Wine Review: 2008 Casale del Giglio – Madreselva – Lazio IGT

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.

Tasting Notes

2008 Casale del Giglio - Madreselva - Lazio IGTThe bottle was opened roughly 45 minutes before drinking.

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.

4 / 5 stars      

Parting Words

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!


10 comments on “Wine Review: 2008 Casale del Giglio – Madreselva – Lazio IGT”

  1. winetalks winetalks Reply

    This wine sounds very interesting but I’m more more intrigued by that Tempranillo. Tempranillo form Italy – that’s crazy! Do you know what the bottle price for both of them is and if the wines are available in the US?

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Thanks for stopping by. I forgot mention the price in my post. Will add the information to the post and I’ll also include a wine searcher link so you can see if the wine is available near you.

      I only drank the Tempranillo from Casale del Gilgio (it’s named Tempranijo) twice but I liked it on both occasions. The next time I’m in Lazio I’ll pick up more bottles and then I’ll write a proper review about that wine 🙂

  2. Sean P. Reply

    Nice review, Juloan. I can almost taste the wine just by reading this. I get the impression that the bouquet might be rather unpleasent though..

  3. Andy Andy Reply

    My cousin who is also into wines, visited Casale del Giglio 4 or 5 years ago when she was visiting Rome. She was looking at possible winery visits outside of Rome and contacted Casale del Giglio. She toured the winery and brought two bottles of Mater Matuta back to the US and we drank one together – still remember the lovely roasted coffee and black cherry nose.. Looking forward to try Madreselva but so far neither my cousin nor me found a store that carries any of the wines of Casale del Giglio.
    Your post brought back good memories 🙂 Thanks!

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      I’d love to visit Casale del Gilgio myself and I will definitely do so when I’m in the area and have some extra time.
      In like the Mater Matuta even more than the Madreselva but the wines are made from a different set of grapes and both are nice choices.
      Please let me know how you like the Madreselva if you get it in the US 🙂

  4. Suzanne Reply

    How interesting, I am drawn to wines that might be considered out of the ordinary. I would love to try this wine, it sounds very pleasant and maybe a bit complex, Interesting blend of grapes and also that it’s blended only before bottling, Great review Julian,

    • Julian Rossello Reply

      Madreselva is definitely a little out of the ordinary. It’s nothing like the red wines that are usually produced in the region.
      It is actually not that uncommon that different grape varieties get blended only before the bottling process but often the consumer is not aware of this because it’s usually not mentioned on the label. It really depends on the wine though..

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