The name Cervaro comes from the noble family that owned Castello della Sala during the 14th century, Monaldeschi della Cervara. A blend of Chardonnay grapes and a small quantity of Grechetto make a wine that can age over time and represent the elegance and complexity of this unique estate. Cervaro della Sala is one of the first Italian wines to have malolactic fermentation and aging take place in barriques. The first vintage of Cervaro to be produced was the 1985 vintage.
Castello della Sala is located in the Umbria region, not far from the Tuscan border, about 18 kilometers from the historic city of Orvieto.
The 2016 vintage was characterized by a winter with frequent rainfall and by repeated and significant drops in temperature; the spring which followed was not particularly mild in its weather as well. The frequent but not particularly abundant rains between late April and mid-June, despite the important lowering of temperatures during the first ten days of May, favored the early and vigorous growth of the Chardonnay and Grechetto vine vegetation. This slightly precocious beginning of the vineyard’s cycle of growth gradually came back into balance during the month of July. A warm summer with positive temperature swings from daytime heat to evening and nighttime coolness assisted in the development of the aromatic components of the two grape varieties. The picking of the Chardonnay began during the last ten days of August and was followed by the Grechetto harvest, as usual two weeks later in time and which terminated in mid-September.
The wine, a light straw yellow with brief greenish highlights, expresses rich, complex, and intense aromas. The notes of citrus fruit, pears, and acacia flowers are in perfect balance with the sweet and spicy notes of vanilla. The palate is supple but vibrant, elegant and well structured, characterized by the classic mineral sensations and by the light notes of hazelnut butter.
This is the Batard Montrachet of Italy with such and amazing depth and compression of beautiful fruit and chalk. Dried mango and dried green papaya. Full body, yet tight and focused. Energized acidity. Vibrance. Don’t miss this one. A wine for now or in the future.
The 2016 Cervaro della Sala ushers forth with grace, beauty and finesse. The mouthfeel is thinner and more streamlined, but this is in large part intentional. I have written about this in the past: This celebrated Italian white has experienced a restyling effort to lighten and brighten it up. Harvest is executed a bit earlier in order to limit alcohol. The percentage of Grechetto was reduced to make more room for the freshness and natural acidity that comes from the increased Chardonnay component. Lastly, skin maceration times were tweaked and reduced from about eight hours in past vintages to four to six hours (at cooler temperatures) in this vintage. All of these changes work to reverse the textural heaviness and fruit maturity that, to many, feels out of date in today’s wine market. The results are clear. This is a pristine and elegant interpretation with crisp notes of peach and tropical fruit followed by sharp mineral definition. Those salty flavors come from the Grechetto. The wine ferments and stays in oak for five months. This is a classic vintage that has produced a profoundly vertical and focused wine. I’m told that great efforts have been made to recreate this magic formula in 2017, despite the fact that vintage is much hotter and drier. For now, we have this beautiful wine to drink.
Reviewer Name: Monica Larner
Review Date: 6th September 2018