Have you heard of the almost forgotten indigenous vines of Lazio, Italy? One of the grapes grown along the coastal area around the town of Anzio is the ancient Bellone of Anzio grape. It is a white grape variety. There are a mere 511 ha of this grape grown in Italy. It is known for being both hardy and prolific. In general it shows apple and pear aromas and flavours. Casale del Giglio has been promoting this grape and other indigenous grapes that I will tell you about in upcoming articles. Their winery is about 50 km south of Rome.
According to Casale del Giglio, “The Bellone grape is vigorous and resistant to drought – a guarantee for wine quality and balance – while its plump, golden, thick-skinned grapes hang in elongated, cone-shaped bunches. A persistent sea breeze contributes to the perfect ripening of the grapes while a perfect concentration of sugar and notable acidity help to underline the wine’s pronounced mineral notes.”
One thing I found very interesting beside the grape variety is that their soil near the coast and it’s breezes at Anzio prevented the infestation of the phylloxera louse, so the grapes are growing on ungrafted rootstock. Their vines are more than 60 years old.
They produce two wines from the Bellone grape, with one named “Anthium”, from the Latin, in honour of the town of Anzio which has great historical significance as it was the site of Operation Shingle, which was crucial for the Anglo-American landings during the Italian Campaign of World War II. The wines are both made with the grapes first being macerated on skins to extract aromas then a soft press for the must, and then a spontaneous fermentation using indigenous yeasts for around 10-12 days at 18-20°C.
My Tasting Notes
Casale del Giglio Bellone IGT 2019 (BC est $20.99) – A medium plus intensity lemon plus gold colour. It has a pronounced nose, with deep roasted lemon aroma along with honey, toast, ripe apricots and bramble. Also a touch of orange with air. With decanting you can add tropical fruit flavours. This wine is dry and round with a thicker mouthfeel. Light acidic prickle on the tongue. Deep, ripe roasted lemons, ripe stone fruits, apricot skins and dried apricots, and medium pepperiness. The fruit flavours are deep and intense, compared to the bright fruit flavours that you would get from a BC Okanagan wine. You also get some honey toward the finish. With decanting the wine has a lighter mouth feel, you can add ripe tropical fruit flavour and maybe it becomes a little more peppery. You also will get honeysuckle and ripe pineapple on the finish.
Rating: – Deep roasted lemon and honey on the palate, with tropical fruit if you decant. The wine is dry, with a round thick mouthfeel. Ripe stone fruits and apricots on the palate plus tropical fruit with decanting. A quality wine.
Casale del Giglio Anthium Bellone IGT 2019 (BC est $25.99) – A deeper, bright clear gold colour in the glass. It has a medium intensity nose with ripe peaches and other stone fruit, along with touches of mint, honey, bramble and toast aromas. With decanting it has a slightly lighter mouthfeel and you can add floral and tropical fruit aromas. This wine is dry with a medium body and is quite smooth. It does have a very light acidic prickle. It feels thicker in your mouth but gets lighter toward the finish. You get ripe stone fruit, in particular apricots, and toast on the palate. With decanting you can add tropical fruit flavour and a touch of sweet spices. Light ripe stone fruit flavours on the finish and light pepperiness. Decanting adds ripe tropical fruit and honeysuckle to the finish.
Rating: A wine with nice stone fruit, honey and toast on the nose upon opening. Medium body, smooth with ripe stone fruits, in particular apricots. Decanting adds tropical fruit aromas and flavours. Enjoy.
Where Can I Buy These Wines?
I think that both of these wines can get for several years, so you can buy some to try now and then in another 5-8 years.
The Alberni and Bute BC Liquor Stores carry both wines. The following restaurants carry one of these wines:
- Fiore Famiglia,
- Stable House Bistro,
- Cin Cin,
- La Quercia