A group of friends, a challenge: from beer to wine with Artenova amphorae
2021/06/18 Artenova amphorae / Artenova Terracotta / impruneta / natural wine / Puglia / Sammichele di Bari
In the area of Sammichele di Bari, a group of friends has renovated an old abandoned farm. Where once cows were raised they now produce wine. Former brewers, they had already experimented with the terracotta amphorae of Artenova for making beer. Now a new adventure and challenge awaits them: “Before launching ourselves to make natural wine, our passion and work was beer. Two distant worlds then. Yet from that experience we brought with us an enormous treasure made up of technique, awareness and above all the courage to challenge rules and to experiment with new processes”. Thus originated “Masseria La Cattiva” in Sammichele di Bari, in the heart of the Apulian countryside (Contrada Cattiva is the name of the locality), where Leonardo Di Vincenzo, Paolo Bertani, Loreto Lamolinara, Michael Opalenski, Manfredi La Barbera, joined forces to begin a new adventure. Different experiences and procedures, from beer to wine, as different as the origins and backgrounds of each of them, but all are united by the desire to experiment and create genuine and original products. The strategy and creed that unites them is for minimal intervention in the vineyard, manual cultivation and harvesting and zero sulphites in the cellar.
They began by cultivating 3 strictly organic hectares of land. “… In the vineyard the only chemical treatments we do are with copper sulphate and sulphur – explains Leonardo Di Vincenzo – in the cellar we do not use chemicals of any kind”. The processing is done entirely by hand and the local vines grown are Primitivo, Negroamaro, Aleatico, Montepulciano, Aglianico and Trebbiano.
About two years ago, for the first time, the jars from Leonardo Parisi’s workshop in Impruneta found their way into the renovated wine cellar of Masseria La Cattiva. There are 6 amphorae in all, 4 classic 800-litre jars and two 500-litre egg shaped jars. The wines from these amphorae tell us of an unconventional production chain, made up of very old techniques mixed with renewed and avant-garde methods, which enable the creation of excellent wines, a living and exclusive expression of local vines.
Riposata. Primitivo grapes age partly in amphora and a partly in oak barrel, without the addition of sulphites, as always at Masseria La Cattiva. After maturing, barrel and amphora come together before bottling, blending the elegance of wood and the sharp mineral character of terracotta in a new and seductive guise for a Primitivo.
Orange. A blend of Malvasia and Trebbiano. Two amphorae for each type of grape wait for 8 months. Then the two wines meet for the first time just before bottling. The mineral hints of the Trebbiano wine are highlighted and completed by the aromaticity of the Malvasia.