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Il Moralizzatore: the laid-back Cab

by Claudio Celio

Il Moralizzatore is a small winery in Veneto with an objectively bizarre name for a wine grower [it means “The Moralizer”] and the double distinction of making good wines and giving us a good story.

The story is of two bright, well educated young men (one is a pharmacist, the other a veterinarian) who at some point, decided to mold their dream into reality and make wine. Andrea and Enrico have been dedicating themselves to winemaking since 2011 – “part-time for the time being but we're hoping 100% soon;” in particular, natural wines with a biodynamic imprint.

Il Moralizzatore currently cultivates three hectares under vine (7.4 acres, all rented), where they grow native Venetian varieties like Vespaiola e il Groppello as well as international ones, notably Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

Both vineyards are located in the foothills north of Vicenza, where terrain varies in origin depending on slope, but is characterized by the presence of volcanic-basaltic rocks.

Within the duo's diverse range – both fizzy and still wines – what most intrigued me was their Cabaret Sauvignon: a pure varietal from the calcareous soil north of Vicenza at approximately 660 feet above sea level (200 meters), which Andrea and Enrico have decided to label, somewhat irreverently, Cabaret Sauvignon – a name that may have Cab Sauv aficionados unprovided with a well-developed sense of humor turn up their noses.

The choice of name, though, turned out to be spot-on, since the wine itself breaks the stereotype of an austere, deep and concentrated Cabernet. Cabaret Sauvignon takes the taster by storm in terms of quaffability; despite such typical varietal traits as rampant tannins, none of them diminish the more laid-back interpretation Andrea and Enrico have given the grape.

There may not be stylistic perfection, but Cabaret Sauvignon is an extremely enjoyable red that ideally pairs just about any fare.

“2013 was more of a fruit-focused vintage compared to the rather more vertical 2012 and a thinner 2014 affected by the difficult harvest,” Andrea tells us.

Andrea explains how the Cabernet speaks of its soil and the old vines it hails from. The rest is thanks to the painstaking selection of grapes at harvest, spontaneous fermentation and fine-tuning in used barriques. It’s an all-around food wine particularly suited to meat dishes, including game.