Di Majo Norante is an Italian winery located in Molise, just off the Adriatic coast. The property dated back to 1859 and was the farm and vineyard of a local nobleman, the Marquis Norante. The current owner, Alessio Di Majo, has been producing great wines for well over a decade now.
One of the reasons for Alessio Di Majo’s success was hiring Riccardo Cotarella in the very beginning. Known as “Il Mago (the Wizard),” Riccardo is arguably Italy’s top winemaking consultant. Riccardo consults for 50 wineries at last count and his own family winery, Falesco in Umbria. Over the past two decades, his reputation has risen far outside Italy; his projects now include vineyards in France, India, Israel, and right here in the States.
This wine is sourced from the top sites in the Ramitello vineyard at Di Majo Norante, which sports vines with an average age of 50 years. Mostly Montepulciano (the grape, not the place) and a dash of Aglianico (ranging from 15% to 20% depending on the vintage). It is aged in older French oak casks for about a year and a half and another year in the bottle before release.
Our first review of the Ramitello was for the 2002 vintage. Can you believe we have been writing wine reviews for so long? For the past decade, this southern Italian blend of Montepulciano and Aglianico has been the best buy at the Wine School.
Aromas of fennel and blackberry are intercut with a whiff of tobacco smoke. On the palate, it puts forward a decadent amount of blue and black fruits. Spoonfuls of silky tannins dip into a fleshy weight, like chocolate mousse. Sweet herbs, wet stone, and dry earth come forward in the finish. This is an artful wine that also manages to be a crowd-pleaser.