RIESLING AND GEWÜRTZTRAMINER
"Strangers in our Piedmontese Langhe but friends of our hearts and friends our friends" was the story told on the first label of Coste di Riavolo in 2001. Two varieties that we put to the test on the north side of the San Fereolo hill at 500 meters and on the steep eastern slopes of Coste di Riavolo, in order to understand the interaction between the magnitude of our terrior and that of these grapes. We looked, with respect and devotion, towards the great traditions already established in other lands, but focusing especially on Alsace. Fascinating aromatic varieties with very distinct personalities, both capable of passing the test of time and developing unique aromas, which is a constant element in the wines of our estate. A complex blend for a wine loved by wine producers.
The lands are located in the commune of Dogliani, identified in the vineyard of San Fereolo, with a very windy north to northeastern exposure at 500 meters above sea level. The soil is medium textured and prevalently limestone, located in the sub zone of Valdiba'. The vines are cultivated using a simple Guyot, with a plant density of 4000 vines per hectare. In planting this vineyard we used Alsatian clones capable of maintaining good acidity. The plots are cultivated according to the principles of biodynamic agriculture, which foresee a different approach to soil fertility and the use of copper and sulphur in very small quantities. The yield of wine per hectare varies according to the year from 30 to 45 hectoliters.
Handpicked and brought to the cellar in fifty pound boxes, at the end of September. The two varieties are vinified separately. Riesling is de-stemmed and crushed, and has a pre-fermentative cold maceration of twenty-four hours before pressing. Gewurztraminer is de-stemmed, crushed and pressed after a few hours of maceration. Fermentation is started without cultured yeasts, after a summary racking to facilitate the start of the process and takes place in wooden tonneau without temperature control and on part of the lees. The fermentation was very slow in 2005.
After alcoholic fermentation, the wine was assembled and remained in wood for about one year on the fine lees with 'batonnage', decreasing in frequency as the aging period progressed. It was bottled the second year after harvest and refined in bottle for one year before release.
The cooler temperatures of the summer of 2005 are reflected in the wine with a more evident acidity as compared to the Coste di Riavolo 2004. We also find a greater sweetness given by the slow fermentation that left a barely perceptible sugar residue.
An intriguing wine due to the unexpected union of the aromas and the characteristics of the two varieties, that complement and contradict one another at the same time. After an initial nose marked by the Traminer's scents of rose and lychee, with time the typical Riesling aromas of petrol begin to emerge. In the mouth the opulent vein of Traminer is supported by the acidity and the integrity of Riesling. The 2005 has a straw yellow hue with hints of gold. Intense and mineral with apricot, passion fruit and beeswax. A complex palate, warm but fresh at the same time, with a slight astringency and a honeyed finish. It requires courage and imagination to match it with food.
The San Fereolo white is in many ways still an experimental wine, as one would assu- me of a white conceived in a country of reds and even more so because of the grape varieties Riesling and Traminer. For this reason, instead of following a set recipe, with each vintage we prefer to explore different variations, interpreting the maturi- ty of the grapes and the state of the skins to test new paths and different approaches to maceration.
COSTE DI RIAVOLO 2004
An atypical white wine starting with its color, which is golden yellow with shades of pink. Petrol scents that combine hints of saffron and cucumber. Mineral and sapid on the palate, gifted with vertical length and closing slightly sweet with floral after notes.
2004 was another classic vintage, where the word classic exemplifies the quintessen- tial sober and straightforward Piedmontese character. In some respects comparable to 2001, but with more regular trends in fruit maturation and without excess. Har- vest took place between late September and early October. Higher alcohol content due to hot sunny days in late summer and to our choice to allow a brief over ripening of the Traminer grapes in the vineyards. Pre- fermentative cold temperature macera- tions of twenty four hours for the Riesling and a four-hour soaking in the press for the Traminer. Fermentation in wood on gross lees kept in suspension until bottling.