Some experts have claimed that winemaking has gone as far back as 8,000 BC and since then there have been countless evolutions. So to say that in 2020 the wine world took a leap forward is quite a claim.
Nevertheless, it is an accurate claim as the Italian brand Atomos have opened their doors this year with their first wines, which are also considered to be the first wines in the world to be manually de-stemmed.
What does manually de-stemming mean? While traditionally wine was made from the whole bunch of grapes, and in some cases still is, de-stemming machines have made it possible to separate the stems from the grapes. Atomos, however, are patenting a process that involves de-stemming the grapes by hand so that only the very best grapes are manually picked from the vines and then immersed in a tank of wood chips and aged in a cave where humidity is strictly controlled. While this is an exceptionally time-consuming process – unheard of until today – it is one of the key secrets that makes Atomos one of the rarest wines in the world and ensures the retention of an exceptional flavour along with remarkable maturing results.
So what does the wine taste like? Given the nature of the process and the focus on quality, there are only two types of Atomos available: the White, which is a Trebbiano pure variety up to 65 years of age, and the Red, which is a Montepulciano pure variety up to the same age. Both of the wines come in an elegant bottle atypical of wines. One of our connoisseurs who judges for the World Luxury Award suggests that it could potentially win a packaging design award, but regardless, suffice to say it is a very impressive and arresting bottle.
We tried the Red, which had a deep, rich colour and a particularly powerful aroma. To the taste it was indeed unique – apparently fuller-bodied than a typical Montepulciano and with a range of pronounced flavours that combined spice and hints of berries. To us, the wine indeed tasted more flavoursome than expected and perhaps this can be attributed to the manual de-stemming process. Or perhaps it is thanks to the Di Nisio family’s long winemaking experience, winemaker Giovanni Basso (who is a highly awarded winemaker) and the dry Adriatic breezes and fertile soil that makes the Abruzzo area at the foot of the Gran Sasso mountain an ideal location for winemaking.
We encourage our readers to try this rare wine and we would be interested to hear your feedback from your first taste testing. It is fair to say that this is a wine to try not only for the novelty and exclusivity, but for the taste as well. And your guests are likely to be as awed by the bottle, the quality of the wine and the wine’s story. How many wines are arguably more rare than a Châteaux Petrus with a range around €300?