Rustic. It’s a word I’ve seen used to describe several of winemaker Anthony Nappa’s eponymous lineup – particularly the red wines. He even uses it himself. I’ve used it to describe some of them, too.
But what does it mean?
Merriam-Webster defines the word rustic in a few ways ways, including “lacking in social graces or polish.” While I’d never suggest that Nappa’s wines lack grace, some of them aren’t quite as polished as some you’ll find on the North Fork, including the wines he makes at Raphael. They have a certain edginess, almost a wildness, that some winemakers would probably try to strip away.
One of the Google definitions for rustic probably applies more directly to Nappa’s wines: “constructed or made in a plain and simple fashion.”
Our “Wine of the Week” Anthony Nappa Wines 2014 “La Strega” Malbec certainly qualifies.
Made with fruit grown on the old Peconic Bay Winery property in Cutchogue, Nappa took his typical hands-off approach here. The grapes were de-stemmed, but not crushed. Whole berries were moved by gravity to small one-ton fermenters where fermentation was done via ambient yeast. The wine was gently punched down no more than 2 times a day during the fermentation and the finished wine was aged in French oak for six months before being bottled without filtration or fining.
Brooding black and blue fruit greet the nose with bright, high-toned, lifted floral aromas of violets and lilacs further accented by notes of wet gravel and black pepper.
Medium bodied and spicy, the palate features more dark fruit — plums and blackberries — with nice floral notes and bright acidity.
150 cases were made and it’s available at The Winemaker Studio in Peconic for $22, making it a nice value in local, table-friendly red.