Cascina Degli Ulivi, Piemonte
Cascina Degli Ulivi in the words of owner Stefano Bellotti:
‘We are a farm with 20 ha of vineyards, cereals, animals, B&B and a restaurant using exclusively biodynamic and organic products, mainly coming from our farm.
We have been practising biodynamic agriculture for 30 years now and we consider the soil as a living organism belonging to the cycle of every living thing; we promote soils health and in turn the plants produce excellent fruit. The soil is nourished by green manure using pulses, cruciferous and graminaceous plants with up to 30 different species. Treatment sprays are limited to the use of sulphur and bordeaux mixture in very limited quantity (about 2 Kg of copper per hectare, per year) and, of course, biodynamic preparations. We strive to make wines that are the true expression of the vintage, the terroir and the personality of the person behind them. The grapes are harvested by hand in baskets; pressing is soft and fermentation takes place naturally, without using any oenological additives (yeasts, enzymes, fining agents). Wines ferment in big wooden barrels. We do not carry out any fining; we just lightly filter when bottling. The total sulphur content is low because we don’t add any. The yield per hectare averages 6 tons’
‘The Bellotti Rosso is a “vino da tavola” blend of mostly Barbera and Dolcetto, hand harvested and fermented in large oak “botti” and bottles with minimal sulphur. The wine is fresh and lively bursting with dark berry flavours. Very deep youthful purple/garnet colour. Big nose of prunes, river stones, blackberries, dark chocolate, and a touch of brown spices. In the mouth, the wine is smooth, round and fruity with a nicely balanced acid/tannin structure, and a crunchy, pulpy texture with vivid flavours of red plums and faded roses. Beautiful ripe strawberry fruit on the tart finish. A solid and honest wine and if it doesn’t actually beg for food it certainly puts in a polite request for it.’ Doug Wregg
Clean, enticing nose with ripe red berry character, the palate is sweetly fruited and soft, showing lovely ripeness and real energy. Tensed, very well balanced, the ripe, juicy fruit flavours linger on its dry, fresh finish.
‘This blend of Barbera (usually 50-60%) and Dolcetto is vibrant, juicy and bursting with Barbera’s characteristic sour cherry tartness, along with a delicious smoky finish that is reminiscent of the succulence of jamón bellota. The first sniff I took brought me back over ten years to a month spent in Piemonte where this kind of unpretentious, simple, but utterly delicious wine was served as a foil to the hearty and rich food of the Langhe hills. It is bursting with fresh blueberry, damson and sour maraschino cherry fruit. It is bone dry, full of life and vibrancy and has a palate-cleansing astringency that means it just demands to be glugged with abandon. Quirky, authentic and a real vino per gli amici. Would be great to share over a plate of charcuterie, cheese and good prosciutto.’ Claire O’Boyle-Gallagher