__Town of Barolo
Tanaro River Imports
Natural wine from Alsace
Last May, Florian Beck-Hartweg joined our winemakers from the Piemonte and Tuscan regions of Italy for weekend of fun, food and wine in La Morra. One of the indelible moments (which repeated itself quite often!), was watching Florian get on his hands and knees in the vineyards to inspect and taste (yes, taste) the soil of his Italian counter-parts! Florian, along with parents Michel and Yvette, share the philosophy that great wines aren't made in the cellar but in vineyards. I recently asked Florian Beck-Hartweg to share the processes by which all of his wines are made and I share it with you below. I hope you enjoy the read and I hope you enjoy the wines. I'm sure that Florian would be delighted to answer any questions you might have about his process.
Fermentation and aging is completed only in old oak casks, that doesn't give any taste (casks are 100 years old or so..!). We wish to give some oxygenation to our wines, but no oak taste, that's why we keep our old casks. That is true for all our wines, including our Pinot Noir. Fermentation with natural yeasts, and absolutely no other addition in the wine than SO2, in small quantity of course. But for me, the vinification is not the most important part of the process: my aim is only to preserve the character and the quality of the grapes. So the most important for me is the work in the vineyards: this will give the character to the grapes, and then to the wine.
We follow the organic chart: absolutely no chemic products in the vineyards. Absolutely no fertilisation (not chemical, neither organic) because I think that if the soil is healthy, microorganisms are able to give to the vineyards what it needs. To enhance life in our soils, we intervene as little as possible, in order to let the biodiversity intact: We don't plough completely, just aerate a little bit in spring without taking off the grass. Then we let the grass grow without mowing: if you mow, you select 1 or 2 varieties, without mowing you preserve over 60 different types of plants (grass, flowers, etc..). Historically, we just mowed once in a year, however, this year for the first time, we didn't mowed at all! We have a new method that that permits us to lay the grass on the soil by basically putting a crease in the grass. And the result is great for many reasons: more biodiversity, better respect of the soil and less fuel consumption because we only drive one time with the tractor, better protection against erosion. So thanks to all this our soil is very healthy and permits the roots to go deeper, and the soil feeds the vineyard. That is for me the best method to express the caracter of the terroir in the wines, especially given that our soil is laden with granite.
The "costs" of this method are two-fold: First, as you can imagine, it is very labor intensive. At the same time, this process conduct to a lower vigor of the vineyards, which means lower yield. In addition to the ecological benefits (smaller "carbon footprint", no poisoning of the environment), we enjoy many benefits. With smaller yields the flavors are more concentrated and over all very healthy grapes. By promoting biodiversity, we achieve better resistance against diseases and rotting. So when all this is done, it is very easy to spray less and only with natural products (sulfur, cupper and home made plants extracts).
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