Vallarom is in southern Trentino, in the Vallagarina valley, just east of Lago di Garda, along the Adige river as it climbs into the Dolomites. Filippo Scienza inherited the property in 1998 from his family. In 1999 he abandoned chemicals in the vineyard and started his road to organic certification, which he obtained in 2012.
You can usually find Filippo working the limestone and gravel-terraced vines in montagna, between stints of packing up wine and constructing the budding agriturismo (farm-based B&B). The cantina and agriturismo are extensions of the original maso* from the 1300’s; it’s one of seven way-point structures along the valley that used mirrors to signal oncoming enemies to Castello di Avio.
We get a few cases a year of the Foglia Frastagliata (also called Enantio) and just a smidgen more of the twangy local Marzemino (give either a slight chill like you would for Gamay or Frappatto). Both are zesty, native, and delicious. The Foglia Frastagliata wine comes from piede franco** vines planted in the 1850’s.
The white wine daily drinker is ‘Vadum Caesaris’, made up of four varieties: Pinot Bianco takes on some nuttiness with a little age, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc give spice and lift, and Chardonnay rounds things out (but not too much). Vallarom’s Pinot Nero is a fine example of the mineral, sottobosco (underbrush, earth, and pine), delicate style that defines the best Trentino Pinot Noirs; no pumped-up muscles here.
Native yeasts, unfiltered, certified organic.
* maso = the farmhouse typically found in Trentino and Alto-Adige. Often a place for the animals and farmers to live together; the architecture and materials used vary by location.
** piede franco = vines that have their own native rootstock rather than the American rootstock that most growers in Europe re-planted with to combat the Phylloxera epidemic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.