MONTE DALL’ORA, San Pietro in Cariano Biodynamic
Carlo & Alesandra Venturini
When Alesandra and Carlo Venturini first discovered Monte dall’Ora it was love at first sight. As children of farmers, they were excited and challenged by the hard work it was going to take to restore these ancient vineyards. Located in Castelroto, in the hills outside of Verona, the vineyards of Monte dall’Ora are planted on a base of limestone soil and form a natural amphitheatre facing southeast towards the city. In fact, portions of their vineyards are planted on ancient dry stone terraces called marogna, a design in which large stones form the exterior support structure and smaller stones form a spit of land in the interior. This brittle stone, in which fossils and petrified shells can be found, allows for
excellent drainage and deep penetration of the vines.
The Venturinis are firm adherents to biodynamic principles. As such, they encourage the growth of biodiversity by planting
herbs such as rosemary and lavender in the summer, whose fragrant blooms are attractive to bees; and sowing cereals in the winter, whose roots move and aerate the soil. In addition, Alessandra and Carlo have emphasized traditional and native grape varieties wherever possible to give originality and typical wines.
The Venturinis approach biodynamic agriculture with becoming modesty and curiosity, their daily work governed by the
nature’s rhythms. They adopt measures in the vineyard to help preserve the fertility of the land and the development of
micro-organisms, which means that the roots of plants find useful materials in the soil to resist disease and parasitic
attack. “Knowledge and respect for natural cycles help us to find the balance that give us a state of well being and that will benefit our whole microcosm (soil-vine-wine-man)”.
All the wines are blends of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara and Oseleta. Fermentation is spontaneous with
indigenous yeasts and extraction is gentle giving wines of gentle, cherry-fruited elegance.
The slightly porty Amarone is made from half-shrivelled grapes, chewy plums, bitter cherries, mocha coffee and what Oz Clarke describes rather well as “bruised sourness”. The grapes are sourced from various sites with an average altitude of 300 metres and dried in a south-facing breeze-cooled drying loft in small wooden crates, eventually pressed towards the end of February. The cold winter temperatures, the long period of fermentation on the skins (over a month) and the use of wood during vinification encourage the development of the wine’s unique aromas. “Aromas of freshly grated coconut (of all things!), nutmeg and sweet spices. Very sweet Morello cherry fruit on the nose. Dry, then, on the palate, full-bodied, with a sense of freshness making the wine feel lighter on the finish. Well-balanced.”