Passerina del Frusinate IGT, a Lazio regional white wine from 50 year old vines planted on clay and limestone. Wine has about 12 hours skin-contact too, so just enough to bring in some texture while retaining all the freshness and acidity of a good North Italian white wine. Clean and clear pale straw in colour, lemon lime citrus on the palate, some salinity and nutiness too. Sweet florals, honey, jasmine. Dry and savoury finish. Bloody moreish, if we're being honest.
Ever heard of Cesanese or Passerina? Don’t worry, until our friend and Master of Wine Ned Goodwin shone a light on these guys, neither did we!
Introducing Abbia Nòva. Here we travel about 40km south of Rome to an old town called Piglio (“Pi-li-oh”) in the region of Lazio. Abbia Nòva is a grand total of 7 hectares, owned and operated by cousins Daniele and Pierluca Proietti.
The vineyards are split into many different parcels, where local red variety Cesanese (“chae-sah-nah-say”) and white variety Passerina have been growing in Piglio for more than 500 years, and in fact, some of their vineyard blocks date back to the Roman Empire. In addition to vines they also farm around 1000 indigenous olive trees, walnuts, herbs and some large vegetable gardens.
The region is famous for their Cesanese del Piglio DOCG, a bright, vibrant ruby red wine that’s bursting with violet, red plum and pomegranate. It’s dangerously drinkable - medium bodied, fine and chalky tannins, and with serious depth of flavour without delving into that typical jammy Ozzie Shiraz territory. The white, Passerina del Frusinate, is from 50 year old vines planted on clay and limestone, and has about 12 hours skin-contact too, so just enough to bring in some texture while retaining all the freshness and acidity of a good North Italian white wine.
The two cousins at Abbia Nòva have been farming the family’s vineyards organically since the 80s, they now practice biodynamics and employ the teachings of Fukuoka too. They have even substituted both copper and sulphur applications in the vineyards with their own natural resistance activators that they produce themselves. Vinification is always in neutral vessels such as stainless steel, concrete, amphora or even glass, all of their wines are wild fermented and without addition or adjustment, and sulphur is used sparingly and if so, only at bottling. This isn’t to say the wines are on the edge or funky, it’s that these two are adamant in proving well-made, elegant and graceful wines can be done in this way.
Abbia Nòva - an Everyday Wine retail exclusive.
Click here for some good lockdown reading: "Drink like an ancient Roman" - Wine Folly