Lazio, Italy

Hootananny and Sassopra

One of my favorite female friends and colleagues in the natural wine world is Liz Danneels.  She and I crossed paths for the first time in East Hampton at Nick & Toni’s where she was the wine director in the early 2000’s, and I was working as a floor somm. Years later after she founded and then left her own wine import company in NY (again a shared story), our paths crossed again in Colorado where she took a role working for one of my other oldest friends and colleagues, Tim Bowen with The Natural Wine Co.  She has since become a soul wine sister, and so when she writes to me about a producer, I listen.  In the spring of 2021 I got this email from her:

I have a new, very natural producer from Frascati who came to me through my friend. We are going to start to bring in the wines directly. She is very new and asking me about other states - she wants to find people who are serious.

Women supporting women is a huge theme for us, so a few months later Carolyn and I flew down to Lazio and met with Marta, Federico and their vineyard horse on their beautiful little farm in Frascati.  Unfortunately we only scheduled 2 hours as we had a serious trip ahead of us further south, because otherwise we could have stayed on with them the entire day talking about wines, their farm, the history of their region, being parents… and natural life in general.  Even though we had just met, it was one of those magical situations where it felt as though we were long lost friends from decades ago.  Two of the most passionate, and authentic people I’ve had the pleasure to meet in a long time, there was little to say.  We hugged, and there over a glass of Mosso, we placed our first order…

Sassopra Details

We are Marta and Federico and Sassopra is our dream come true!

We are from Frascati, south of Rome, a small town with a long history in winemaking, our vulcanic terroir was first used by the romans for the cultivation of the vine.

We found in the biodynamic method the way to renew soil fertility, to increase biodiversity in a context of monoculture, and therefore to bring in the glass a sincere, faithful and healthy expression of our terroir.

We have a 5 hectar vineyard in the Frascati DOC Superiore area, with Malvasia Puntinata, Malvasia di Candia, Bombino, Bellone, Trebbiano, Sangiovese and Merlot. The vines are from 35 to 45 years old, and placed on a small sunny and windy hill, from where we see the most beautiful sunset right over Rome.

In the vineyard we have a vegetable garden, Mala and Temu our horses, and our little chicken farm which we are very proud of!!!

In the cellar we remain faithful to the work we did in the vineyards so we work with spontaneus fermentations, we dont use any oenological shortcut, no filtering only decanting with waning moon, about the use of SO2 we are around 20mg/l, so our wines are protected but not embalmed.

Our vulcanic terroir has very high potassium and sodioum values that give the wines a strong complexity,minerality, flavor, lightness, moderate acidity, salinity and a lot of grit.