Wines of le Marche: Lacrima di Morro d’Alba
In this new article about the wines of le Marche, we will explore the variety called: Lacrima di Morro D’Alba (Morro d’Alba’s teardrop).
The origin of this peculiar name is indeed linked to a natural fact and a geographical location.
Firstly, the suffix Morro d’Alba is the name of the town from where this wine mainly comes from.
Morro seems to derive from the pre-roman word murr/moor meaning rocky peak. Alba, which was added in late 19th century means dawn that also translates as east. Basically the translation for the village name is Eastern rocky peak.
Secondly, the prefix Lacrima, which means teardrop, derives from a peculiar characteristic of the grape. This black grape variety has a thick but extremely fragile skin that easily breaks while maturing. For this reason, when the grapes are almost fully mature, they start to “cry tears” of juice.
Now you know why this wine is Called the “Teardrop of Eastern Peak village”.
Lacrima di Morro d’Alba: a noble wine
The vine of Lacrima, has a long and troubled history. The first mention of it dates back to the medieval times. It was the year 1167 when the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I took refuge in Morro’s castle and discovered this wine. He liked it so much that was his most preferred beverage!.
More recently, 19th century, Lacrima is finally analyzed in laboratory and scientifically categorized.
However Lacrima is not an easy varietal to cultivate. It starts to germinate in early spring, thus leaving it exposed to the possible night frosts. Also, the fact that easily tears its skin facilitates the works of insects laying eggs. Moreover with the arrival of the phylloxera in Europe the vine was greatly affected by the disease. For this reason many winemakers abandoned Lacrima and started to cultivate stronger and easier vine varieties. It got so bad that the vine itself almost went extinct.
Luckily for us, a group of stoic winemakers decided to not give up hope and worked hard on the last 7ha of terrain remaining. And today we can still appreciate this wine thanks to them!.
A detail of the Lacrima vine, showing the grapes and the tears of juice in the right.
(image taken from here).
Where and how is produced the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba
As mentioned before, this variety of the many wines of le Marche was almost gone extinct, but today we have around 285ha worth of vines!.
The wine itself is mostly made of Lacrima, even though the law allow to add up to 15% other varietals (usually Sangiovese or Montepulciano).
Quite rare is its maturation inside barrique, while winemakers prefer to mature the wine in stainless steel vats. This decision is made in order to avoid aromas that can come from other sources, in this case wood, other than the grape itself.
The characteristics of the Lacrima di Morro d’Alba
There are three kind of Lacrima di Morro d’Alba DOC.
- Base (entry level): a very young wine, fruity, light and easy to drink
- Superior: must have at least 12 degrees alcool percentage. Must mature for at least 1 year in bottle. Some of the grapes are left to shrivel for 3~5 days, concentrating the sugars and aromas. Must be served with at least 30min decanting time.
- Passito (raisin wine): must have at least 15 degrees alcool percentage. Must mature for at least 1 year and half in bottle. The grapes are mostly picked up late and left to shrivel in the vine to concentrate the sugars and aromas. Must be served with at least 30min decanting time.
Of the wines of le Marche Lacrima is the third variety in order of importance for red wine production!.
The wine has a deep ruby red color with hints of purple in its youth. Aged and passito lacrima tend to have a tawny hue. On the nose, it has strong aromas of strawberry, red cherry and blueberry that evolve into jam notes when it ages. Tannins and acidity are on the lower end of the spectrum.