The Juice Asylum – Montepulciano, Tuscany
The Juice Asylum is a project started in 2016 by Alessio Guidi. Being a fanatic on all things quirky, interesting and above all terroir driven, he embraces the idea of allowing wine to have an experimental playground where the natural element is encouraged rather than denied and put into a ‘facility’ (an Asylum, if you will) for correction. Since so much time is spent on the selection of the grapes (sourced from biodynamic or organic vineyards in Tuscany) the brief is to use minimal intervention, co-fermentation and different styles of ageing to allow the wine to speak of where it is from rather than be ‘made’.
For the Il Terzo Grado, Biodynamic Sangiovese and Merlot blend and multi grape co-ferment from fruit liberated from one of Tuscany’s finest growers. The 2018 vintage is the 3rd edition of Terzo Grado and sees the percentage of Sangiovese up to around 80%. How’s it made? Here goes. 5% Merlot & the same amount of Sangiovese co-ferment; at the same time a portion of Sangiovese undergoes carbonic maceration and for the first time around 10% of Trebbiano & Malvasia (yep, white grapes are now in the asylum too!) ferment on their skins for about 5 days. At the end of the 5 days the white juice is pressed off the skins and all the parcels brought together to finish the ferment. This year’s creation is again an all-stainless steel affair, all wild yeast ferments and saw no sulphur additions. The Sangiovese from Avignonesi and Merlot from Cortona are picked simultaneously, the Merlot adding its full ripeness to the early picked tones of the Sangiovese. The addition of skin contct white grapes helps with textural lift on the mid palate and aromatics. Made by a good friend of ours this has great energy and freshness with cool cherry sorbet fruits, violet petal and blackurrant acidity.