Drive about 2 hours north of Rome. Pass the small towns, etruscan tombs, and hot springs. You will find yourself at the beautifully still, volcanic lake, Lake Bolsena. Andrea Occhipinti has been making wine here that is singular, unique, and utterly demanding of your attention. In enology school Andrea focused his studies on the Aleatico grape. While the grape was once reserved for sweet wines, Andrea has been busy vinifying it in various styles; dry for the table, a rose, and even a white version. Today we want to offer his Alea Viva bottling. A wine that is not only a pleasure to drink, but transports you to the scents and aura of Lake Bolsena.

Azienda Agricola Andrea Occhipinti - Alea Viva 2015 - $24 $21

100% Aleatico, vinified dry. Aromatic with notes of strawberry, black fruit, and a blast of red and purple flowers - all with the backbone and minerality that comes from volcanic soil. I like it with the slightest chill, alongside spaghetti Arrabiata, and maybe some fried small lake fish. For fans of Contadino, Le Coste, and Unlitro.

-Frank

I was fortunate enough to visit the domaine a few years back. Andrea and his father-in-law were too kind and great company.