rediscoveringan ancient grape variety…
Up until the early 1960s the Mottura estate was run on the sharecropping system, and the families who lived on the estate’s farms took great pride in offering good wine when the rare occasions for a feast presented themselves (weddings, baptisms and harvest time).The grapes they grew were those typical of the area – varieties that had been selected over the years for their quality and for their resistance to pests and disease: Procanico, Verdello, Malvasia, Sangiovese, Aleatico Rosso, Svagarella, Viterbese (a big thick-skinned grape that was often dried in the oven and used to make a variety of black pudding), and Grechetto. Grechetto ripens early and was therefore the first grape to be harvested, which created a problem for the sharecroppers because it didn’t permit them to fill the single barrel they often had available: so for practical reasons it was frequently given directly to the estate owners. In the Mottura family cellars a tank was reserved specially for this wine and it was not mixed with the other varieties. The Grechetto must was particularly limpid, for two reasons: the grechetto grape is delicate and easy to press and, this being the first wine of the year, the air was free of any yeasts liable to provoke early fermentation. It was therefore possible to rack the wine a bit later than usual.Having the chance to produce Grechetto in isolation, we began to appreciate its many virtues, and over the years we became increasingly aware of its quality and of the possibility of using it to create wines of great structure and character. A long and patient process of selection massale in the vineyards combined with increasingly refined winemaking techniques (developed with the help of the oenologist Giandomenico Negro) have produced some wonderful results.Latour a Civitella was first produced in 1994, and in 2001 it became the first ever white wine from Latium to be awarded the maximum “tre bicchieri” or “three glasses” in the Gambero Rosso / Slow Food “Guida ai Vini d’Italia” – Italy’s most prestigious wine guide.We currently produce three monovarietal Grechettos: Latour a Civitella, Poggio della Costa, and Muffo (a dessert wine).
why ‘latour a civitella’…?
“…It was 1993 and 30 of us (a group of international winemakers all represented by the same German importer) were on a restaurant boat in Berlin celebrating Robert Mondavi's eightieth birthday.We had decided to toast the occasion with the wines left over from the afternoon's tastings. During the dinner a bottle of my Grechetto ‘Poggio della Costa’ 1992 arrived at Louis Fabrice Latour's table. I had already participated in various events alongside Louis Fabrice but, with a typically French attitude towards Italian wines, he had never yet tasted mine.The following day, complimenting me on the quality of the wine, he asked why I hadn't thought of aging it in wood; I replied that I had, but without the results I'd hoped for. He very kindly offered to send me some barriques of his own, already selected for white wines, and – above all – to teach me how best to use them.And he was right: his help was worth decades of experiments and experience! In 1994 we produced ‘Latour a Civitella’ for the first time, and in 2001 it became the first white wine from Lazio ever to obtain the coveted “3 glasses” in the Gambero Rosso ‘Guida ai Vini d’Italia’.”Sergio Mottura