Producing natural wines following biodynamic farming techniques doesn’t only allow us to have very little impact on the environment, but also allows us to offer a product that is the true outcome of our terroir and annual climate.
Our wine represents our little corner of the world. Our production comes from a small acreage on the south-east and west side of Montalcino. Different climatic expositions and different soils allow the wines to portray those different characteristics. For instance, the southeastern side is sunnier, windier and has a clayish and very high limestone content, therefore it produces saltier wines with a more intense shade of red. Whereas the west side is surrounded by natural forest with sandy soil, making the climate more humid and creating a fresher-tasting wine with incredible drinkability. As you can see from the map below, we are showing the different labels that we produce from the east and the west.
Producing Brunello in Montalcino is a lifestyle that has been rooted here for centuries. Contrarily, applying biodynamic farming is a relatively new philosophy. We decided to marry the two concepts to produce a Brunello following classic aging methods in the cellar and natural farming in the fields: the outcomes are wines that truly represent the vintage, the soil, and our culture. The Brunello Cielo D’Ulisse comes from the western side of the hill, the Brunello Lupi e Sirene and Amore e Magia come from the eastern side. These wines spend at least three years in larger oak barrels.
All of our Brunellos, the Rosso di Montalcino and the Bonsai are a pure expression of the vintage they come from. A long time ago we decided not to engage in any cross-vintage blending and to not mix wines from our two different locations. The grapes from the east never end up in the wines from the west and vice versa. Each one of our labels has its own vineyard(s) and as such they have remained the same ones every year. For instance, the Bonsai and the Brunello Lupi e Sirene are single vineyards of one hectare (2 acres) each. The Brunello Amore e Magia is another single vineyard that comes from 2.5 hectares (5 acres). This has been decided as a result of climatic and geological differences, and on the basis of what we want to portray in the wines. Below you can find a brief explanation of the different wines that we produce as we understand that even experts sometimes need (and like) a bit of context to have good insight of our production.
Toscana Rosso IGT
Firstly, what’s an IGT wine? The acronym stands for Indicazione Geografica Tipica, and its official translation is Typical Georgraphic Indication, which in simpler words means that we must specify where the grapes of such wine are grown (Toscana) and whether the wine is red or white (Rosso or Bianco). This is the broadest of the Italian Appellations and allows producers and winemakers alike to use grapes that are not native from the area (but must be grown in Italy) and to age them more freely, without being bound to any appellation rules.
Our IGT wines are one-of-a-kind. Our popular Amore e Follia IGT has a minimum of 95% syrah, which is an unusual grape variety to find in Montalcino. Do not expect your typical syrah, as this wine will surprise you for its lightness despite preserving the spiciness and drinkability typical of the syrah. Its name Amore e Follia (Love and Madness) expresses all of the love for this grape but also the slight insanity of planting it in the Montalcino area. Despite its unusual nature, thanks to its ease and ability to be a real crowd pleaser, this wine has become a trademark of the winery and its label has captured wine lovers and lovers from all over the world.
For more specific info, click on the wine.
IGT Toscana Bianco
This IGT is the only white wine that we produce at Podere le Ripi. Although technically not a white wine, but an Orange wine: Orange wines (or Amber wines) are the outcome of white grapes subjected to a longer skin contact. This is a type of wine typically produced in northern Italy (Friuli), but also in Eastern European Georgia. However, this winemaking style had also been used by our grandparents to produce their own interpretation of whites in the Montalcino area.
Our Canna Torta is produced by giving it a prolonged skin contact of 8 months in terracotta (clay) pots. The choice of the terracotta was made following our biodynamic principles since the wine has the possibility of resting in the most natural environment.
The Canna Torta’s label depicts the very first employee of Podere le Ripi whose aim was to keep out from the vineyards every vine-eating wild animal, but never succeeded in his endeavor as his aim was kind of terrible (but he always blamed it on the barrel of his rifle say that was “crooked”). Here the name Canna Torta (crooked gun barrel).
It has a light amber color given by the skins contact. The wine has a fresh and elegant bouquet for a white, with notes of honey and herbs. In the mouth it’s more similar to a red, due to its light tannic structure and the crunchy texture. This bottle gives its best with aged cheese, and (surprise!) Asian food.
