On the soft hills of Pianella in Abruzzo, the landscape is stunning as in a postcard. The rows of sloping vineyards, loaded with bunches of golden color of Pecorino and Corvino black of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo follow each other with the silvery foliage of the olive groves and with handkerchiefs of burnt earth reaching the gates of the city.
From mid-August to late autumn, there is a busy period here characterized by the harvest of olives, legumes and fruit. You can feel in the air the ferment of peasant life full of fatigue, hope, pride and you can perceive the cautious hurry that is the basis of the quality of the local product. Every minute is decisive at the time of harvest, every gesture is thoughtful and meticulous. At the breakfast time of every foreigner housed in the central square – traditionally the Garibaldi one – you can see tractors loaded with baskets full of the crop moving on the hills, the Senegalese workers – now well integrated into the Pianellese environment – withdrawing from vineyards, while all around the sale of delicacies from the surrounding vegetable gardens and dairies is going on.
At sunset the silence falls on the valley, interrupted only by the crackling of the fire under the roast (those of Pianella are worth the trip) and by the quiet rumor at the end of the day.
The city of Pianella, which is part of the Oil City Association, has been several times awarded the title “Green Flag Agriculture”, an important recognition for the protection of the environment and the landscape and for the rational use of the soil and the valorization of the typical products of the territory. It is precisely in this context that a couple of decades ago the Marina Palusci farm was born, although the 36-year-old son of Marina, Max D’Addario, is the third generation to cultivate the vineyards and olive groves of Pianella.
The farm is an absolute gem in terms of the production of olive oil, the cultivars are cared on the farm from the olive nursery till the bottling of every single cru, and they are now in the cards of the most prestigious restaurants of the peninsula. This time, however, we cross the olive grove, admiring the sculptural trunks of the secular trees and we reach the old vineyard of Max’s grandfather.
As it was used at the time, it is planted in a technique called tendone abruzzese with mixed varieties of Vitis Vinifera: Pecorino and Moscato rosa, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Lambrusco Salamino, Trebbiano and Sangiovese. Our young winemaker has his, now international, reputation as a natural winemaker and an insatiable experimenter in the cellar. Max produces his wine from the bunches of this vineyard as his grandfather did: mixing all the varieties together and obtaining a few bottles of a seductive rose, the result of indigenous yeast and unfiltered. A sap of rural enoic tradition, a precious nectar that goes with the spontaneous beer of the brewery Collerosso, creating a particular and certainly unrepeatable bubble, the Ruett Rosé.
That’s incomparable because on the one hand there is the new and creative project of Matteo Corazza and Matteo Del Sordo from Birra del Borgo, Collerosso, which embraces the fascinating world of spontaneous fermentations with wild yeasts and long ageing. And on the other hand wine, the son of a vintage, and of the hand of the husbandman. Not a usual beer that follows a codified production protocol, but a beer of great complexity and vinous nuances, characterized by a high acidity and a fine perlage associated with a sparkling wine rather than a beer. Still, it’s a beer. Different, attractive, with a history behind it and a future ahead of it, as refreshing as a beer and as gastronomic as only wine can be.
The one from 2018 is very versatile: it degreases the palate accompanied by a stick of roast meats, it’s a call for the oyster dodging the lemon topping, it rushes to toast to happy marriages.