Montalcino Cru wines and the “pedagogy” of the Amphora At Corte Pavone where you can learn from terracotta

2023/10/31     / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /

Photo by Sergio Bettini

Photo by Sergio Bettini

Interview with Hayo Loacker, the man of the Seven Dynamic Brunello

Empathy with nature, Biodynamic Viticulture, wine cellar techniques adapted to the Terroir and the use of containers of different materials for fermenting wine. This is the road that Hayo Loacker of the Loacker family, who has been managing three wineries in two regions – one in South Tyrol and two in Tuscany (Montalcino and Maremma) – has been following for over 40 years. The winery “Tenuta di Corte Pavone” lies in the agricultural territory of Brunello di Montalcino, one of the most prestigious wines in the world. It does not usually make wine in amphora. However, sometimes we do! – specifies Hayo Loacker, who has been making wine in the eight Artenova egg-shaped, 700 lt, terracotta amphorae in his cellar for some years now. Sometimes for a certain period, the best quality Sangiovese ends up in amphora and often in conjunction with the same wine in other containers to see the differences. “I put the same wine in concrete, terracotta and wood and then I observe, evaluate and learn. It is very pedagogical” says Hayo Loacker.

How did the choice of terracotta in the cellar of Corte Pavone come about?

“In 2016, I wanted to follow-up on a project launched 10 years previously in Montalcino, concerning our seven dynamic Brunello Cru Wines. We divided the grapes into more than 80 micro-variants identified by very particular, highly individual qualities. These I decided to bring to the market separately. As a consequence, we obtained the production of many high quality wines but in small quantities. To do this, I had to look for containers which not only satisfied this particular request but above all allowed me to complete the project concerning our Terroir. From this came the choice of terracotta because I identified it as an extremely sensitive material for the work in hand. This concerned not only the work in our cellar, but above all in the vineyard where we try to produce wines from our Terroir that reflect precisely the individual diversity encountered there and that of the vine itself, what it encounters in its own lifetime growing in different types of soil.”

What did terracotta add to your project?

“In 2016 I realised that the vintage was tremendously good and that I needed more containers so I added terracotta jars. The concrete jars that I already had, gave me certain guarantees but did not satisfy me concerning levels of oxygenation. Then I tried terracotta – with great success! In addition to being a non-invasive material – I would say inert – at the same time it gives the wine a slight oxygenation, useful for maturing wines in the cellar “.

Based on your experience, how does the amphora allow you to make a wine, while adhering strictly to the principles of Biodynamics?

“Adding Terroir to Biodynamics was a bit like writing the Bible in my small cellar. In the sense that Biodynamics certainly have a strong bond with nature, but for me, the most important step was knowing how to confer this expression of the Terroir to the final product in the glass. The wine we have in hand is a noble product with so much History, but the most important story that a wine can tell, is about where it grows and where it comes from. Biodynamics goes hand in hand with the meticulous work on the Terroir that we introduced to Corte Pavone. The two components must love each other “.

What, for you, is Natural Wine?

“It is not enough to leave wine inside an amphora without taking care of other important elements to be able to define it as a “Natural Wine”. The vineyard for me is 95% of the job. If a wine can be declared Natural, the vineyard is the mother of all Natural Wines. Anyone who produces “Natural Wine”, “almost Natural Wine” or similar, should first of all do it in the vineyard”.

Read more on Artenova Newsletter


From the loaker bio website of Corte Pavone – “Close your eyes – cue swelling instrumental music. Open Them… and welcome to Tuscany and to LOAKER’s Tenuta Corte Pavone. Monumental wrought iron gates, a seemingly infinite cypress-lined road, the view over the world-famous Wine City of Montalcino. Talk of a Hollywood Moment – simply unforgettable. Once you reach the estate, you will experience wine at its very best: An involving bouquet, a memorable mouthfeel, and breath-taking vineyards. The Corte Pavone is always open for you.

Photo by Sergio Bettini

Photo by Sergio Bettini


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