Giovanni MasiniGiovanni Masini Cà de Noci

Via Fratelli Bandiera 1/2 località Vendina 
42020 Quattro Castella - Reggio Emilia
P.IVA e C.F. 02047430356

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Cà de Noci (alluding to the walnut grove towering over their vineyard) pushes all the right ‘natural wine’ buttons: organic viticulture, non-interventionist, non-sulphur winemaking and active propagation of Reggio Emilia’s endangered local grape varieties like Spergola, Malbo Gentile and Montericco Sgavetta.

Brothers Giovanni and Alberto Masini have farmed organically on their family’s estate near Reggio Emilia since 1993, pulling out of the local cooperative shortly after this. Gaining certification in 1997, fruit is drawn from over 7 hectares of the estate’s gently sloping vineyards. The oldest vines were planted by their father, Victor, in the seventies: one hectare of Spergola and another, slightly younger, hectare of Malvasia.

Ca' de Noci's old Spergola vines under walnut treesCa de have a strong affinity for Spergola. the traditional white grape for white sparkling white Lambrusco. Prized for it high acidity, neutral aromatics and saline flavors. At harvest Spergola tastes of green apple and citrus.

To increase concentration, accelerate ripening and inhibit disease they follow standard high quality viticulture: leaf plucking, shoot thinning, bunch thinning at both veraison and harvest, no till/cover crops, etc… Some of the grapes are air dried on mats to increase sugar content.

Winemaking is gentle, using natural yeasts and neutral barrels for aging. Philosophically committed to no sulphur and low-sulphur regimes, they transport wine only in winter and in temperture controlled containers.

Giovanni told me that during the 18th century their region had around 80 grape varieties planted in mixed vineyards. Only a handful of these have survived to the present and the brothers are actively trying to preserve and restore what they can to commercial viability.

Ca’de Noci Reserva dei Fratelli 2008 12.5% This intriguing bottled fermented, sparkler was made from 37 year old vine, 100% Spergola matured for 36 months on lees. Unusual for white grapes, these were treated to 6-7 days skin contact during fermentation to pull out tannins for preservation to compensate for no-sulphur bottling. Interestingly the final ‘dosage’ employs fresh must from current vintage from same vineyard, rather than sugar. Initially offering honeyed, quince marmalade aromas, with airing these developed anise/licorice high tones. Texturally the wine is leanish and linear with bone dry finish and quite firm, fine tannins--more what you’d expect from a red wine. I was struck by the unusual structural impression it left: a twist of lemony acidity that feels more akin to black tea. This is a gastronomic wine begging for food. I found it superb with a chunk of Parmesan and dense balsamic vinegar. Total sulfur: less than 20 mg / l

Ca’ de Noci Reggio Puerciole 2010 12.5% This white frizzante style, from the region where Lambrusco comes, is made from the Sergola grape. Light bodied, with a firm crisp acidity and touch of tannins, aromas and fruits have a decided apple cider spin to them. Good concentration and length. Total sulfur: less than 20 mg / l Xxx+ Re-tasted June 2012

I opened this bottle without explanation and shared with wine drinking friends who are experienced with many grapes and styles from around the world. The North American said it smelled and tasted of very dry cider. She thought it would go well with greasy food. Which made sense to me with mix of apple skins and tart crab apple-like fruit. The New Zealander thought it tasted of beer, so I assume she was picking up a yeasty note either from 2ndary fermentation or lack of strong aromatics to counterbalance any fermentation characters left on the wine.

One thing I’ve noticed with some of the natural wines I’ve experienced is that they tend to be very transparent, so show their winemaking processes more readily. They tend to show their bones with little skin or flesh covering.

My expat-Italian friend, from Milano, said the reputation of the wines from outside the region was one of rusticity and for making under-fruited, peasant wines. He is not a fan of Lambrusco, nor this style, but could appreciate this wine had good length and concentration.

Ca’de Noci  Aresco 2008 14.5% This passito style takes over two days to press enough liquid out of air dried spergola, malvasia fina and moscato grapes. It then spends two years aging in old barrique. The wine shows spirity, spicy aromatics, lovely balance and a clean, meltaway finish. Not a heavy wine at all, it practically dances through your mouth. Total sulfur: less than 30 mg / l

Ca’de Noci  Sottobosco 2008 This red Lambrusco, made from Montericco, Grasparossa, Sgavetta Malbo grapes offers dark chunky black fruit characters with leafy, herbal notes and firm tannins. Total sulfur: less than 20 mg / l

Ca’de Noci  Sottobosco 2010 This red Lambrusco, made from Montericco, Grasparossa, Sgavetta Malbo grapes is packed with dark chunky black fruit characters and grippy tannins. Total sulfur: less than 20 mg / l