Natural doesn’t mean the wine has to be cloudy with a cute and tongue in cheek label.
Az. Agr. Summer Wolff is the culmination of decades of dreams, ideas, study, curiosity, travel, failures, and successes all coming together. Watching, working with, building, and growing a winery together with her husband (Fabrizio Iuli) gave Summer inspiration and motivation, so she travelled Europe meeting small, young, and mostly unknown natural winemakers, learning about their stories, struggles, and accomplishments. Summer explains, “I day dreamt about what ‘my’ wine would be like, I quietly thought about what I may do differently after tasting wine after wine after wine. I honed in more and more after 20 years in the business on what makes my own palate tick… and finally a couple of years ago, with a nudge from my husband, decided it was time to make it.” For now, Summer has 2 hectares of land in the same valley as those of her husband’s winery, Cascina Iuli, and rents old vineyards of Freisa Piccola.
Summer makes natural wines, with a particular take on that word. She writes:
Natural doesn’t mean the wine has to be cloudy with a cute and tongue in cheek label. Natural doesn’t mean the wine has to have too much VA or mouse. Natural doesn’t mean the wine has to be made with zero SO2 added. Natural doesn’t mean that you have to do every single natural wine fair near and far dressed in a cool tee shirt. Instead, to me, natural means purity. Grace. Elegance. Clean and individual. With a responsibility, above all, to the land you’re farming. It should be priced for everyone to be able to afford, and wine that everyone wants to drink. Needless to say; this is only my own perception of a category of wine, that I believe is also a lifestyle. Living naturally, raising our children naturally, nourishing our bodies with whole and clean foods, and of course, drinking only natural wines coming from terroir which is loved, cared for, and respected.
Monferrato is a warm part of Piemonte and Barbera from this region can easily hit 15% vol. The climate is tempered by altitude with vineyards over 300m asl. The soils here are mix of clay, marl, and limestone.
The Freisa grapes (from a 30-year-old vineyard) are harvested by hand and destemmed with 20% direct pressed, and blended into the must, the remainder of which stays on skins for 7-9 days. Ambient, indigenous yeast ferment takes place in cement tanks with ageing also in cement tanks of varying sizes. The final wine is coarsely filtered before bottling, is not fined at all and minimal sulphites added prior to bottling.
GiGio has a beautiful bouquet of violets on the nose and other red floral and fruity notes. The tannin, softened by the addition of direct press juice, is balanced and not gripping. Medium body and moderate alcohol round out the finish creating a very elegant, fresh, and light but serious red wine. The wine is named after Summer’s first son, Gioacchino, who at home she calls GioGio.
The small-berried blue-black “Freisa piccolo” is a speciality of Monferrato. Its high tannins and natural astringency make it a polarising grape, but Summer has made a wine that retains some of its rough character whilst softening some of the edges!
2022 GioGio Freisa
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