Aldo Viola farms seven hectares of Catarratto, Grillo, and Grecanico near his home village of Alcamo, planted on the area’s steep Timpi Rossi (“Red Hills”), named so because of the sandy-clayey soil’s high iron content. He also owns a plot of land 30 kilometers outside of town, closer to the sea, planted to Perricone, Nerello Mascalese, and Syrah, all of which thrive in the dry and scorching-hot microclimate of the area. Aldo works without synthetic chemicals in the vineyards, harvesting everything by hand and conducting almost all vineyard work entirely manually as well. He has long embraced skin maceration in the production of his white wines, not as a trendy affectation for certain cuvees but wholeheartedly; all his white wines are macerated for periods up to eight or nine months. Aldo does this because he finds that long, slow extractions produce the truest expressions of variety-plus-soil as well as the most satisfying textures—and his wines are textural masterpieces bar-none. These are not “funky orange wines” that dazzle with their exuberance despite their lack of balance or restraint; they probe they outer limits of aroma and flavor, but they do so with rigor, clarity, and harmony. His reds are produced with a similar appreciation for balance, and though they viscerally evoke their wild sun-baked hills of origin, they remain lifted, digestible, and refreshing. As with his career path, Aldo’s approach in the cellar has changed over the years: he used to employ no sulfur whatsoever, but has begun adding miniscule amounts—never more than 20 milligrams per liter total, and only in certain cases—to maintain purity of expression and to keep potentially overwhelming flaws at bay. He also experimented with terracotta jars some years back, but ceased working with them because trace amounts of heavy metals found their way into his wines, and because they weren’t large enough to adequately allow for his favored method of extraction: allowing the weight of the bunches to do the work rather than employing excessive punch-downs and pump-overs.
Katie and Denny
Your friendly neighborhood wine shop, focused on small production, organic and biodynamic, natural wines. Connect with us on Instagram for suggestions on your next bottle and to follow along in our downtown Lafayette wine journey.
Visit us to shop in person or order online and pick up in the shop.
210 E. Vermilion Street, Lafayette, LA 70501
Friday & Saturday
Closed Sunday & Monday