NOVEMBER WINE BOX
great biodynamic wines!
Led by sommelier Laura Bertozzi
It is the first biodynamic winery in Franciacorta. Another feature that I really like is the brolo, the fenced garden vineyard that is meticulously cared for. In addition to producing Franciacorta DOCG, the winery is also dedicated to other wines, including Sullerba, in which Chardonnay is always the protagonist. A vine that thrives in the moraine hills of Franciacorta, where the loose soil rich in fossils allows it not to suffer from water stress, as well as providing the vineyard with essential mineral salts.
The name of the winery derives from the fact that much of the ownership of the land of Silvia and Federico, the two brothers who are the owners, dates back to 1701, while the walls of the orchard are even older: from the 11th century!
There really is a lot of passion here: the owners, dedicated to other occupations, could have enjoyed the Bonaparte villa and its possessions, but instead they wanted to make wine and biodynamic wine at that! Attention to the environment is their manifesto, as is collaboration with the territory, with the aim of raising awareness of sustainability.
We are in San Miniato, where the Phoenicians already cultivated vines: here, Cosimo Ridolfi, founder of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Pisa and already owner of the estate, decided to produce his wine. The beneficial effects of the sea, not far away, are felt in the always ventilated climate, which dries the vineyards and cools the hottest summers. The gentle slopes make processing and harvesting easier - always done strictly by hand - and allow for good drainage.
Respect for Nature is also valorisation of the territory: the company believes in native vines, even little-known ones such as Buonamico and Sanforte, with the aim of preserving and enhancing them.
The Venerosi Pesciolini family cannot be considered a new entry in the world of wine, given that they have been dealing with it since 1370; for this reason their recent choices are even more courageous and appreciable. They could have continued to produce in the traditional way but instead in 2003 they converted to organic, they banned herbicides, insecticides and fungicides and, not happy, in 2006 they converted to biodynamics.
Ghizzano is located at an altitude of 200 meters above sea level, facing the sea from which refreshing breezes arrive (you will notice in the tower what wind is blowing!), which dries out and mitigates the climate of this village located 40 km away from Pisa and as many from Livorno.
The harvesting and cellar operations continue with respect for the fruits of nature: the harvest is manual, as is the sorting of the bunches, the pressing takes place with the feet, no yeasts are added and no pumps are used for decanting and breaking the cap. For refinement they use steel, cement, wooden barrels, tonneaux and, only for Nambrot, barriques. Since the use is strictly linked to the evolution of the wine and not to the release of tannins from the wood, we try to avoid new containers, favoring second and third passage barrels.
We are in Lucca, on a farm that has belonged to the same family for more than two centuries and which has been producing wine since the beginning of the last century. The love for biodynamics began with the latest generation: husband and wife, who, with great attention to the elements that host and surround us, decided to support the soil. Where the composition is silty-sandy, the grapes for the production of rosés grow, white grape vines are cultivated in the loose soil strip, while the area with greater clay is intended for red wines with greater structure.
You can hear from the way Mina and Matteo speak that biodynamics is a philosophy of life for them, which does not only concern the vineyard: as Steiner would like, they have also taken two donkeys, who graze in the vineyards, moving the soil and fertilizing it, and of chickens, raised biodynamically.
The company stands out above all for its Pet-Nat, an ancestral method, an incredible Vermentino and for its rosé wines, snubbed by consumers and Italian wineries until a few years ago, but loved so much by the French, like Mina, and by husband Matteo, who worked in France and took advantage of the cultural background he experienced.
SINCERE, Cosimo Maria Masini
Nomina sunt consequentia rerum (names are consequent to things), as Dante said, and this is truly a "sincere" wine. It reflects the Chianti of the Pisan Hills and is not tamed by refinements that take away or give something more than what the vineyard already offers. It is a good everyday wine, which allows Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc to express themselves at their best, thanks to fermentation in cement: inert material, which allows good micro-oxygenation, without giving anything away.
The aromas are those of black fruit (plum, blackberry), but also of strawberry, Mediterranean scrub and flint, but here comes the violet. It has a slim body, as befits an everyday wine, warm, fresh and with graceful tannins.
It is a wine for the whole meal: to be enjoyed with a platter of salami and medium-aged cheeses as an appetizer, with spaghetti with sauce and also with roast chicken with potatoes or pizzaiola-style meat.
Both for its characteristics and for its refinement, it is a wine that I would not leave in the cellar for too long, but which is happy to be drunk throughout the year.
Serve at 16-18° C.
GHIZZANO, Ghizzano Estate
It is the "fruit wine" as Ginevra Venerosi Pesciolini defines it: it comes from the youngest vines and the refinement (in steel and concrete) does not want to give it greater personality but lets the vine - Sangiovese - which has gentle traits in the Pisan Hills, speak for itself . In this wine it reigns supreme, giving only 5% to Merlot.
