Punta Crena Colline Savonesi Mataossu "Vigneto Reine" 2016

$ 23.25

Mataòssu: The native Mataòssu (pronounced mah-tah-OHSS-soo) dominated the vineyards of Varigotti in the 19th century, but its delicate vegetative balance provoked most winegrowers to rip out the vines in favor of less finicky grapes. Today only three producers have wines labeled Mataòssu, and the Ruffinos assure us that the other two are actually Lumassina.

VITICULTURE / VINIFICATION • The terraced vineyards are at 100-300 m altitude and within 1.2 km of the sea • All vinification in stainless steel • No machines are used for pumping over; the pressure resulting from the release of gas during fermentation is used instead. Wines spend four months on the lees 

The tiny village of Varigotti sits on the Mediterranean, just a few rows of houses and restaurants on a pristine beach, with its back against steep hills. Climb up into the hills and you will discover neatly terraced vineyards on the slopes and in hidden clearings further up on the peaks. The Ruffino family has been tending these vineyards for over 500 years, hardly changing a thing as they pass their knowledge and wisdom from one generation to the next. Today the estate is run by four siblings: Tommaso, the eldest, is the winemaker; Paolo is the salesman; Anna handles logistics; and Nicola helps out in the vineyards and winery. Their mother, Libera, was a strong businesswoman who revolutionized sales by dealing directly with clients rather than working with the merchants who controlled the market at the time; but today she stays in the background, happily cooking for the constant flow of guests and tending the home-grown vegetable stand in the courtyard as her numerous grandchildren scamper around her. These unpretentious people are firmly rooted in Varigotti, and the wines they craft are infused with local tradition and character.