The vineyard produces three wines: two red and one white. All are made without the addition of yeast or sulphites, for the simple reason that grapes naturally contain both yeast and sulphur dioxide and so these need not be added during wine-making. The main effect of adding yeast is that the wine’s natural taste is altered and standardised. Instead, metabisulphite (sulphur dioxide) certainly protects wine against oxidation, yet it also attacks the stomach’s mucous membranes, also causing the well-known headache effects. Natural wine ‘naturally’ produces small quantities of this substance which, when combined with the necessary wine storage precautions (a suitable temperature, no light and complete isolation from air), guarantee conservation of the product’s optimal and inherent properties. Further ‘non-intervention’ in my approach to wine-making is the absence of filtration, excluded since it is a non-natural process that impairs end quality. The winter’s low temperatures take the suspended particles to settle naturally, while careful and repeated racking off ensures a clear wine that has lost nothing in organic make-up, taste and bouquet. This production method is excellent for wines that may be enjoyed young. Nonetheless, these bottles do not disappoint (in fact they are quite a surprise!) after longer in the cellar. To round off, we can quote Goethe’s sentence to convey the essential idea behind the approach to these wines: “Life is too short to drink bad wine!”
Ambrato is the name I have given to my wine from Albana di Romagna grapes, due to the warm colour brought by the golden yellow skins of the fruit. A swift primary fermentation of the must (24-48 hours) is followed by slow fermentation in steel vats. The liquid is then fined in oak casks for about 6 months. The production cycle for this ‘white’ ends with maturing in bottles. The result offers an intense fruity bouquet while the palate can detect traces of vanilla and dried fruit. Although it is a dry wine (and is perfect served with fish, cheese or light pasta dishes), it keeps something of the rounded slightly sweet flavour typical to Albana di Romagna, which is traditionally a dessert wine.
The San Giovese (named in honour of the mythical saint believed to watch over lovers of this legendary wine!) is a single varietal wine (100% Sangiovese grapes). Its production cycle involves primary fermentation of the must for about a fortnight, then secondary fermentation and sedimentation in steel vats, followed by fining in wooden barrels for 12 months, and lastly maturing in bottles for at least a further 12 months before drinking. A wine of great character, it is stern and slightly sulky (like all true Romagna stock), yet once respected and appreciated, it provides great satisfaction and reveals a complex character and uncommon richness. When drunk young it is marked by the arrogance, strength and freshness of its age, while it mellows over time to acquire depth and charm – ensured only by the process of maturing. Overtones of juniper berry and almond are typical to this authentic red.
The Rosso Rio Chiè red is a true and proper tribute to its local area (and here I avoid the customary French term terroir – our local areas have enough character of their own to reject words from beyond the Alps!) since its grapes grow on the slopes surrounding the Rio Chiè river. Differently from the San Giovese, the Rosso Rio Chiè is a mixed vintage (fermentation of several grape varieties) with Sangiovese (85%) Merlot (5%) and Ciliegiolo (10%). The Merlot and Ciliegiolo grapes add delicacy and roundedness to the Sangiovese, making the wine smoother. The production process is similar to that of the San Giovese, yet the presence of small quantities of different grapes means the resulting wine almost magically takes on a different personality and stature. It brings to mind certain ‘cousins’ from the Piedmont region, as well as the best Chiantis. Hints of rose and chocolate are features of this noble wine.