Turning on to the drive leading up to the Riofavara Vineyards in Val di Noto, the first thing you notice is all the plant and animal life thriving around you. The biodiversity on the vineyard is evident from the gate, butterflies abundant and flora in full bloom. Massimo Padova and his family have been growing vines for generations but only began bottling their own juice in 1993.
Founder, David Lett, began Eyrie Vineyards on a hunch and a dream. Destined for dentistry, David followed a different path after visiting a few California wineries while stationed in San Francisco for the Coast Guard. He was the first to plant Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in the Willamette Valley, becoming a benchmark to rival some of the best Burgundy.
Grape Collective talks with Marco Nicolosi of Barone di Villagrande about the family's unique place in the evolution of the Etna wine region and the particular suitability of the terroir to producing elegant expressions of Etna Bianco.
Matetic Vineyards is located in Chile's El Rosario Valley, a sub-valley of the larger San Antonio Valley, just a stone's throw from the Pacific Ocean. The Matetic family, originally from Croatia, arrived in Chile 100 years ago and found success as sheep and dairy farmers. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that they expanded into the wine business with the purchase of the estate. The family saw the potential of making great wines in an area of predominantly granitic soils despite the frequently challenging maritime weather conditions.
“Chile’s cool Pacific coast is really extreme,” says Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Contributing Editor for South America. “It’s windy, dry, foggy, rugged and yet somehow represents a modern western frontier for Chilean winemakers and wineries who want to push limits and produce something particular and different than traditional Cabernets and such.”
Matetic Vineyards, certified organic since 2004 and Demeter-certified biodynamic since 2012, is considered a pioneer of Chile's cool-climate Syrah but also produces solid examples of other varieties including Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. We spoke with Julio Bastias...
- Certification protects the consumer from dubious marketing claims (clean wine), as well as importers who are reliant on the honesty of their producers but does it go far enough? The next task must be a social contract between winery owners and their staff and communities for fair working conditions.
- "In the year 2007, I fell in love with Masanobu Fukuoka and I decided to add to the agriculture of not doing. The agriculture of not doing is not working. It is just the not impacting with nature, allowing nature to do its own job."
- "Wine must be loved not because our life depends on it, but because it makes it more pleasant, more intense, more interesting." Roberta Bricolo, Gorgo Winery
- "...we can offer a kind of new proposal of wines, offering new varieties because the indigenous varieties from Umbria are almost unknown in the shadow of the big Tuscany wines or maybe other wines from Italy. So for many reasons Umbria is really interesting." Luca Baccarelli
- "After Mr. Llach started to live in Porrera, he decided to do something for the town and that’s how Vall Llach, the social project, was born. He and my father started this project only to help the people in town." Winemaker Albert Costa
- RAW WINE fairs are returning to North America in November! This is your chance to meet, taste and learn from the people and bottles that in many ways define our cultural moment in wine.