Oasi degli Angeli
Marco Casolanetti is the fifth generation of his family to live and tend to their 17 hectares of land in the heart of Piceno, sitting very far south along the coast of Marche. He is the first generation to focus the property on their old Montepulciano and Bordo (the local Grenache) grape vines, and began to plant more vineyards, replacing old fields of grain that the family always made orzo pasta from, a local favorite. Marco is a visionary; a man with an engineer’s brain and a winemaker’s passion. As with the generations that preceded him, he is as natural in the winery as he is in the fields. Vines are grown in remarkably high densities (one vineyard has 50,000 vines per hectare!) and produce very low yields per plant; giving incredible focus and purity to the grapes on this alluvial soil. In the cellar, only new French Grenier oak is used, no sulphur until bottling, and ample time in bottle before release, creating some of the most remarkable wines to come from the Marche.
“Eleonora Rossi and Marco Casolanetti have become famous for their Kurni, an iconic Montepulciano first made in 1997. Methods include extremely tight spacing of the vines (up to an unbelievable 50,000 vines per hectare), very low yields and minimal intervention in the cellar. Casolanetti uses 200% new oak: depending on the vintage, after the wine spends an initial 12 months or so in new oak, it is aged a further 12 to 18 in new oak barriques). The end result is a red wine quite unlike any other in the Marche--or in Italy, for that matter. In fact, Casolanetti is an immensely talented winemaker who also consults for a number of Marche estates, helping them create concentrated, silky-smooth wines. I first met Casolanetti in the late ‘90s while having a drink with the owner of one of Rome’s best wine shops. He was already a talent then, and I recall tasting the rather amazing Trebbiano wine he used to make (I don’t remember exactly which Trebbiano variety he used at the time), which was truly a spectacular white not unlike the great wines from Valentini. Unfortunately, Casolanetti was never especially interested in pursuing white wine production and he stopped making it. The only other wine currently made at Oasi degli Angeli is Kupra, a 100% Grenache (the variety is locally referred to as Bordò). It's another rich, tactile beauty.” - Ian d’Agata - Vinous.com
The 2016 Kurni primarily comes from a 95-year-old plot of Montepulciano that the Casolanetti family has farmed for generations. Densely planted and high above the nearby sea, these natural and healthy vines produce incredibly intense and complex fruit. As Marco uses no additions whatsoever during the vinification of his wines (he only uses small bits of sulphur just before bottling), his practices are peculiar yet remarkable. The old-vine must starts natural fermentation in large, 2,500 and 3,000L Grenier oak (from the same cooper as DRC), while the small amounts of younger vine fruit go into stainless steel with extra time on the skins. All is then put into brand new French barrique to undergo the long and slow malolactic fermentation (often lasting well into the summer after harvest), and after 11 months, the first and only racking takes place. The wine is moved by gravity into, yet again, brand new French barrique. This protects the reductive Montepulciano from experiencing this fate, and continues to age for another 11 months before bottling. The result is nothing short of spectacular, focused, intense, aromatic, and elegant. A wine to last in the cellar for decades.