1967 by Berardino Santarelli. Even though Lazio has a long tradition for producing wine (in particular white wine), the territory on which the winery was built was not known to be suited for wine production. Santarelli was not sure which vines he should plant and therefore he launched a research projection in collaboration with Lazio’s agriculture ministry in 1985. After an extensive analysis they came to the conclusion that the terroir was surprisingly suited for a large selection of grape varieties. Most of them were varieties that have not previously been cultivated anywhere in Lazio in large enough quantities to produce wine. Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Syrah, Merlot, Viognier and Petit Manseng are only a few of the grape varieties that are grown in their vineyards.
I was very surprised when I was served a Tempranillo varietal during my Casale del Giglio tasting at VinItaly. It was the first Italian Tempranillo I tried but it was very good. The same can be said about their other wines.
Probably Casale del Giglio’s most well-known wine is the Mater Matuta – a blend of Syrah and Petit Verdot. Writing a review for Mater Matuta is already on my (rather long) to-do list but today we will take a closer look at their “second wine” called Madreselva.
Madreselva is blend of equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Because the grapes ripen at different times get vilified separately and also age separately in barriques for 20 months. Only prior to bottling the wines get blended together. This system assures that each bottle contains exactly 1/3 Merlot, 1/3 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1/3 Petite Verdot.
The wine is named after the honeysuckles that grow in the valley where the three vineyards are situated. Madreselva is Italian for honeysuckle.
In the glass, Madreselva had a ruby red color.
The wine opened with a heavy aroma of leather, juniper and hints of blackberries. But soon black cherries and licorice became present. Slightly alcoholic nose but overall harmonious.
On the palate, Madreselva was dry, clean and fresh with fine acidity. The wine had a medium-large body and was of good balance. Fruity with fine oak notes. Madreselva has mellow tannins. Lingering finish.
Madreselva is not your typical Italian red wine and I can see why some people might dislike this wine because of false expectations. For instance I remember that one of my friends who accompanied me to VinItaly was not so fond of the wine. However, if you are open to try something more “unusual” then Madreselva is for sure worth buying.
The wine’s appellation is Lazio IGT simply because there is no DOC in Lazio that permits the use of these grape varieties. Almost 30 years after Casale del Giglio launched its research project they remain one of the few wineries in Lazio to produce Bordeaux-blends.
According to Wine Searcher, Madreselva has an average price of 16€.
That’s all for today. Cheers!