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
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