The charming medieval town of Gradoli rises on a spur in the Alta Tuscia overlooking the northern side of the Bolsena Lake. So technically it isn't in the Maremma, but when it comes to the Aleatico di Gradoli, technicalities are unimportant.
The Aleatico is a beautifully mild red wine introduced into the area by the Etruscans who got the secrets of wine making from the Greeks. Legend has it that a demon lived in a cave just outside of Gradoli. One day, the demon came home to find a lion asleep in its cave. He tried to wake him, but the lion attacked and killed the demon. Only his staff remained and it grew into a screw. Eternally gratefully, the locals put the lion and the screw on their coats of arm. The screw is now known as the screw of Aleatico and is this wine's namesake.
The Aleatico di Gradoli recieved DOC recognition in 1972. It's produced in Gradoli and in Grotto di Castro, San Lorenzo Nuovo and Latera, all of which sit on the banks of the Bolsena Lake. The Aleatico is only found in this part of the peninsula because it needs the near perfect microclimate of the Bolsena Lake to get its the unique characteristics.
It's produced in three different typologies: Aleatico di Gradoli, Aleatico di Gradoli Liquoroso and Aleatico di Gradoli Liquoroso Reserve.
ALEATICO DI GRADOLI:
Visual characteristics: An intense garnet red colour with violet tonalities
Olfactory characteristics: Fruity and delicately aromatic
Taste characteristics: Soft, velvety and sweet. A minimum alcohol graduation of 12°
Food pairings: Perfect with sweets that are made with hazelnuts, like those typical of Viterbo, as well dry pastries and tarts with red fruits
ALEATICO DI GRADOLI LIQUOROSO:
Visual characteristics: An intense garnet red with violet reflections
Olfactory characteristics: Particularly aromatic and delicate on the nose
Taste characteristics: Soft, warm and sweet. The minimum alcohol graduation is 17.5° with a compulsory ageing period of 6 months from the date of fortification
Food pairing: Fantastic as a meditation wine, it goes well with dry sweets, cakes with chocolate or hazelnuts and sweets made with red fruits
ALEATICO DI GRADOLI LIQUOROSO RISERVA:
Visual characteristics: A very intense garnet red colour with a tendency to develop orange reflections with age
Olfactory characteristics: Strong aromatic aromas and characteristics of barrel ageing
Taste characteristics: Rounded, sweet, more or less tannic, but extremely palatable. The minimum alcohol graduation is 17.5° with compulsory ageing beginning from the date of fortification to two years in oak barrels with a maximum capacity of 250 litres. This is followed by a minimum bottle ageing of a year.
Food pairing: Best enjoyed with dry pastries, cakes with hazelnuts and chocolate and tarts of blackberries or raspberries. Ideal with just a piece of chocolate, especially if it’s dark. Great as a meditation wine.