Calcarius are based in Apricena, in the northern region of Gargano, Puglia (just south of Abruzzo). Valentina Passalacqua and Danilo Marcucci oversee a farm comprising 80 hectares of vines, fruit and vegetables. This project bears the fruits of patient observation, attention to terroir, and a commitment to indigenous varietals. The vineyards are characterised by kimmeridgian calcareous soils (thus Calcarius) and are true wines of terroir - mineral, tense, and uncompromising. Valentina has been the leading exponent of biodynamics in Puglia since 2000. The vineyards of Gargano are rooted in the Magna Grecia, as Ovid referred to this region which had been settled by Hellenic settlers from the 8th century onwards. The grape varieties are the fruit – as it were – of this historic fusion of two cultures, being Nero di Troia, Greco Bianco, Bombino, Negroamaro and Aleatico. The wines are naturally made with ambient spontaneous alcoholic fermentations, which Valentina and Danilo describe as "A processing of mineralisation…the salts present in the grapes in an organic form turn into mineral inorganic components. The unstable composition of the must acquires a new stable and mineralised form in the wine". Maturation in inert, stainless steel vats is the order of the day, ensuring the fruit and the soil are the primary focus. Throughout the wines exhibit a restraint, without lacking fruit or depth, a deft sleight-of-hand which while not immediately evident in the wine (which speaks for itself) is clearly a result of the tireless work made of liaising with the land. A lesson in holding back, being assuredly non-interventionist in field and winery alike.
Hellen Bianco is 100% Greco. Lots of pithy lemon citrus and something both herbal and floral to its aroma. Green almond, and some stony mineral notes; the wine is clean and precise, like all of the wines in this Calcarius range.