Located in the south of Milano in Lombardy, northern Italy, north-south-facing valleys running from the plain of the river Po in the south to the foothills of the Apennines in the north, combining Liguria’s Mediterranean climate with the continental climate of the Pianura Padana, form an ideal environment for excellent Metodo Classico sparkling wines and elegant still wines from Pinot Nero (3,200 ha), Croatina (4,000 ha), Barbera (3,000 ha), Riesling, Uva Rara, Ughetta/Vespolina, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Cortese Bianco, Moscato, Malvasia, and Müller-Thurgau.


Embracing 13,500 ha of vineyards, the Oltrepò Pavese is Italy’s fourth biggest indication of origin and its biggest producer of Pinot Nero, with approximately 3,200 ha planted to the variety. This makes the Land beyond the Po Europe’s third biggest producer of the variety.


The Oltrepò Pavese with its 440 km of hills and elevations between 150 and 500 metres, represents an extremely high biodiversity heritage, both nationally and internationally. There are basically two morphological zones that characterise the Oltrepò: the soils of the lower hill zone (150 – 350 m), made up of marine sedimentary rocks with a significant clay component and the higher ones of chalky origin (350 – 500 m).


Situated on the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator just like Bordeaux and Oregon, the Oltrepò Pavese is home to some of the world’s finest wines.


The region’s flagship wines are sparkling wines named Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG, with the highest quality indication awarded in 2007. These elegant and state-of-the-art wines are made from a minimum of 70% Pinot Nero, as the sole star or accompanied by a maximum of 30% Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Bianco. If the variety Pinot Nero is to be mentioned on the label, the cuvée must contain at least 85% of the noble variety. A minimum of 15 months ageing on the lees in the bottle is required for the standard Metodo Classico, whereas the wine must spend at least 24 months on the lees to be labelled “millesimato”, a vintage sparkling wine.


Most of the Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG wines rest on the lees for 30 months and you will easily find wines that have been aged on the lees for 60 months and more. Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG is available in the following types: Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG, Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG rosé, Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG Pinot Nero, Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG Pinot Nero rosé, and Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG Cruasé. The latter describing an Oltrepò Pavese Metodo Classico DOCG rosé millesimato with a minimum ageing of 24 months on the lees, available as Brut and Brut Nature (Dosaggio Zero).


In addition to the DOCG, there are seven DOCs in the region, namely Bonarda dell’Oltrepò Pavese, Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepò Pavese, Casteggio, Oltrepò Pavese Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero dell’Oltrepò Pavese (2010), Sangue di Giuda dell’Oltrepò Pavese, and Oltrepò Pavese (1970) as well as one IGT, named Provincia di Pavia.


Bonarda dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC wine isa slightly fizzy fruity red wine made of Croatina (min. 85%), Vespolina and/or Uva Rara (max. 15%).


Buttafuoco (fire-breather) dell’Oltrepò Pavese consists of the indigenous varieties Barbera (25-65%), Croatina (25-65%), Vespolina and/or Uva Rara (max. 45%). It is ruby red with violet reflections, turning to garnet with age. The wine offers pronounced aromas of violets, red berries, and cooked prunes accompanied by chocolate, juniper, sweet bay, and other tertiary characteristics. It is complex and well-structured with a great balance between its broad body and high acidity. Its soft tannins and high extract carry the wine through to a long finish.


The wines produced in Oltrepò Pavese are varied, catering to everyone’s taste on any occasion, offering the perfect fit to accompany the region’s delicious food. In addition to top-quality sparkling wines, young and fruity red wines as well as complex red wines with several years of ageing, there are vibrant white wines made from Riesling Italico and Renano or aromatic white wines from Muscat, Malvasia, and Müller-Thurgau. To round off the range and every meal, Sangue di Giuda dell’Oltrepò Pavese, a sweet red wine with distinctively low alcohol, vibrant acidity, and fruity aromas is the right choice.


Oltrepò has a great story to tell and a legacy to leave to the world.


