Lacrima di Morro d'Alba is a seductive, medium-bodied red from the mysterious Lacrima grape grown in and around Morro d'Alba, a small town less than 20 miles from the Adriatic coast and the city of Ancona. While there are some two dozen vintners making this heady red, we fell in love with one from a very small producer who turned from grower to vintner in 2003.
It's not only the wines he and his family produce, it's the surname that also grabbed our attention. "Mezzanotte" — which literally translates as "midnight" — harvests fruit from 8.5 hectares of Lacrima di Morro d'Alba and the region's best known variety, Verdicchio, grown on hillside vineyards cooled by breezes from the sea located no more than seven miles away.
Sandrino Mezzanotte has been growing and selling grapes from his and a neighbor's tract since 1985. But eight years ago, with the help of his son Lorenzo and winemaker Francesco Sbaffi, the hardworking grapegrower launched his own brand.
Even now, he continues to sell vino da tavola ("table wine") to his friends and neighbors, who drop by to fill up their jugs with the new wines. However, Mezzanotte culls out the best lots of Lacrima and Verdicchio for the marketplace.
Until now, Mezzanotte wines had only been available in Italy — generally in restaurants and enotecas in Le Marche and a few top-flight trattorias in nearby Umbria. The two wines we're offering mark the producer's first venture into the American market.