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With all our love for Italy we handpicked some of the finest wine producing estates and developed a close working relationship with these passionate people. Every year we are looking forward to presenting you only the best of Italy’s viticultural elite and their masterly wines.




Living Wine!


The discussion of the necessary gases in winemaking took a sorry bent once Michel Roland?s ?micro-oxing? instructions were bellowed out in Mondovino. The old timers and romantics were already making a come back with their ?earthy wines? and airy winemaking theories. And many took Mondovino for the final judgment on how wine theory and ethics were to reshape the style of the new honest wine on the market.

However, wine theory helps the vintner very little when working in his vineyard or cellar and having to confront himself with nature, the offerings in his garden and defining the next step in agriculture. Trying to make sense of the immediate approach with one?s own produce, be it wine or food, very quickly leads the intelligent grower to disband all theories, listening only to the first hand message of nature, manifested somewhere between the sum of all sensory organs and the brain. This act of confronting the palate with an inner, location specific database, passed on by generations enables the vintner to gain security in his choices. This is to show that wine theory is not for those who are making wine, but for those who are trying to understand its nature from a distance. Winemaking instead is of an immediate and more intuitive nature, resulting often in surprisingly simple conclusions.

But where did the urge for theory originate, at a time when most everything was known already about the winemaking process? Tired of the dominance of technical winemaking terms, the presence of the barrique, the machinery, the yeasts and enzymes and all the other more or less legal ingredients that are finding their way into today?s wine, skepticism about the new science of wine has evolved into a counter fashion driven by strong values and vague theories. But is it possible to destroy the excess of industry with abstract perceptions?

I am afraid not. Taking the ?bad? example and turning it around by 180° does not necessarily result in a ?genuine? winemaking process. Its simply doesn?t make any sense to go back to a pre- Émile Peynaud stage in winemaking, mixing a bit of Roman Empire romanticism, bare feet crushing grapes and a healthy dose of bio-dynamics into a pot for good winemaking. While there is a chance that good ideas are hiding among the fashionable words, this counter fashion fails to recognize the immediacy of grape growing and winemaking, and its most important aspects, the intuitive and artistic precision with which great wines are made.

Here I would like to elaborate on one of these fascinating, though simple aspects of winemaking: Wine is a living being. Wine is breathing and aging just like us!

I am not claiming discovery for this simple observation, but would like to recognize Marco Parusso for the important conclusions he has come to on this subject.

Whereas in most wineries today oxygen is treated as the enemy of wine, the enemy of freshness, and oxidation is perceived as the immediate result of air having come in contact with the precious juice, Marco has made some surprising observations: small amounts of air measured correctly, at a ?digestible? and ?healthy? temperature and environment helps wine in many ways: color, aroma and even texture. Hasty winemaking with the exclusion of air diminishes these three qualities. And this not only after fermentation has taken place, as shown in Mondovino with the ?micro-oxying? trick, but at all stages, from fruit collection to fermentation to bottle aging. All gases exchange elements with liquids, and the stabilizing effects of oxygen on wine and grape juice can be seen, felt and tasted at any stage of winemaking. This is real winemaking and not a theory! Wine that had the chance to acquire oxygen over the entire time while maturing in the cellar, will actually age better and possibly longer, taste creamier and resist larger amounts of air more successfully, once it is poured into a wine glass, releasing pleasing aromas of floral and fruity components true to its origin.

Air is life as much to wine as it is to us. Without air we suffocate, without air everything on earth would wilt, decay and turn to dust. Air helps in the process of maturing and aging not only for us living beings, but it is an important factor in all things of aroma and texture, is key in aging cheeses and maturing meats, and according to Marco?s findings is the prominent definition of wine as well. In wine making oxygen helps relax the berry skins, stabilizes color, encourages natural development of enzymes in the juice which in return help release the aromatic components of wine in the making. Examining wine made without sufficient amounts of air, reveals a weak example of its kind, falling apart quickly, and deprived of life recalling attributes of decay: earthy, moist underbrush, cold, leather, coffee?? .

But how exactly does oxygen relate to the grape juice?

Lets look at the grape first. The central part of the berries? pulp, consists primarily of water, acids and sugars, three rather undistinguishing elements, accounting simply for levels of alcohol and freshness. It is the berry skins instead which carry the nobler and distinguishing elements. Woven into its netting the skin withholds from the evaporating waters key elements from soil and wood of the grape vine itself. The lymphatic juices nurtured by low reaching roots carry mineral elements dissolved in the lower layers of the moist soil and on its long journey to the berry pick up tannins and coloring material imprinting the grape of its varietals character. These substances are later known as lees in the winemaking process, and shall be treated as the noblest part of our wine. Oxygen is key food to the survival of these lees, or natural bacteria, keeping them alive and enhancing the naturally present characteristics of our grapes. Lees hold the key to the character of wine in the making. As living elements they rely on oxygen for a full evolution of their sensory qualities. As long as we keep feeding the lees with oxygen they will stabilize, defend and complete the appearance of our wine.

Ways to achieve this are manifold, and eventually a stylistic choice of the winemaker, but what matters here is that these observations lead to a new approach in winemaking. No longer do we speak here of reductive winemaking, which is so in vogue, but instead should call this process integrational winemaking, for its ability to integrate the correct amount of gases to stabilize the wine.


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