Jun 01, 2020Chris LaBranche

The small Montemelino estate in the far reaches of Northern Umbria is simply one of our favorite sources for honest to goodness natural wine anywhere. And, unlike many of the hot names in this world, it was not started by a group of young winemaker looking to make a change but, rather, by a German expat in the 1960s. Margaret Etten had fallen for the region and decided to make a living after moving to the region by making natural wine. I believe back then she would’ve called it just ‘wine.’ With the assistance of her husband Guido, a local, they’ve been making spot-on wines for five decades. We’ve recently had the pleasure of taking them on. They continue to make 5 wines and 5 wines only, all fantastic. I’m pleased to be carrying their gorgeous Cilegiolo rosé for the first time ever.


Cilegiolo, the grape on display in this lovely natural rosé, is perhaps best known as one of the principal blending grapes that can be used in Chianti. That being said, I can count on one hand the number of Chiantis I’ve come across recently that include any. To a lesser extent, it is also grown here in Umbria, and also on the coasts of Liguria, where wines made with it are known for their enticing cherry aromas, hence the name cilegiolo, derived from the word for cherry. In this iteration we have bright snappy red fruits, chalky minerals, and a subtle earthiness. Everything is done by the book here–natural farming, native yeast ferment, minimal sulphur, no fining or filtration.

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