2019 #Lombardia | Bruno Verdi winery, Canneto Pavese
Updated: Jan 7
During my November #winetrip I had only one day, even not a full one, planned for Oltrepo Pavese area visiting. As it was my first time in this wine region, then I had to choose estates carefully to make myself sure I'm on the "best of the bests" side from the beginning, plus I wanted to see different types of wineries, as usual. At the end of that day I've realized that I've got exactly what I wanted, thanks to the Universe. One of two wineries I've visited in #Oltrepo was Bruno Verdi authentic estate with great history and super nice people.
The estate is located on the extremely steep magnificent hills, in the place called Canneto Pavese in Lombardia province. I was lucky it was sunshine at that day, so I was able to enjoy such stunning views to the winery and surrounding vineyards.
By the way, when I've just arrived in the morning, while I was driving up to the hills to the estate for my appointment, I've immediately fell in love with the place and decided to come back to Oltrepo in a spring/summer time for longer period, to dive deeper and enjoy more this magic area.
Bruno Verdi #estate has quite long family's history started in the 18th century when Antonio Verdi from Ducato di Parma moved to live to Oltrepo Pavese. From those times already eight generations are the owners of this family land. First generations here grown mainly agricultural things like cereals, but with third generation Luigi Verdi they started to grow vines for wine production and built the first winery. The family Verdi always had a passion for their land and agriculture. Next generations were Clemente, Alfredo and Bruno, who was the first one bottled #wines with proper label after the war.
Nowadays the estate is run by Paolo Verdi with a support of the whole family, including his very nice wife Enrica, whom I highly appreciate for managing personally my visit. Paolo takes care of everything, starting from #vineyards, where he carefully plants the vines or buys new parcels of the land, to the cellar, where he is constantly improving and perfecting all the important details like doing experiments with different vinification types or changing the barrels. The future of the estate are children of Paolo and Enrica: Jacopo, who studied agriculture and already works in the winery, and Laura, who is now studying oenology.
I like the philosophy of the estate as they takes care of the vines and environment and don't use any chemicals. From 2012 they use only fertilizers based on manure or bio-certified organic substances. Bruno Verdi estate owns about 11 hectares of the vineyards plus buys about 30% grapes for basic wines production. The #harvest is made manually only, I believe it's very hard here as the hills of Olterpo Pavese are super steep. To reduce a level of SO2 in his wines to the lowest possible, Paolo practices selection of the best #grapes already in the vineyards during the harvest, which makes it even more complicated in terms of workload but guarantees better result in the wines.
The #cellar still takes location of the very first winery of Verdi family, it is basically narrow vertical shaped multilayered building and it is becoming a real issue to enlarge the space of the winery as on one side it stands on the edge of the slope with vineyards and on another there are walls of the house and the neighboring buildings.
Unfortunately during my visit in the cellar with #barrels and cement tanks for red wines' ageing there were some construction made by special people arrived right at this day, so it was impossible even to enter there and Enrica showed me fermentation, maturation and remuage parts.
Fermentation is holding in stainless steel tanks with temperature control, the biggest part of the wines are being fermented with indigenous yeasts.
There was one more special equipment's arrival at this day, the filter, which is being rented and comes only on purpose.
Metodo Classico maturation zone is full from bottom to top of several rooms, wine stays here ageing in lees during 42 months, quite a long way.
Thus, if I'm not mistaken with calculations, this Vergomberra vintage 2018 will be released on the market in 2022. Well, let's keep patience and wait.
Metodo Classico Olterpo Pavese DOCG by law can contain minimum 70% of Pinot Nero plus 30% of #Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio grapes and should stay on lees minimum 15 months for non-millesimato and 24 months for millesimato wines. Paolo crafts his Vergomberra from 80% of Pinot Nero plus 20% of Chardonnay grapes and ages it on lees within 42 months, which is almost two times longer resulting in more complex and structured wines.
Pressure measurement tools for sparklings, the principle I've already explained here from Franciacorta experience.
Metodo Classico pure Meunier is the first experiment of the estate with vintage 2015. It's been disgorged in April this year, now is taking rest in the #bottles and will be released soon. The quantity produced is so small (1400 bottles) and chance to try is almost zero. I do hope that this wine will become so good that Paolo would start crafting more volume in future, so we would have at least a small chance to buy it outside of Italy.
