Much like a good summer romance, our love for Greco has been swift, intense and just a little bit steamy, but unlike literally all summer romances, we reckon this one can make the distance (seriously). While we've been making eyes at Greco from across the room for a while now, but we only made the first move a little while ago when we crafted Unico Greco last year. But why? It's a direct neighbour of our one true love Fiano, why would it take us this long to have a crack?
Well, it's only recently made its way across the sea to Australia from Campania, Italy - there they call it Greco di Tufo, named after the town of Tufo where it hails, but it might not even be an Italian grape! While a contentious opinion, there is belief that Greco may have links to Greece, when it was brought to Italy almost 2,500 years ago by ancient greek settlers! How Cool!
But Wait! It gets even cooler - post World War 2, many heritage vines in Campania were at risk of extinction, due to the lack of vineyard operators and the dreaded phylloxera virus, Greco, alongside a swathe of ancient grape varieties were at risk at going extinct! Enter Antonio Mastroberadino and the whole Mastroberadino family, who worked with ampelographers to preserve these grapes from certain extinction. These ended up being among some of the many that have played an important role in Australian wine - Alganico, Greco, and even Fiano!
Thanks to the legendary Chalmers family in Victoria, Greco finally made it to our shores in 2011, and in 2015 it was released from quarantine and planted in nursery blocks in Merebin, and eventually a few cuttings made their way into our mate Ashley Ratcliff's hands in the Riverland, alongside all the great vines he is cultivating in that part of the world for the epic Ricca Terra project - which is where we stumbled upon it!
Each year we like experimenting with a new variety or two, and in 2019 Laura decided that variety was Greco, which was set to become an addition to our adored Esoterico - but we thought it looked brilliant so we bottled it solo! We loved it so much we've decided to commit to it - but we've taken it a bit more seriously... MORE skin contact, some time in old puncheons (barrels) and a little bit of lees work. The result? Well, we're absolutely chuffed with Terra Cotta - a textural and structured skin contact wine. While those who remember our original Unico Greco as an outrageously quaffable, zesty number, this one wont hark back those memories - fond they may be - but its an expression that captures the greatness of the variety, and it's propensity to create excellent skin contact wine.