As is known by the writings of the Roman author and philosopher Pliny the Elder (AD 23 – AD 79), viticulture in the Oltrepò Pavese stretches back to ancient times. Even earlier, around 40 BC, the Greek geographer and historian Strabone (64/63 BC – AD 24) mentioned Oltrepò Pavese as a region of “good wine, hospitable people, and very big wooden barrels”.


More than 2,000 years later, the quality of the wine is excellent, the people are very welcoming, while stainless steel tanks, concrete eggs, amphora, and Giro Pallets stand alongside big wooden barrels in the cellars.


The first references to grape vines like Pinot Nero cultivated in the Oltrepò region, date back to the 16th century when the variety was called Pineolo, Pignolo Gentile or Pignolo Grappolato. The “real” Pinot Nero aka Pinot Noir, however, originates from France and arrived on the Italian side of the Alps in the 19th century.


In 1850, Conte Augusto Giorgio di Vistarino planted the first Pinot Noir shoots imported from Burgundy. 15 years later, the Count produced the first Metodo Classico sparkling wine in Rocca de’Giorgi from the first fruits of the Pinot Nero vineyards.


Another important date that brought another “first” is 1848 when Domenico Mazza di Codevilla created the Champagnotta, a bottle stable enough to deal with the high pressure of Metodo Classico sparkling wine (approximately 6 bar), which equals the pressure in a truck tire.


In 1907, at the same time when the Cantine Sociali dell'Oltrepò Pavese was founded, oenologist Pietro Riccadonna brought to live the Italian Wine-Maker Society of Casteggio, called Società Vinicola Italiana di Casteggio (SVIC). Riccadonna was joined by fellow wine-maker Angelo Ballabio, to whom the Duke of Aosta, Emanuele Filiberto, awarded the "Proveditore delle Real Casa" label in 1931, with the authorisation to wear the ducal insignia. Riccadonna coined the slogan "What is life if the wine doesn't sparkle?”. This catchy phrase accompanied the promotion of the sparkling wines produced in Casteggio, which were already exported to the United States of America at the beginning of the 19th century.


With the festive season just around the corner, Oltrepò Pavese is the perfect indication of origin to choose, offering the ideal match for every course of a festive Christmas meal and the region’s Metodo Classico is the fanciest sparkling wine to celebrate New Year’s Eve and to start 2024 in style.


Cin Cin to a marvellous New Year! "What is life if the wine doesn't sparkle?"


#oltrepopavese, #pinotnero, #vinoitaliano, #bollicine, #sparklingwine, #bolle, #ballabio, #champagnotta, #castellodistefanago, #stefanomilanesi, #docgoltrepo, #docoltrepo, #lombardia, #cincin, #wset, #wsetglobal, #sommelier, #asi, #wineoclock, #inwinewetrust, #viniitaliani, # italianwine, #wineisfine







Al di là del Fiume is located within the Bolognese Hills and the Regional Park Monte Sole in the south of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna. It is part of the Apennine Mountain municipality Marzabotto, which was the scene of the bloodiest Nazi massacre in Italy. In 1944 at least 770 civilians were killed by the Nazi troops. Al die là del Fiume is inspired by the idea that crisis can become an opportunity.


Danila and Gabriele restored the abandoned buildings and land, on which Gabriele’s father and grandfather had formerly worked, some years ago. Both see themselves as custodians of the land they live and work on. Together with a team of people, who share the same spirit and love for nature and human beings, they run the Azienda Agricola Biodinamica Al di là del Fiume (Biodynamic farm Beyond the River).


The farm consists of about 27 hectares of land with three ha of vineyard, 1000 m2 of vegetable garden, 1000 m2 of orchard, and 1 ha of ancient wheat. Biodynamic agriculture was immediately adopted, but Dani and Gabri go further “We believe that a new way of respecting the land, plants and animals is needed: it is the principle of care.”


Only local and autochthonous varieties are grown: Grechetto Gentile, Albana, Montuni, and Barbera. “Local grapes are familiar with the climate and soil, they well adapted to the local weather conditions, and therefore less prone to diseases and damages,” Danila explains.


“We dedicate ourselves to cultivating and producing food for life and to preserve the soil for generations to come, respecting ourselves, others, and nature.”


