Controvento Vento D’Estate Bianco NV
Vincenzo de Meo, also called Enzo, makes jewel-toned natural wines in Abruzzo, on the Adriatic coast of Italy. His small winery — he’s the owner and sole winemaker — is situated in a valley on a protected piece of land called the Fosso delle Farfalle (no hunting allowed), in the town of Rocca San Giovanni. This part of Italy is pretty gorgeous year-round, with warm summers and not-too-chilly winters, and is gently perfumed by the salty gusts of air that waft in from the Adriatic Sea. In fact, you can see its clear blue waters from the vineyard. The Vento D’ Estate is made of 100% Passerina grapes, which is part of what makes Enzo’s bottling so interesting; Abruzzo doesn’t often stray from its core varieties, Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Passerina is a white grape that’s been attracting more attention recently, but that can still qualify as a hidden gem. Even the birds agree. This variety takes its name from the Italian word for “sparrow,” because those zippy little birds love to snack on it when it’s juicy and ripe.
Here’s a food wine if there ever was one. Vento d’ Estate Bianco sits on its skins for nine days, during which it picks up some grippy texture that will pair well with a range of dishes. But why not take a tableside trip to Abruzzo? The region has both mountain and coastal terrain, with cuisine that varies just as much as the landscape. Imagine you’re gazing over the Adriatic sea while you whip up a seafood stew, or wander inland toward the mountains and swing for lamb. The fresh acidity, light tannin, and citrus notes will perfectly complement either. Alternatively, grab some salumi and a loaf of bread from our market and take yourself on a date to the Lake Champlain shoreline. Just be sure to bundle up, and bring a friend to enjoy the sunset (and wine) with you.
Controvento Limite Acque Sicure Bianco NV
Enzo comes from a family of farmers. His grandfather, in the mid 20th century, owned a small piece of land in Ortona, close to Rocca San Giovanni. When he sold it, his son (Enzo’s father) was able to buy two hectares in their current location. It’s since grown to five, where Enzo cultivates Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo and Trebbiano alongside smaller quantities of Passerina, Fiano, Malvasia, and Cabernet. He’s a stickler for making wine the way his grandfather did: only organic processes in the vineyard, and zero intervention in the winery. This particular wine is a blend of red and white grapes: Montepulciano, Passerina, and Trebbiano. Its cheeky name means “safe waters limit,” or “this is where the safe zone ends, risk death by shark if you swim out any further.” Perhaps that’s because Enzo was testing the waters with this blend, but regardless, it’s delicious and we know you’ll love it.
The Limite Acqui Sicure, given that almost half of it is made with white grapes, has a racy acidic spine that is balanced by fresh herbs and a salty finish. This wine pushes the limits, and so you should eat it with something that does the same. Something a little more casual and fun. Try it paired with a movie night and french fries made with a generous portion of crispy sage and rosemary and a side of aioli.