MONTE DALL’ORA, San Pietro in Cariano Biodynamic
Carlo & Alessandra 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.
Ripasso wine has been traditional in the Veneto for a long time. The best young Valpolicella is put into tanks or barrels that still contain the lees of the wine for which they were previously used. When mixed with the young wine, active yeast cells in this sediment precipitate a second fermentation increasing the alcoholic content and giving the wine a bitter-sweet character as well as a smooth chocolatey texture. The grapes that make this wine come from southerly exposed 30 year old vines. Traditional vinification techniques and the use of 308 gallon cherry wood oak barrels, in which the wine ages for 24 months, confer intense ripe morello cherry flavours and plummy mouthfeel.
“Very pure Morello cherry fruit flavours, very appealing on the nose. Dry, sweetly fruited, yet savoury and elegantly lean. Firm tannins and fresh acidity. Very well balanced, fresh and delicious”