The Juice Asylum’s Il Terzo Grado translates to “The Third Degree” in English, and it is a prime example of the cool sh*t coming out of Italy these days. It’s a fresh and lively red blend that is made with minimal intervention in the cellar in a lighter, juicy style. While previous vintages were Sangiovese-dominant blends, the 2021 vintage is a boisterous blend of five red grapes (in order of their prevalence): Merlot, Sangiovese, Alicante, Grechetto, and Cabernet Sauvignon. They come from a mix of vineyards through Tuscany’s rolling hillsides, namely in Cortona, La Selva (just west of Siena), and Banditella (near Montepulciano).
The grapes are harvested manually and once back at the cellar, they ferment in separate vessels. All varieties are vinified with native yeasts in stainless-steel with the exception of Grechetto, which is put into old barriques. The Merlot is fermented whole-bunch, with five days of maceration and one daily pump over. The Sangiovese spends four days on the skins, with one piegage per day. The Alicante ferments 15% whole-bunch, with five days on the skins. The Grechetto grapes are fermented whole-bunch and then are basket pressed. Finally, the Cab Sauv ferments whole-bunch and spends four days on the skins. All varieties then spend six months in a steel tank before bottling. The wine is unfined, unfiltered, and gets just a very light sulfur addition.