Bringing the Roncha to western Colorado
An early October drive Saturday over Kebler Pass through the high country between Paonia and Crested Butte revealed the bare peaks of the West Elk Mountains skirted with aspen in a rainbow of brilliant hues ranging from emerald to russet and carmine.
It still was early when I had stopped at one of the organic roadside markets along the highway for coffee and to purchase lunch and I took the opportunity to talk with a couple of local winemakers, who said their 2012 harvest was only a few days from being over.
By mid-day I was sitting near a small pond along the gravel road, admiring the view and watching my aging four-legged friend Jack romp and splash through the water, acting like the puppy we both remember only in our dreams.
It’s definitely fall – the day was warm and bright sun but the occasional breeze carried a bit of a nip, perfect for the Fattori Roncha Bianco del Veneto IGT I was drinking with lunch.
The Roncha is 50 percent Garganega, which my friend Avvinare tells me is Italy’s sixth-most planted grape and the main grape in Soave. The Roncha is an IGT because (I think) it’s not at least 70 percent Garganega, the minimum for DOC and DOCG approval.
The wine is the yellow of October aspen leaves, with note of floral, citrus and burnt almonds, all laced with a minerality that perfectly fit the sunny day.
The Fattori family has made wine in the Terrossa hills north of Verona for three generations, and today another Antonio Fattori (his grandather, also named Antonio, founded the winery) is the winemaker. Some of the Fattori wines aren’t yet distributed in the U.S., so encourage your retailer to ask his distributor for the wines.
I thought of the following quote from the Fattori website while pondering some of the comments I’ve heard this year from winemakers who have learned new lessons from the drought gripping Colorado and much of the West.
“The world of wine is formed by seasons, situations and conditions that are never the same. No amount of experience is ever enough. The important thing is to search, to attempt with determination, humility and a little of patience.” – Antonio Fattori