The iconic, German-focused wine importer Terry Theise once said that the first duty of wine is to be refreshing, the second duty is to be delicious, and the third duty is to be fascinating. If we take Terry’s word, the new line from Valentina Passalaqua, 9 is Enough, showcases wines as dutiful as they come.
The name refers to the low ABV percentage that characterize these wines. Valentina’s new project is intended to highlight a different style of natural wine, one that requires creativity and precision to get just right. With 9 is Enough, Valentina has succeeded at making dry wines that are not only zippy and flavorful, but thoughtful. They beg the question, “What is good wine?” Surely, Valentina’s definition is the antithesis of the commercial dogma, and it is precisely this juxtaposition that we find so intriguing.
Valentina has made a name for herself as Italy’s natural wine maverick, notably with her Calcarius line. One major difference between 9 is Enough and Calcarius is that the former comes from grapes grown on brown soils (think clay-loam) while the latter comes from white soils (think limestone). The clay-loam soils, which are more predominantly known for cradling Napa and Barossa vineyards, offers a supportive backbone to these light wines. Valentina follows biodynamic practices in the vineyard and the cellar, and tends to be very light-handed on sulfur, her only addition.
Just like the Calcarius line and her eponymous wines, the 9 is Enough wines are eye-catching and bright. In many ways, they represent the future that Valentina is building for the low-intervention wine scene, one that pushes boundaries, particularly for women in male-centric growing regions. Valentina’s latest venture invites a new conversation about the merits of refreshing, low ABV wines, of which there are many.