Tomorrow, the Barone Pizzini winery will host a tasting and wine pairing featuring edible wild grasses from their vineyards.
The guided tour and tasting begins at 3:30 p.m.
The cost is €20 per person.
Please call +39 030 9848311 to reserve a spot (reservations required).
The idea behind the tasting is to show how biodiversity and the absence of chemicals in the vineyards is part of what allows the winemaker to create such vibrant and brilliant aromas and flavors in the wine.
Part of the reason why the grasses are edible is that Barone Pizzini — a certified organic farmer — doesn’t use chemicals in the vineyard.
Above: A photo taken recently of vineyards at Pievalta in Castelli di Jesi.
Is the grass on the other side of the fence really greener?
I often ask myself this when I see vineyards where a certain hierarchy is in place, where the grass is cut low like an English lawn and the space between rows is perfectly neat.
In other vineyards, there are sign of green manuring between the rows and orange stripes where herbicide has been applied in between as well.
But if you come to Pievalta this time of year, you won’t find anything like that.
The grass is high between the rows and there are field beans and spontaneous flowers popping up.
We leave the grass high between the rows in order to avoid peronospora. Only in the last few days, because of the bad weather, we have begun to clear the space between the rows in the youngest vineyards and to till under the grass between the rows of the older vineyards.
When you farm organically, you don’t use the chemicals and machinery that are needed to keep the space in between rows so tidy.
Founded in 1870, Barone Pizzini is one of the oldest wineries in Franciacorta and it was the first estate in the appellation to practice organic farming. Ever since its conversion in the 1990s and the organic certification of all its vineyards in 2001, the winemaking team at Barone Pizzini has remained faithful to its belief that chemical-free farming is essential to the production of high-quality wines.
In the 2007, the estate opened the doors of its new eco-friendly cellar and winemaking facility. Every stage of vinification is carried out with the lowest possible impact on the environment and with the lowest possible carbon footprint. The team at Barone Pizzini is convinced that this approach is vital in achieving the fullest expression of each growing site’s terroir.
Among the various practices employed by the winery to lower energy needs, the estate’s solar energy panels can supply up to 55 kilowatts. And in recent years, Barone Pizzini became one of the first Franciacorta wineries to adhere to a carbon offset protocol. Its carbon footprint is measured annually by the Italian agricultural consulting firm Ita.Ca.
The vineyards cover a total surface area of 47 hectares (roughly 116 acres), divided into 25 parcels in the municipalities of Provaglio d’Iseo, Corte Franca, Adro and Passirano. The average altitude is 200 meters above sea level and the average age of the vines is 15-20 years. The estate’s growing sites are among the best in the appellation and are noted for their morainic subsoils and glacial deposits, the hallmarks of Franciacorta’s unique terroir.
Above: A view from the Pievalta winery.
In case you missed it, we wanted to share a wonderful and highly informative series of posts by wine writer Walter Speller on Castelli di Jesi, its varied growing zones and macroclimates, and tasting notes from some of its leading wineries.
Walter published this in-depth profile of the appellation late last year on JancisRobinson.com, where he posts regularly on Italian wines and appellations.
“Pievalta’s young but very talented winemaker, Alessandro Fenino…” writes Walter, “told me he looks for elegance in wine, and no wonder. As a winemaker originally trained in making metodo classico wines, for him it is all about balance.”
Click here to read Walters five-part series, a must-read for Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi lovers.
Above: Wine writer and Italian wine industry veteran Alfonso Cevola has had Franciacorta on his mind. Alfonso was the winner of the Vinitaly International Prize for 2013.
Barone Pizzini general manager and Franciacorta Consortium vice president Silvano Brescianini has asked the blogmaster to share the following post with readers of the Barone Pizzini-Pievalta blog: “Franciacorta vs. the World“, by Italian wine writer and industry veteran Alfonso Cevola aka @ItalianWineGuy.
In it, Alfonso writes:
Franciacorta, ah Franciacorta. If you were to ask most Americans they wouldn’t be able to tell you what it was, let alone where it came from. Perhaps in Denmark or Singapore the educated masses there know better how to distinguish this sparkling wine in a bottle, but most of the world is still painfully ignorant…
Franciacorta is like the tall gangly middle child, nestled between her older sibling Champagne and the cute youngest child, Prosecco. While the eldest has had more experience and is wiser to the ways of the world, and the baby is cute and cuddly, Franciacorta’s beauty often goes unnoticed.
Click here to continue reading this thought-provoking and insightful post.
Today is the last day of the Palio di San Floriano, a wonderful medieval pageant that takes place every year in the town of Jesi.
Here’s a note on the festival from Silvia Loschi, manager of the Pievalta winery.
This week, Jesi is the backdrop for the famous Palio di San Floriano, a festival that dates back to the thirteenth century.
The modern participants in the pageant include the 21 townships of Vallesina, home to the Castelli di Jesi DOC (where we make our wine).
The festivities — dancing, flag bearing, parades, medieval re-enactments — commemorate the Christian martyr St. Florian, a popular saint during medieval times.
In the festival’s main parade, the mayors of the town play the part of the gonfaloniers and they re-enact their villages’ historic submission to the township of Jesi.
Then the “men-at-arms,” representatives of the municipalities present in the parade, compete for the “Palio” (a banner) in the tournament of the archers.
Image via CamperLife.it
A note from the Barone Pizzini agronomist Pierluigi Donna:
Here are the first flowers that announce the vine’s upcoming production. It’s a very delicate phase in which the interaction between all the essences present in the soil and the biodiversity of the organisms become active again after the winter break.
With their presence and complexity, they help to contain the spores of the early parasites.