For more specific info, click on the wine.
Rosso di Montalcino DOC
The DOC is Italy’s second most important Appellation, according to the European’s Appellation system. The Rosso di Montalcino differentiates itself from the Brunello for amount of aging in the cellar, as it is also produced with 100% sangiovese grapes.
Our Rosso di Montalcino DOC have always been aged for an unusually long amount of time: Rosso is normally a ready to drink wine that is aged for about 18 months. However, at Podere le Ripi we believe that our Rosso needs a little longer aging (at least 3 years in oak barrels) and that makes the wine share more similarities with a Brunello than with a Rosso.
We have produced only one label of Rosso di Montalcino throughout the years, it originally was the Amore e Magia, that always had incredible potential and recently was upgraded to Brunello. The Sogni e Follia came to replace it soon after, as another Rosso di Montalcino aged longer as we realized that the grapes grown in this vineyard needed more time in the cellar in order to release their best characteristics.
The Sogni e Follia label shows Francesco’s poems that he wrote and was subsequently adapted to fit the bottle.
For more specific info, click on the wine.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
Our Brunello occupy a big part of our time, effort, accomplishments and passion. As mentioned many times, producing Brunello in Montalcino is a lifestyle. It is a year-long process that never really ends, it only intertwines with other parts of the process. Its very long aging time (5 years from the harvest to its release) make it the wine with the longest aging in the world. Every Brunello producer knows the involvement and has a different understanding of time. Patience here is a way of life, as it is deeply understood that things just take the time that they need.
We produce three different biodynamic Brunello:
The Cielo D’Ulisse coming from the western side of the hill and the Lupi e Sirene and Amore e Magia vineyards are on the eastern side. Our Brunello spend at least 3 years in big oak barrels.
The Cielo D’Ulisse is smoother, highly drinkable and quite a classic. The Amore e Magia is floral, vibrant and salty. The Lupi e Sirene (usually a Riserva aged 6 years) is elegant, mineral and energetic. The Cielo D’Ulisse and the Amore e Magia are our regular Brunello, aged 5 years, whereas the Lupi e Sirene is usually released as a Riserva (6 years).
The Label of the Lupi e Sirene (Wolves and Mermaids) was our very first label (making it our very first wine) it evokes memories of a time in which Podere le Ripi was so remote and dispersed that the howling of the wolves was the only sound that could be heard at night. So, the wolves were added to the label, and drawn on an island…but what are two excited wolves doing all alone in an island? The best answer was: well, they’re looking at the mermaids..
The Cielo D’Ulisse (The Sky of Ulysses) shows a sky scattered with stars, the sea and a boat, recalling Ulysses ability to navigate by looking at the stars without needing any compass. It is also not a coincidence that the vineyards of the Cielo D’Ulisse are placed in an area so remote that the sky full of stars can be enjoyed to its fullest.
The Amore e Magia (Love and Magic) label also illustrates a poem by Francesco, subsequently adapted to fit the bottle.
Yes, above we explained that most IGTs are typically produced using grapes not native of this area. However, the Bonsai is 100% sangiovese and without any shadow of a doubt, our most important IGT and one of our most important wines. It is produced in extremely small quantities from the densest vineyard in the world (62.500 plants in one hectare). Thanks to its deepest roots (due to the high amount of plants grown next to each other) allow the plant to go through many geological layers that have many different layers. The Bonsai is 100% Sangiovese and has extremely long aging potential. A collector’s item.
(if you wish to know more of the Bonsai wine and vineyard, you can read more here)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tuscan peoples love their olive oil, in fact, we think it is the best one it the whole world (and it is). It’s an intrinsic part of our culture: friends and families gather in November to brush the olives off the threes and we come up with every excuse to reunite and taste it. Our Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is pressed within 24 hours from its harvest – it gets cold-pressed which allows to preserve the natural and nutritional characteristics of the olive. Remember: this olive oil is freshly pressed, meaning that is greener, fruitier and spicier especially when young! It has a great lasting taste (bitter and lightly spicy notes) which allows the oil to have nice longevity (fresh for 18 months, but when using it for cooking it can last for 3 years). The older it gets the smoother it will become. We suggest using it for raw dishes and on bread/veggies the first 3-4 months, after that time it can also be used to dress more delicate dishes.
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