The aromas are complex and elegant: balsamic, red fruit such as cherry, blueberry, blackberry. In the mouth it is easy to drink, rightly tannic in both quantity and quality, and finishes with the same elegance as the nose.
Excellent as an aperitif with a platter of cold cuts and cheeses and also on dishes that are not too structured, for an evening with friends.
We can taste it even after a couple of years, but longevity is not its goal.
Serve at 18-20° C.
VERMENTINO, Fattoria Sardi
It is a pure Vermentino, from vineyards of different ages: the younger ones give greater freshness, the older ones give more complex grapes. It ferments and refines in steel and concrete, and remains for a few months on the fine lees. I am a little perplexed when they offer me a Vermentino that does not come from the Upper Tyrrhenian Sea because this vine needs proximity to the sea and a climate that is not too hot. But in this case it expresses itself in a big way.
The nose is tickled by fresh and elegant aromas of grapefruit, pineapple, San Giovanni pear, a balsamic note of mint and Mediterranean herbs, white flowers. In the mouth it has body, lively freshness, flavor, a clean but not almondy finish, as usually happens, and the aromas just smelled return elegantly in the form of aromas.
Due to the fact that it does not have a light drink, it can accompany the whole meal: at the lowest temperatures it pairs perfectly with a non-fatty fish or vegetable-based appetizer, and as it remains on the table and warms up, try it with trofie with pesto, with spaghetti with seafood or with fettuccine with white meat ragout; among the second courses, the pairing with island-style sea bream and white rabbit is excellent.
Don't leave it in the cellar for too long, a couple of years at most.
Serve at 10-12° C.
SULLERBA, 1701 Franciacorta
The name already suggests the best time to drink it, that is to say a situation from Seurat's "Grande Jatte": a picnic or an aperitif on the grass. Accompanied by some appetizers, among the chatter of friends.
It refines first in amphora and then in steel and then, once the base wine (100% Chardonnay) is finished, it is bottled with the addition of frozen free-run must, from the same harvest, for subsequent fermentation and remains there for 12 months, with its screw cap, up to the opening for tasting. A soft and abundant foam fills the glass, revealing a straw yellow tending towards green that is not completely clear, due to non-filtration. The nose is tickled by the perkiness of citrus fruits - mandarin and cedar - which remain the protagonists but also leave room for butter, chalk, apple and Williams pear, as well as a delicate hawthorn. And it is now the butter that makes more room and introduces us to a nice balsamic note. The sip has body, lively freshness and flavor. It closes with sufficient persistence in a harmonious amalgamation of the scents felt on the nose in the form of aromas.
It should be drunk within the year, but it is so easy to finish a bottle that doing so won't be a problem!
Serve at 6-8° C.
Daphné, Cosimo Maria Masini
Trebbiano is the main grape variety of this wine, to which 20% Malvasia is added. It macerates on the skins for a week and this gives the wine the intense color typical of orange wines . It is a difficult type of wine to produce, because nothing is enough to have oxidized wines or wines with unpleasant odors that break down in the mouth. This is not the case with Daphné, which instead acquires complexity of aromas from long maceration which range from medicinal herbs to white flowers to barley candy to yellow fruit. And the drink is also interesting, because the round sip is invigorated not only by the lively freshness and flavor, but also by a tannin compound. It ends with the aftertaste (i.e. the aromas that are perceived after swallowing) elegant and with discreet persistence.
The complexity of this wine and its characteristics make it suitable for refinement and indeed it will amaze you after years, I say this from experience: I recently tasted a 2015 and it still has all the liveliness of a kid and a truly interesting evolution of aromas .
Despite being produced from white grapes, the permanence on the skins gives polyphenols and tannins worthy of a red wine and the slight oxidation makes it even more versatile. We are therefore not afraid to taste it with a Milanese risotto, with saffron and ossobuco or even with a fried egg with truffle, perhaps from San Miniato to stay local, or even with mature cheeses and meat-based dishes without too much reduction or long cooking. For example, a duck a l'orange goes perfectly.
Serve it at 13-15° C, opening it 15 minutes before.
Veneroso, Ghizzano Estate
This is a "concept wine", because the vineyards are wise, slightly aged ladies and you can also feel the delicate intervention of the winemaker, who decided on aging in 50 hl French oak barrels.
It is my favorite wine from Tenuta di Ghizzano and I am happy that you can enjoy it too. It is produced with 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The aromas are decidedly marked, clearly elegant, of black fruit (blackberry, morello cherry), eucalyptus, sage, coffee, chocolate, sweet tobacco, light woody . In the mouth the sip has body, it is broad but at the same time slim, warm and fresh. The tannin is already composed, although it is well present. The finish has good persistence.
Forget a bottle in the cellar and retrieve it after 7/8 years: it will amaze you!
Pair first and second courses with structure, given the complexity of the wine. Some suggestions: baked pasta, fettuccine Cacciatora, peposo…
Serve at 16-18° C.