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Wine Bloggers Tour 2013
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Indigenous yeast and spontaneous fermentation unveiled: the WestSicily Wine Blogger's Tour in Menfi and Marsala

I love wine bloggers, and this is not a news.
I love them because they are curious, informal, overwhelming. They love what they do, drink much wine, and smile a lot.

A small group of bloggers visited the winery today, thanks to the perfect organization of Giampiero Nadali, Elisabetta Tosi and Valeria Carastro with full support and finance from the Regione Siciliana - Istituto Regionale Vini e Oli.

We mainly focused on understanding the influence of yeast strains on wine fermentation.

I prepared three samples of Petit Verdot, which was harvested last Tuesday. The first sample was plain juice, kept in the fridge to avoid oxidation and minimize color change. The second sample was must fermenting with selected yeast, while the third was fermenting with indigenous yeast.

Two questions were asked: is there any difference between selected and indigenous yeast? And: which one respects the grape’s character better?

Even after only a short fermentation, the two samples appeared to be very different, both in color and taste. We all found much more structure and lively acidity in the wild ferment, while the selected yeast had produced softer flavors. Some bitterness was perceivable in the indigenous sample, due to huge tannic extraction from the grape’s seeds, while the selected showed a final rounder character.
Not focusing on individual preference for one or the other, it was evident that the wine changes enormously, and that all difference depends on the yeast used for fermentation.

Now, my personal question: is there a real need for another round soft easy wine in the market? 

cover photo: courtesy @aristideblog
 

Tags: lieviti indigeni, fermentazione spontanea, vinificazione, Wine Blogger Tour

THE SHORT STORY

THE SHORT STORY

Grape variety: Inzolia grown in Dietro le Case vineyard
Soil: clay soil with calcareous components, very rich in limestones and sea minerals
Vineyard: planted in 1960s, head-trained bush vines
Winemaking: skin contact for 48 hours in steel tanks
Alcoholic fermentation: spontaneous, with wild yeast
Malolactic fermentation: spontaneous
Refining: 4 months on fine lees, in steel tanks
Aging: one oak barrel, where it ages in perpetuum with its sediment
Average production: a few dozen bottles every some years

Download wine sheet

WINEMAKING

The grapes are handpicked the first half of September, when they are fully ripe. The traditional pruning system - called "a pezzo e spalla" - and the age of the vines, allow slow constant ripening cycles and a great aromatic concentration.

The fermentation is spontaneous, with 2 days skin contact. After soft pressing, the fermentation continues for 8 days in steel tanks. After malolactic is completed, the wine refines on fine lees for about 4 months and is then racked into one single oak barrel, where it ages in perpetuum with its sediment.

The wine is bottled directly from the barrel no more than 2-3 times every decade.

TASTING NOTES

Altrimenti has a bright amber color, enlivened by golden hues. Its nose is predominantly tertiary, where fruity notes of apricot and ripe figs blend onto an intense and aromatic herbal background, enriched by roasted and dried nuts.

It is dry and full bodied to the palate, with a distinct savory personality that harmoniously meets a tannic finish.

SERVING TEMPERATURE: 54 - 58 °F
Pour Altrimenti in wide glasses, at a fresh but not chilled temperature.
Please avoid freezers and blast chillers, as well as a prolonged time in your home refrigerator: this wine is not filtered nor fined, and any temperature below 40 °F will mortify its complex aromas.

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