What would you be doing if you weren’t in the wine industry?
If I weren’t making wine, I would write about the Italian countryside and its 8,000 towns.
What drew you to the wine industry? What made you decide to become a winemaker?
I decided to make wine after having restored an old house in the middle of nowhere (which I only later realized was in southern Tuscany). Having found myself seduced by the landscape, I needed something to fill my days there, so I went to Bordeaux and called upon friends who became my teachers, great winemakers including Peter Vinding and Peter Sisseck. I brought back not only their lessons but also clonal selections developed by the Blancfort Institute, as well as cuttings from field selections I had cut from some old parcels that traditionally had produced the best wines in certain chateaux in the Graves and in Saint Emilion.
I bought a tractor and started up the little scraper; I started planting where the soil was loosest and with the thickest order possible on that steep exposure: one metre by one metre. The work was carried out by a swearing French team accustomed to the light soils of Medoc, but then they came back, year after year, planting some three hectares at a time from 1992 to 1999. With tight planting, keeping yields low, I am coming to see that here in Trinoro — where vineyards have practically never existed before — every year that passes will increase the wine’s identity, its capacity to resemble itself.
What’s the best part about your job?
I like making wine. It is a work of art that changes with every year. A person is influenced during that year by the landscape of the place where he makes it. He is impressed by the natural scenery of the every day, through the changing seasons, and transfers this impression to the wine he makes. So, first: every year the wine is different. Second: as I change, my winemaking changes. Wines carry the signature of who makes them. Wines are very much like the winemakers who made them.
The best part is the harvest, when you pick grapes waiting for them to be ripe in all the parcels in all weathers. And when you mix all those pickings, which have become wines, in the best way together, six months later.
What’s the biggest challenge in winemaking?
The biggest challenge in winemaking is to maintain one’s disregard for the public reaction to the wines one makes, to stay true to one’s style and one’s terroir. My Trinoro wines are extremely concentrated: the sun, alongside low-yield viticulture, produces high sugars at our latitudes. Why is concentration in wine so important? Because the wine is more recognizable; a wine that exaggerates in its perfume, its colour and taste and imprints itself in the memory, over the years can be recognized; slowly, slowly it becomes a classic.