The Pet Nat “Birichen!”, meaning it is a must-have: 100% Grechetto Gentile grapes fermented in stainless steel tanks, refermented in the bottle with its own sugars and yeasts.

Dagamò: Barbera grapes fermented on the skins in 8 hl Tuscan terracotta amphorae with post-fermentation maceration of three to four months. This long maceration and gentle micro-oxidation in the amphorae add to the wine’s elegant smooth tannins as well as to its concentration, minerality, and longevity. The Apennine climate and the clay soils support the wine’s freshness, its vivid acidity that balances its tannin and thus, adds to its overall elegance.

There is another Barbera called Saramat with a shorter maceration time of 20 days, resulting in a fresher, lighter, but very characteristic style of the variety.   

Fricandò: This wine is made from Albana, a thick-skinned Bolognese grape variety, macerated on the skins for ten days. In addition to extracting more colour pigments and aroma compounds, the maceration also helps to extract the phenolics from the grape skins, which are typical for the variety.   


The result is an amber-colored wine, with hints of ripe autumn fruit such as persimmon, apple, medlar, and citrus aromas. On the palate, the complexity of flavour is accompanied by a precise phenolic structure, adding texture and body to the wine.

Zirudèla: With Albana as the leading grape, this cuvée is rounded off by Grechetto Gentile and Montuni. The Albana grapes undergo whole cluster maceration in stainless steel. This technique allows the natural yeasts to develop a remarkable amount of floral and blossom aromas, while the stalks enhance the acidity and add some sort of ‘crunchiness’ to the wine. Furthermore, the aromas are concentrated.


The idea behind this wine is to create an accessible, pleasant, and fragrant white wine with a light structure and vivid acidity that can be paired with many first courses, fish, vegetables, and white meats.


At Al di là del Fiume, hospitality is very important, creative, and vivid. Whether you just visit for a tasting, like to enjoy a delicious meal at their Osteria or even want to prolong your stay overnight at the guest house.


“Anything you can do, or dream, you can do - start it. Courage has genius, power, and magic in it. It begins now.” Danila and Gabriele


#Naturalwinemaking, #naturalwine, #albana, #biodynamicfarming, #biodynamicwine, #summa23, #aloislageder, #collibolognesi, #bolognavino, #vino, #vinoitalia, #Raisin, #vinonaturale, #vinonaturaleitaliano, #barberawine, #barbera, #Rebekka Gruber, #translanguage, #wineoclock, #winetasting, #winelover, #wsetdiploma, #wsetdipl, #WSETGlobal


                                                                                       WHEN NOTHING IS DONE, NOTHING IS LEFT UNDONE (Lao Tzu)


"Wine develops by itself if you just let it. Only then does it tell its true story. A story of clayey soil, warm days under the Tuscan sun, and chilly nights cooled by refreshing breezes from the sea." Ruedi Gerber, the owner of Sequerciani, describes his approach on chaperoning grapes on their way to becoming unique characterful wines.
At Sequerciani, a biodynamic farm located near Gavorrano, in the Tuscan Maremma, approximately 15 kilometres from the Thyrrenian Sea, 12 hectares of vines are grown.
"We want to listen to the wine’s true story. We let things happen. It is a pure appreciation that engages the senses with what comes from nothing but the sun, the earth, and the grapes."
Indigenous ancient varieties such as Foglia Tonda, Pugnitello, Ciliegiolo, Vermentino, Sangiovese, and Aleatico build the base for dry red, white and rosé still wines as well as a wild sparkling Pet Nat, a deliciously sweet wine, and Grappa.
Vermentino grapes are vinified into a fruity, floral, fresh, and saline cloudy white wine as well as into the golden more intense Vermet’oro that ferments in cement together with the grape marc. Maturation takes place in amphorae, acacia, and chestnut barrels. Ripe yellow fruit, i.e., apricot, orange peel, bitter orange, alongside chamomile, Mediterranean macchia, chalk, and saline notes accompany the wine through to a long finish.
Visit this quiet and beautiful place in the Maremma for a wine or olive oil tasting, enjoy the stunning views, or book your stay in one of Sequerciani's marvellous villas.




