The early reports on the 2014 vintage through much of Europe were not optimistic: rain, lots of it. In some places, it lasted through the spring. In parts of Italy, it carried on through much of the growing season.
Farmers depend on rain when it comes at the right time and in the right amount to keep their vines healthy. But too much, combined with warm temperatures and plenty of humidity, can be a disaster, leading to mildew, fungus and rot. Yields can be diminished and, without the utmost care, the quality of the wines can be harmed.
Yet to the surprise of many people who follow vintage reports as if they were the gospel, the wines from some areas where gloom was deepest have turned out surprisingly well.
The Piedmont region of northwestern Italy was one such place where pessimism seemed to have the upper hand. But early reports on the 2014 Barbarescos from those who had visited the region — and tasted from barrels and bottles — indicated that the wines were not at all bad. On the contrary, most tasters asserted, they were quite good. Continue reading 2014 Barbarescos: Triumphs and Question Marks
Once there was a time when people, both in the wine trade and the general consumer, would actively avoid organic wines, if they even knew they existed in the first place.
But organic wine is on the rise among wine lovers. Thanks in part to an increase in the number of talented young winemakers actively seeking out organically grown grapes to make their wines from, organic wines are finally carving out a niche for themselves. And drinkers are reaping the rewards.
An organic wine is a wine made from grapes that have been grown without the use of artificial or synthetic chemicals, such as herbicides and pesticides. To keep the weeds and bugs at bay, organic farmers work with nature, rather than against it, by boosting their vineyard’s biodiversity. For example, they introduce cover crops to provide a habitat for beneficial insects that are the natural enemy of problem species, or have small sheep graze between the vine rows, eating the grass and weeds. In this way, the vineyard becomes a self-regulating, natural ecosystem, which is able to combat problems intrinsically and eliminates the need for artificial, and potentially toxic, chemicals. Continue reading Why you should be drinking organic wine
Pievalta Castelli di Jesi Winery: Pioneers of Biodynamic Agriculture in Le Marche
The Pievalta Castelli di Jesi Winery, located in Le Marche, was founded in 2002 with biodynamic agriculture in mind. Silvano Brescianini of Barone Pizzini spotted the potential of the Verdicchio grape and decided to acquire the property. He recruited Alessandro Fenino, a young enologist from Milan, to manage this newly acquired land. Thus began the story of this pioneering winery.
Fenino studied the Verdicchio grape and decided to farm the estate, adhering to purely organic methods. In 2005, he implemented a biodynamic conversion of the vineyards. In growing cover crops between vineyard rows “green manure,” Fenino successfully reactivated the soil, while stimulating the growth of many other plants, too. His method acts as a kind of organic renaissance for the vineyard. Continue reading Organic, Bio-dynamic and Vegan
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CECCHI WINERIES | The historical Journey of Italian Wine
It was Cecchi who started a journey in 1893, that led to what now can be defined as a perfect blend between innovation and tradition.
It is in the ability to predict the future that one of the secrets of Cecchi Family success lays; a sort of gift handed down from father to son.
Every step forward taken by the winery throughout its history has been preceded by careful and thorough experimentation, and it is the respect for tradition that has always led the family in making its daily decisions.
Respecting the ecosystem has gone hand in hand with the winery’s growth: a minmal environmental impact is a prerogative the family chose to pursue, in order to safeguard the ecological future of the surrounding habitat.
The production and management centre of Castellina has benefited from continuous conservative investments, which have enabled the winery to operate whilst respecting the people, the lanscape and the territory.
In 1996, Cecchi purchased the Val delle Rose winery in the small town of Poggio la Mozza, which lies at the productive heart of Morellino di Scansano. At the time of its acquisition, Val delle Rose counted on 25 hectares under vines.
The Cecchi intervention was comparable to a minor farming revolution, as the agricultural techniques used till then did not ensure the batch-to-batch consistency needed for the viability of a winery.
The study of the soil available – a practice that was then carried out by many other companies in the Maremma – revealed the enormous potential of this terroir, so much so that the company decided to extend the land under vines up to about the current 100 hectares. Here, the star varietal is Sangiovese.