Image via the International Organic Wine Awards website.
Now in its fourth year, the International Organic Wine Awards have rapidly become one of the world’s most high-profile wine tasting events.
Based in Germany, the event’s tasting panel employs a newly developed scoring system that aims for “more transparency and flexibility in wine evaluation.”
We are thrilled to share the news that Pievalta 2012 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore received 95 out of 100 points (gold medal).
And Barone Pizzini NV Franciacorta Brut (the winery’s entry-tier label) received a whopping 98 out of 100 points.
To learn more about this unique event and how it is reshaping the way that wine is evaluated and scored, click here.
And click here for all the award winners and the complete list of scores.
Above: Last year, the ancient monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa in Franciacorta was the site of a conference devoted to the effects of pesticides on the health of residents in farming communities.
As winery manager Marta Piovani put it in an email to me yesterday, “the monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa is an ancient one and our winery is relatively young. But we have something in common: respect for the environment.”
In October 2012, the beautiful 11th century monastery – which sits at the edge of a marsh in the same township where Barone Pizzini is located, Provaglio d’Iseo — hosted a conference devoted to the ill effects of pesticides in commercial farming.
The monastery’s support of this cause aligns with the winery’s mission: to improve the quality of wine and to protect the farming community to which it belongs by farming organically, without the use of chemicals.
Not only does Barone Pizzini farm organically, but its mission (and that of its sister winery, Pievalta, in the Marches) is also to promote awareness — through its wines and approach to viticulture — of the harm that chemicals can do to a farming community.
So if you’re heading to Franciacorta this weekend for wine tasting, please stop first at the monastery to explore one of the great monuments of Franciacorta and a wholehearted supported of a chemical-free farming community.
Wine writer Kyle Phillips wrote an excellent post on the monastery a few years ago for About.com.
The latest installment in our continuing series of posts featuring “Darrell Corti on Franciacorta.”
The Franciacorta area is quite pretty.
Seen from Monte Alto, it appears to be a mosaic of different agricultures with blotches of modern life showing up in the form of industrial complexes with their rather graceless forms of concrete and asphalt.
Vines have been here since prehistory. Roman authors had already praised the area’s vines and due to the great influence of various monastic centers, Franciacorta has had a long tradition of grape growing and wine making.
Two areas, Cellatica and Botticino, at the south-eastern end of Franciacorta, were some of the first appellations recognized in the late 1960s by the then newly established Italian system of DOC controls. They both form part of Franciacorta’s territory, but have their own appellations.
Towards the middle of the 1800s, a famous wine the “bordo magher” (Bordeaux magro), sold by nobles having vineyards in Franciacorta, was nothing other than an unblended Cabernet Franc wine.
To anyone used to seeing different vine growing areas, usually a monoculture as in Burgundy or Bordeaux — even the Rhine region — Franciacorta appears quite different.
There are extension of vineyards, but not enormous expanses. The entire viticultural area of Franciacorta is less than 1,300 hectares of land and this amount competes with other crops, cereals and such for space. At one time, the production of silk was more imprtant than wine, and plantings of mulberry trees along cultivation perimeters were very important.
Walking in the vineyards, these days you are enchanted by the scent of the vine flower.
It’s a particular and inebriating aroma that returns every year. It’s shame that you are not able to bottle it!
Fortunately, good weather is predicted for the next few weeks and we are looking forward to a good fruit set.
Pievalta’s classic-method Verdicchio was selected as one of GrapeLive author Kerry Winslow’s “wines of the day” last year. Here’s what he had to say about it. Coming from one of the leading food and wine professionals on the west coast of the U.S., we were thrilled to hear his comments and tasting note.
This sparkler is utterly spellbinding and rivals any top Champagne, I can not begin to tell you how good this fine bubbly really is! I had never had sparkling Verdicchio before, and wow, this is fantastic with wonderful depth, richness, life and complexities on offer, and I can tell you I’ll be drinking as much of this as I can get.
Barone Pizzini has a main property in the “Champagne” region of Italy Franciacorta, but it is this amazing Le Marche estate and it’s Extra Brut Sparkling Verdicchio that has blown my mind.
The Perlugo is made from biodynamic vineyards at the Pievalta estate, in heart of the Castelli di Jesi zone and is handcrafted to perfection. The chalky soils and small yields adds to the dramatic intensity and vibrancy in this elegant bubbly, and Verdicchio comes to life loaded with nutty aromas, citrus, green apples and mineral tones all of which plays well in a fine sparkling wine where these along with pretty yeast, brioche and fig notes come in too, making for a glorious wine. This has to be one of the best kept secrets of the sparkling wine world!
Click here to view his notes on GrapeLive, a great wine resource.
Last Sunday was “Cantine Aperte” (Open Cellars) day, a nation-wide event organized annually by the Movimento Turismo Vino, the Italian association for wine tourism.
Participating wineries — like Pievalta — open their doors for guided tastings, traditional cooking, winery tours, and a chance to interact with the winemakers and grape growers.
This year’s event at Pievalta (Castelli di Jesi) was a huge success with great attendance and wonderful feedback on the wines by the winery’s guests.
Click here for the Pievalta Facebook photo album to get a sense of how much fun this event is.
The Movimento Tursimo Vino is a great resource for enonauts on their way to Italy. And the site includes a English-language version.
We hope to see you for Cantine Aperte 2014!
Barone Pizzini, the first winery in Franciacorta to believe in natural viticulture as the key to attaining the highest quality possible, presents a series of events and tastings featuring painting, music, food, and… Franciacorta, of course!
Currently, the main tasting room at the winery features a show devoted to the paintings of Armando Riva, an artist who has lived in and depicted Lake Iseo and Franciacorta for many years now. His fascination to these two worlds is as vibrant as the works he produces.
Above: Fresh-water sardines being dried along the banks of Lake Iseo. Chef Vittorio Fusari is a champion of locally sourced ingredients in his cooking. Image via Slowfood Oglio, Franciacorta, Lago d’Iseo.
Please call +39 030 9848311 or email info@BaronePizzini.it to reserve!
June 1 & 2 (all-day events)
Winery Tour and Tastings
Franciacorta Brut and Satén paired with Traditional Dried Fresh-Water Sardines from Lake Iseo and other food pairing prepared by Chef Vittorio Fusari, known for his impeccably sourced ingredients and mastery in the kitchen.
€15 per person.
June 2, 11:00 a.m.
Jazz & Ragtime Concert
followed by winery tour and tasting
€18 per person.
Our Franciacorta is organically farmed and our carbon footprint is closely regulated. Your visit to the winery helps to promote awareness of Franciacorta wines and Franciacorta the appellation.