Villa Puri is an ongoing family enterprise of a family that originally settled on the north side of Lago Bolsena (about 80 miles north of Rome) over 500 years ago. The current patriarch of the family's heritage, Vittorio Puri, has transitioned all farming operations to being organic and all wines are fermented with only naturally occurring yeasts. Between the exceptional farming and natural fermentation, I found the Villa Puri wines to be very expressive and interesting.
Adding to the qualities and characteristics of the wines is the volcanic soil around Lago Bolsena which was created from the collapsed caldera of a very large ancient volcano. The Villa Puri vineyards are located on the north shore of the lake and have the perfect south facing locations that promote superior viticulture from having optimal sun exposure each day. What is also fun and interesting is to go down to the shore of the lake and see the black sand beaches - which show the extent of the volcanic minerality in the area which creates the depth of flavors and elegance in the Villa Puri wines.
Although I liked all of the Villa Puri wines that I tasted, most were from less well-known native varietals that may not be familiar to the marketplace. Although I personally am comfortable with native varietals all through Europe, for an initial introduction to Villa Puri, I chose just one wine - the Est! Est!! Est!!! - that is somewhat better known and also has an amusing story behind the name.
As the legend goes, in the 12th century, a German Bishop who was quite fond of wine was traveling to Rome. Since the quality of wine at that time could vary widely, the Bishop had one of his servants travel ahead of him each day to sample wine at taverns along the way. When the servant found wine that was good, he had been instructed to write "Est" (it is!) on the door of that tavern. When arriving at Lago Bolsena, the servant was apparently so entranced by the minerally wines from the volcanic soils that he wrote "Est! Est!! Est!!!" on the door of a local tavern. Supposedly the Bishop agreed and, as the story goes, then spent the rest of his life in the area.
A view across Lago Bolsena
a black sand beach on the shore of the lake
Est! Est!! Est!!! 2017
This is a blend of 60% Trebbiano and 40% Malvasia and aromas include white flowers, narcissus, acacia honey, and hints of camellia, gardenia, honeydew melon, and canteloupe. Flavors include honeydew melon, white peach, nectarine, and kiwi. There is medium body with a feeling of elegance across your palate but with a fully saturated mouthfeel that feels like a more full bodied wine. Overall this has perfect balance and mild acidity for a lot of food pairings.
Food pairings would include sea bass, shrimp, swordfish, halibut, seafood pasta and salads, red chowders, veal, pork, chicken, light pasta dishes, Asian pork and chicken stir frys, Asian noodle dishes and vegetable salads, and mild cheeses.