I am happy to share some of my special encounters and discoveries of this year's Summa 2023:


Carla Benini and Edoardo Ventimglia with their daughter Francesca, who left behind busy business lives to realise their dream of working outdoors by revitalising abandoned vineyard land and restoring a neglected house in the surroundings of Pitigliano: thus, Sassotondo was born.


They research and experiment meticulously to treat their soils, vines, and grapes respectfully and in the best manner. This effort pays off, resulting in pure, authentic, and expressive wines. Just two mention two examples from their terrific portfolio:


Poggio Pinzo Ciliegiolo 2019, Maremma DOC - a red wine that combines the findings from the effects of different winemaking techniques on the autochthonous Ciliegiolo grape and research on the volcanic soils from the Poggio Pinzo Volcano. Fermented and vinified on the skins for eleven months in terracotta vessels, the wine offers pronounced intensity on the nose and palate. Sour cherry, cassis, macchia, earthy notes, and flint are accompanied by smooth luscious tannins and bright acidity, bringing the wine to a long minerality-driven finish.


Greco Numero Dieci, Toskana IGT - an orange wine from white Greco grapes macerated on the skins for up to seven months. The high acidity and powerful phenolic structure of the Greco grapes are perfectly suited for long skin contact times, as the rather reluctant aroma compounds can be extracted and even mingle to form new aromas. Furthermore, the texture and structure of the wine as well as its colour changes, while some extra time in barriques helps to soften the phenols of the wine. This golden wine with amber reflections provides a broad mouthfeel with a delicate texture. It offers pronounced aromas of quince, dried apricots, and mango, accompanied by cinnamon and Mediterranean herbs, carrying the wine through to a long vivid finish with some herbal notes lingering.


#maremma, #maremmatoscana, #ciliegiolo, #naturalwine, #biodiversity, #vignaioliindipendenti, #winetasting#winoclock, #sommlife, #wsetglobal, #translanguage, #orangewine, #amberwine

                                                                                        VIENI VIA CON ME 


At this year's Summa 2023, I also met Rocco Toscani of Azienda Agricola Toscani and had the pleasure of tasting his wines.


At Toscani, an organic farm some kilometres north of Bolgheri (Tuscany), Rocco and his family not only grow vines and olives, but they also breed Quarter horses, Cinta Senese pigs, and homing pigeons and rent out beautiful holiday homes immersed in the hills of Bibiona, with the sea in sight.


They grow Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Greco, Teroldego, and Petit Manseng. In the cellar, Rocco and his team combine tradition and know-how, accompanying the grapes on their journey to becoming unique characters.


The wines have special names, such as Vedomare, LolÍ, Lumeo, and veni via con me. Not only do the wines themselves tell stories, but also the etiquettes and names of the wines do. They are, for example, dedicated to Rocco's children, Luce and Romeo, or represent a reminiscence of the first Appaloosa horse, imported to Italy by Rocco's father from America by aeroplane.


My favorite wine "vieni via con me.", first and foremost, reminds me of the extraordinary Paolo Conte, but according to Rocco, it stands for a love story, a journey, and life itself, symbolising an invitation to become part of the Toscani family.


You just need to accept the invitation!


vieni via con me. IGT Costa Toscana Rosso is a pure Cabernet Franc. After 20 days of maceration on its skins, it ferments in stainless steel tanks. It ages in French oak tonneaux for 12 months, before resting in bottle for another 12 months.


The olfactory profile recalls aromas of red currants, dark berries and prune, accompanied by hints of aromatic herbs from the Mediterranean macchia along with delicate spicy and toasted nuances. The palate is structured, with complex aromas and a very smooth tannic texture, leading the wine to a harmonious and persistent finish.



#wineoclock#sommlife#vinitoscani#cabernetfranc#bolgheri#italianwine#italianwinelover#vinitaliani, #paoloconte


                                                                                          AUF DEN SPUREN DES WEINS 

                                                                                                                         EINE REISE DURCH IRAN, GEORGIEN & SYRIEN ZU BACCHUS & DIONYSOS  


Die Weintraube ist die erste Frucht, die von Menschen kultiviert wurde. Sie wurden vor allem aufgrund ihres hohen Zuckergehaltes, ihres Geschmacks und der Vielseitigkeit geschätzt. Wie heute, wurden sie frisch gegessen oder zu Rosinen getrocknet, zu Saft gepresst, zu Wein fermentiert oder destilliert.


