Dietro le Case Vineyard
Dietro le Case is Cantine Barbera's old vineyard of Inzolia: salinity, freshness and aromatic finesse are its main character
Dietro le Case (Behind the Houses) is a small beautiful vineyard of Inzolia planted in 1960s by my father Pietro. The clones are the same ones that were introduced in the property in early 1920s by my grandfather Lilly, when he was given the Tenuta Belicello Estate by his father, as a gift for his wedding.
Almost 100 years of adaptation to the soil and to the special climate conditions of our territory have caused slow natural processes of modification in the vines: infact, each vine slowly adapts to the soil, the sunlight, the position, developing unique features that become more and more evident as time goes by.
When a vine is reproduced, it will transmit to the new plant its own particular features, and so on, from one generation to the other.
As you can see in the picture, 4 different phenotypes live today in the vineyard Dietro le Case, all developed from the same clones that were planted 90 years ago. The vines show different features: from leaves, to trunk, to branches. The more evident difference is, of course, in the berries. Different in size, color, aromas, taste, ripening, each phenotype brings amazing complexity to the wine that I make from that small vineyard.
The soil behind the houses is very special: calcareous, with big lime stones, it is fresh and light, and contains amazing quantity of minerals. The long roots of an old vine can deeply penetrate that light soil, searching for water in the lowest layers.
Less than 1 mile from the ocean, the vines absorb the salinity of the air and suck the same salt from the soil. Salinity, more than just minerality, gives the berries their special taste. Imagine you are eating a steak: there is a big difference in taste if you add salt or not! This is what happens to our wines (not just Dietro le Case, but here it is even more evident due to the age and to the long adaptation of the vines to their terroir): the salt enhances flavor perception, and prolongs the mineral sensations on the finish.
Old vineyards are beautiful living beings: they are finally in balance with the environment, and can harmonically interact with all other organisms. Insects, flowers, animals, herbs: everything here is part of the same microcosm and functional to others’ lives.
But getting older causes fragility. To preserve and protect the genetic variations and the different evolution of this unique vineyard, we decided to reproduce it selecting the best vines from 3 different phenotypes, using the traditional technique of grafting the old wood on new rootstocks.
It took us three years to have a new vineyard of Inzolia, and probably it will take three more years before all plants take roots. But I am now sure that Dietro le Case genetic uniqueness will survive for many years to come.