Love this one, ceramic small tank, where Riesling Renano this year vintage 2019 from special parcel called "Vigna Costa" is being matured. As Enrica explained, this is also Paolo's experiment, first time usage of ceramic tank for Riesling maturation. This particular one was initially rented to check how it will be going and, seems, Paolo liked the quality very much, so now he thinks to buy it to use permanently.
These two are rather weird ones, I've never saw such type of maturation #tanks before. They are made fully of epoxy resin, same material which is being used as thin layer inside of modern cement tanks for making them totally inert. Same Riesling vintage 2019 is fermenting here, I believe it's another part of that experiment with oval shaped cement tank. Let's see, I'm now very curious to try these Rieslings when they will be released on the market. By the way the estate owns about 2 hectares of #Riesling, so this wine would be hard to find though.
Remuage is always a beautiful process, but rose is absolutely my fave because of color. The bottles of rose looks sooo beautiful and stylish in pupitres, like no others.
Remuage is being made manually (of course) by Jacopo.
In the showroom the estate's "history in the bottles" is carefully kept.
Super old wines produced by Alfredo, Paolo's grandpa, and Bruno, the dad. Madorlato Paradiso produced somewhere in 40s of the last century, the name means kind of Almond Paradise, very poetic, the grapes inside are traditional and typical for Oltrepo Pavese zone like #Bonarda, Croatina, Uva Rara.
A bit more modern than 40s but still quite old like 1967, 1977, 1985 vintages shows evolution of Bruno Verdi estate in the winemaking of the area.
The most recent ones, current line up of the winery. I like still wines labels' design by the way.
I was able to taste a couple of wines, so pity as Enrica had to run and we had no more time, but she was so kind to made a precious gift to me - a bottle of perfect #Barbera, which I still carefully keep in my home cellar, hoping to open it for a special occasion (no idea how long I would wait for that and, if you're reading this like after a couple of years of the original date of this article, then it would have been most probably already drunk).
Oltrepo Pavese DOCG Metodo Classico Vergomberra Vintage 2015 Extra Brut
Grapes: Pinot Nero 80%, Chardonnay 20%
Vinification: alcoholic fermentation in stainless steel
Ageing: 15% in oak barriques for 6 months, 85% in stainless steel; 42 months on lees
Nose: brioche, seashell, green pineapple, lime zest
Palate: crispy, fresh, complex
Previous vintage of this wine (2014) took well-known 2 bicchieri of Gambero Rosso 2020 plus some others local Italian awards, and I have no doubt why it is rated so good. The wine in beautiful, rich, multilayered and crispy, fresh and keeping some #citrus aromas mixed with perfectly-baked-brioche and butter flavours as a result of 42 months ageing on lees. Dosage 5 gr/l is well balanced by high acidity, the wine has a good structure thanks to Pinot Nero, but 20% of Chardonnay definitely gives it a slightly delicate round touch. Don't miss this one, if you could find it in your wineshop then grab it. Lovely metodo classico, a great alternative to common sparklings you would probably got used to.
Oltrepo Pavese DOC Rosso Riserva Cavariola Vintage 2016
Grapes: Croatina 55%, Barbera 25%, Ughetta di Canneto 10%, Uva rara 10%
Alcohol: 16% (this is not a typo, it is really 16)
Vinification: alcoholic fermentation around 25 days in tonneau with manual punching down
Ageing: 20 months in oak barriques, 8 months in cement, min 10 months in bottle
Nose: bramble, cloves, cigar box, black tea leaves
Palate: rich texture, velvety tannins, spicy
Cavariola is the most significant cru of the estate, it is located in Comune di Broni, the size of the vineyard is about 1,5 hectares where all four #grape varieties are being grown, the oldest vines are of around 70 y.o. This wine, of course, has a super special treatment like fermentation in oak during 25 days with punching down made by Paolo manually everyday, the wine is non filtered so it keeps original texture and complexity. Acidity is quite high, tannins are rich and powerful, resulting in superb longevity. Such high alcohol is integrated and balanced so great, that you don't feel it at all, awesome job. I've had similar experience with 16% #wine only once with one special Georgian wine, rare case though. The production of Cavariola is very limited, just about 4500 bottles per year, so if you'll see it anywhere on shelf or in the winecard, don't think just take. Gorgeous wine, absolutely worth the highest attention.
Again many thanks to kind Enrica for finding the time, managing my visit and having interesting conversations. Next time I'm in Oltrepo area, I would be glad to come back.