Cantina Tollo’s Andrea Di Fabio knows how to instantly bring his new organic line into my good graces. “It is really important to us,” he says, “that you don’t have to spend too much money to drink quality wine.” I’m sold!
But let’s dig a little deeper.
Tollo is a co-op in Abruzzo — that opened in 1960 — who recently released a line of organic and vegan certified wines made with native grapes of the region, bottled sustainably. There was a time, of course, where many believed that co-ops produced lower quality products than smaller, private wineries, but that perception is rapidly changing. In fact, the sheer size of many of these co-ops allows them to invest far more in technology than their smaller counterparts.
In addition, they can be choosier with the grapes they use. “It’s not easy to manage organic production in a big co-op like we are, with 700 farmers,” says Di Fabio, “but the huge quantity of organic grapes is an important plus for us… with small quantities it can be difficult to always have that a wine that is clean, every time drinkable.” Tollo brings in enough organic grapes to produce 6 million bottles, but only end up with around 600,000, ensuring only the very best are used for this new line. “We want our consumers to always have the chance to taste a glass that is drinkable, that is clean, that is pure,” he adds. “We don’t want any surprises.”
He’s right on every count. These wines are straightforward, fresh and downright charming. And organic. And with a target US price of $20 or less, very reasonably priced. It’s hard not to like any of that! “I think of it as a democratization of wine,” Di Fabio continues. “If you buy a wine from Cantina Tollo, you have a chance to buy a second bottle, but to still drink a very good wine.” Sign me up Andrea.
Cantina Tollo Pecorino Terre di Chieti IGP Organic 2019
Lovely blend of rich fruits – mainly citrus, with fresh mineral notes on finish. Drinks more like an Offida DOCG (Marche) than an Abruzzo Pecorino (because the former tends to have more structure).
Cantina Tollo Passerina Terre di Chieti IGP Organic 2019
Tropical fruit, oily notes, with a long finish. One of the more impressive Passerina wines I’ve tried: a perfect blend of rich fruit, creamy mouthfeel and bright, palate-cleansing acidity.
Cantina Tollo Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Organic 2019
Firstly, I have to comment on the Andre Agassi pink color of this wine — just stunning! Brings me back to the 80s. As for the wine, it’s cheery and almost too easy to drink, though it has just enough savory complexity (herbs, chalk) and a touch of tannin to balance. Delicious!
Cantina Tollo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC Organic 2019
Cherry fruit notes, juicy, well-structured. Just a lovely expression of this underrated grape, with no off notes (not a given with MdA).