Tollo Colle Secco Montepulciano 1998
Way out along Adelaida Road stands a little red farmhouse, home to Tolo Cellars. Josh Gibson, proprietor and winemaker, offers a sumptuous array of wines – Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and exotic Rhone blends – all sourced from vineyards tucked away in the rustic hills, where once frolicked the pioneers of the Adelaida township. This historically adventurous area, marked by rugged terrain, offers ideal hillside conditions for vines bearing hardy and distinctive wine grapes.
Josh’s goal in winemaking is to allow these vineyards, each with its own flora and fauna, to express themselves in glorious harmony. Thus, all his wines are fermented with native yeast, allowing the robust and wild flavors of the vines to exude in the wines. The results are libations of uncommon depth and mysterious character, much like the surrounding hillsides.
Josh opened his tasting room doors in December 2005, though he was well-versed in the Far Out lifestyle long before that. As assistant winemaker at Le Cuvier Winery for several years, Josh learned the tricks of crafting high quality wines in small lots. He continues that practice today, limiting production to just around 1,200 cases.
While picturesque hillsides, endless coastlines and a favorable climate serve to unify the grape-growing culture of this country. The apparent never-ending world of indigenous grape varieties gives Italy an unexampled charm and allure. From the steep inclines of the Alps to the sprawling, warm, coastal plains of the south, red grape varieties thrive throughout.
The kings of Italy, wines like Barolo and Barbaresco (made of Nebbiolo), and Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino (made of Sangiovese), as well as Amarone (mostly Corvina), play center stage for the most lauded, collected and cellar-worthy reds. Less popular but entirely deserving of as much praise are the wines made from Aglianico, Sagrantino and Nerello Mascalese.
For those accustomed to drinking New World reds, the south is the place to start. Grapes like Negroamaro or Primitvo from Puglia and Nero d’Avola from Sicily make soft, ammicable, full-bodied, fruit-dominant wines. Curious palates should be on the lookout for Cannonau, Lagrein, Teroldego, Ruché, Freisa, Cesanese, Schiopettino, Rossese and Gaglioppo to name a few.