I came across the Arteliquida Malvasia Nera while visiting the Montechiaro Winery just outside of Siena. Of course we did a tasting of several different wines while we were there, but I felt that this one deserved a post all of it’s own. Just as I said about the first winery we visited, Montechiaro is one I would definitely recommend, especially if you want to see the juxtaposition of a larger winery against a smaller one. For this visit you just have to make sure to schedule it in advance (most wineries prefer that you do). I would have to say that out of the entire trip, and all the copious amount of wine I drank while in Italy, the Arteliquida Malvasia Nera just might have been my absolute favorite.
The first thing I would like to point out about the wine is the label, it is immediately striking with its simplicity. The winery collaborated with an artist who actually took this picture of a mosaic in a town square, not of the moon, as it appears upon first glance. According to Allesandro (our tour guide and the winemaker), the artist used a special lighting technique to create this moon like sphere on the mosaic in order to take this picture inspired by how the stages of the moon were thought to have an influence on the cultivation of grapes long ago. The effort of making more artistic labels is reflected in the name of the wine, Arteliquida, meaning liquid art. The label is not the only masterpiece here!
This wine is made up of 100% Malvasia Nera, an uncommon grape that is grown in the local region, usually only used in blends. Apparently this is one of only 4 wineries (in the world!) that produces a wine made up exclusively of this single grape varietal. It is suggested that this wine be opened the morning of the day on which you plan to drink it. The wine is spicy and bold, a rich ruby red color is accompanied by a nose of ripe berries, a hint of chocolate, and some spicy earthiness.
The first thing I noted about the palette was the spice, it was different than anything I had tasted before and I was very pleasantly surprised. You can definitely taste the notes of blackberry and raspberry along with a lovely minerally finish. The tannins are are smooth and balanced very well, complementing the earthy minerality of the wine. I ordered several bottles of this wine and as soon as they came in the mail I cooked an Italian inspired dinner to pair, consisting of grilled lamb, chard, and bacon scamorza risotto (inspired by the amazing dish pictured below that I had at Taverna di San Gisueppe in SIena). Overall, the perfect pairing to go with the Malvasia Nera. Overall I give the wine a 9.9 and highly suggest that if you ever have the chance, buy it!