Die Rebe gehört zu den ältesten Kulturpflanzen der Erde. Wilder Wein wächst seit mehr als 80 Millionen Jahren, wie Fossilienfunde belegen. Die ersten Spuren von Weinbau führen uns ins heutige Syrien. Dort wurde das älteste Weinrelikt überhaupt gefunden: eine Traubenpresse. Sie wird auf 8.000 vor Christus datiert. 


Die älteste Kelteranlage der Menschheit befindet sich in den Bergen des Iran. Man geht davon aus, dass sie 7.000 Jahre ist. Somit liegen die Wurzeln des Weinbaus durch Menschen in Mesopotamien. Schon damals scheint Wein regen Zuspruch gefunden zu haben. Der Weinbau breitete sich schnell aus und gelangte von hier in den Irak und nach Georgien.  


Am Rande des Kaukasus, im heutigen Georgien, konservierten Menschen Wein in Tongefäßen, die sie in der Erde vergruben. Es existieren Amphoren, die mehr als 6.000 Jahre alt sind.


Im antiken Persien erlangte Wein um 2.500 vor Christus große Aufmerksamkeit, nachdem sich Folgendes zugetragen hatte: Der König hatte Trauben im Keller eingelagert, die anfingen zu gären. Für diesen Vorgang machte der König böse Geister verantwortlich, die die Trauben vergiftet hätten. Die Gemahlin des Königs, aufgrund von schwerer Migräne von Selbstmordgedanken geplagt, kostete die gärenden Trauben. Als sie daraufhin in bester Stimmung, frei von Kopfschmerzen, zurück zu ihrem Gatten kam, war der Grundstein für den Erfolg des Weins in Persien gelegt. 


Der Erfolgszug des Weins setzte sich fort. Wein erreichte Kreta, wo die Wiege des europäischen Weinbaus steht. Funde belegen, dass schon 1.600 vor Christus auf der griechischen Insel professionell Wein angebaut wurde. Die Griechen wurden zu Pionieren des 'modernen' Weinbaus. Sie bauten ihre Reben in parallelen Reihen an, richteten sie nach Wind und Sonne aus und führten bereits vor 2.400 Jahren das erste Weingesetz auf der Insel Thasos ein. Hier war der Handel mit Trauben, Most und Wein reglementiert, die Herkunft musste mit Stempeln kenntlich gemacht werden und sogar die Besteuerung war geregelt.


Die Römer betrieben bereits in Etrurien Weinbau, importierten darüber hinaus Wein und Weinwissen aus Griechenland. Bald wurde nahezu überall im Römischen Reich Wein angebaut. Während die Griechen ihrem Weingott Dionysos huldigten, tranken die Römer auf Bacchus, Dionysos' römisches Pendant. Die Römer verfassten zahlreiche Schriften zu den Themen Wein und Weinbau. Rebsorten wurden erforscht, ihre Eigenschaften protokolliert. Die Vor- und Nachteile unterschiedlicher klimatischer Bedingungen und die Eignung unterschiedlicher Anbaugebiete erfasst. Nahezu alle modernen Kellertechniken gehen auf die Römer zurück. Sie sprachen Wein zudem heilende und stärkende Wirkung zu und sorgten für dessen weitere Verbreitung. Sie waren es auch, die den Weinbau am Rhein und in der Wachau etablierten. 


Während in Frankreich der Weinbau schon in der Antike blühte, verbreiteten sich die Reben entlang des Rheins und an der Mosel besonders in den letzten beiden Jahrhunderten vor Christi Geburt.


#weingeschichte, #wein, #geschichte, #georgien, #roemer, #griechenland, #etrusker, #winehistory, #wineintime, #bacchus, #dionysos, #syrien, #weinentdecken 



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