Lacrima Di Morro - Smelling flowers in the dead of winter.

January 31, 2010

January gets ready to slip into February, and it’s been pretty cold.  The sun has been out but the air is so crisp, that the nostrils freeze up a bit, and it seems devoid of the smells that we take for granted in other seasons.  Our dogs beg to differ with that observation, as they say that the fox stops by the porch every morning before we get up.  OK, so we may not have as well developed a snoot as our canine friends, but we should know a fine wine when we smell one. 

I’d been pining for a floral and fragrant red over dinner the other evening, because what we were having at the time, had a faint hint of a reminder of a wine we found on accident and loved.  That wine was a Bonny Doon 2005 Ruche di Castagnano Monferatto…the rose petal aromas were unmistakable.  There is something about a medium bodied red wine with a flower power nose that really excites my culinary senses of possibility.

So back to the wine at hand, the 2008 Velenosi “Lacrima Di Morro”…another happy find that, was already on its way to finding me.

Velenosi lacrima di morro
Velenosi lacrima di morro

I made my usual Saturday lunch and shopping trip to the Woodstock Farmers Market.   After ordering the always satisfying #2 from the sandwich board, and picking up the end of their addictive buttermilk fried chicken from the deli case, I turned to the wines.  We’ve been friends, customers, and sometimes employees of the Market since we first crossed paths with it, back in 1992.  It not just a place to get the best fresh fruit and veggies, but a full tilt gourmet food, and prep food treasure.  Amelia Rappaport is a principal and the grocery maven there.  It is through her, that we have a view into the world of wine retail in central VT.  If you’ve ever been in the market, you know that, like the village of Woodstock itself, real estate is at a premium, and the supply is limited.  Every nook and cranny is filled with something special and enticing, so even though the wine selection is limited to about 50 choices, those choices are great quality, food pairing oriented, appropriate to the season, and fairly priced.

I was just getting ready to start looking for what was new, when long time employee Melina came rolling toward me with a cart full of wine destined for the display crates and shelves.  I yelled to her to just hold up, take it to the front door, and I’d pull up the car.  Tourist customers thought I was a crazy man, but she laughed knowing full well that I am prone to taking advantage of the 10% case discount, and whatever specials are available. 

The first bottle I grabbed from the cart blind, was the 2008 Velosi Lacrima Di Morro.  The packaging was instantly compelling, and the varietal totally foreign.  We’ll sure it’s Italian, but what the heck is Lacrima?  Mel, said that it was just in, but that they had already sold a few bottles…enough to require a restock.  I kept the one in hand, and took a look at the talking card on a nearby shelf, which claimed beautiful violet floral qualities.  Sold.   I finished up my shopping, and took the liberty of walking into the non-public back end of the store, to look for my friend Amelia, saying hello to the familiar folks along the way.  The Farmers Market is a Woodstock, VT institution and crucial social hub, where you cannot help but run across numerous acquaintances from other contexts. 

Catching up with Amelia in her office, I told her I had a wine I wanted to ask about…while digging it out from beneath the other things in my basket, she started to tell me about this amazing Italian wine, that she had meant to bring to my attention…it was so floral it smelled like lilies to her.  Of course, it was the Lacrima Di Morro.

Violets, lilies, lilac…my nose still needs some more training to discern the delicate difference, but I will tell you, that the nose on this bottle was so unique and strong, that I was able to get a real preview just from smelling the synthetic cork enclosure after pulling it.  There was nothing artificial about the smell, yet it hit me with an un-natural force.  The nearest experience I can equate it to, is the beautiful nasal assault that one meets toward the end of a long cold New England winter, at the Burlington, VT or Boston, MA flower show.  That earthy, decadent, pollen infused, rich atmosphere that surrounds you, and reminds you that the earth is still alive under the frozen crust.   On the palate the wine is medium bodied, with a distinctly pleasant herbaceous black and red bramble fruit, as well as some wild blueberry flavor.  Licorice and menthol notes are also apparent, but are supporting members of the cast.  The tannins are bright and ripe, fine grained, smooth, astringent, and lingering, like a tasty dust…in many ways they actually ground what is an otherwise ethereal attack, and the acids leave the salivary glands in the back of the mouth pumping in high gear. The mid palate is not hollow, but is not not able to assert itself, sandwiched in between the attack and the finish, but that may very well fill in, given a little time. 

One of the greatest joys of this wine drinker’s adventures, is how wine can be a window to another place on earth.  Lacrima Di Morro is a very rare cultivar of vitis vinifera, which grows only in the Marche region of Italy…in the upper-calf portion of the boot.  The fact that we can enjoy this extremely unique product of earth, rain, and sun, so far from its place of origin is certainly a gift.  At $18 it is above our “every day” wine price range, but given what you would pay for a lesser wine by the glass in a restaurant or bar, the quality to price ratio on the Velosi is a real bargain.  We did some looking online and find that bottles of this varietal are not so easy to locate.   Aside from another brand being distributed in NYC, that we found relatively easily…getting your corkscrew into some may be a challenge, but well worth it.

We enjoyed this wine with: a Lamb- lentil-pea red curry stew; day old sushi rice patties fried in toasted sesame oil, coated with sea salt, black pepper, and oregano; a side of  collard greens sauteed to black edges.
This wine should probably have pungent food in pairing, so as not to be overpowered by it…not because this is a big wine in the fruit bomb high acohol sense, but because of the purely luxurious, sensual, and delicate kind of energy that inhabits this bottle.  It is a piece of art all it’s own. It should certainly be tasted that way, well before you dig into dinner.

The market is closed on Mondays, so we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to go back and pick up some more…some for the cellar, to see how those tannins evolve, and another, because it is still so cold, and I want to smell the earth again.

Comments (2)

 

  1. todd says:

    Just found a brief tasting online with Caterina Mirabelli, Sommelier of District pouring the 2007 last year
    http://vimeo.com/4680658

    she has many of the same feelings about this wine. I highly suggest folks try this varital

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