Podere Orto lies on Lazio’s high plains (600 m. / 1968 ft.) in an area called L’Alta Tuscia Viterbese, or simply Tuscia. It’s wedged between Italy’s center and south, at the trivium of Lazio, Umbria, and Tuscany. When Chianti Classico is getting too hot in the summer, this is a good place to come to cool off.
And, in fact, Podere Orto’s rosso has something of that red fruit and forest floor that reminds one of a textbook Chianti Classico. Yet, like the bianco, it is more nervous: more tension with a skeined elegance.
The bianco is made with 40% Moscato Bianco and 40% Procanico (and at least seven other native varieties); it’s the first time in a long time I’ve got excited about smelling a dry moscato; but here there’s a savory cut to the Moscato-nose, wild herbs such as rosemary and tarragon, and good length too.
Giuliano Salesi and Simona De Vecchis planted their vineyards in 2009, from a massal selection gleaned from abandoned vineyards in the area. Giuliano is a gifted taster, and there’s nothing natty here. These are fine and natural wines with minimal intervention. No chemical fertilisers; weeds are all pulled by hand; native yeasts; and whole cluster fermentation – a bit a a rarity in Italy.
So, here you go, thoughtful farming and winemaking, and three unique terroir imprints: high altitude, complex soils, including blue limestone marls, and bush vines of biotypes found in central Italy (e.g. their Grechetto Rosso is a biotype of Sangiovese).*
* Ian d’Agata uses Grechetto Rosso as an example of how National Italian Registry of Grape Varieties (registro nazionale della varietà di vite) confuses genetically different varieties and biotypes. The Italian Registry list Grechetto Rosso, as a different variety or genetic clone, whereas d’Agata argues it’s a biotype of Sangiovese.