BEING MARCHIGIANI (FROM LE MARCHE): AN INTRINSIC VOCATION FOR MULTIPLICITY WHERE, AMONG OTHER ELEMENTS, THE LANDSCAPE ACHIEVES UNPARALLELED HARMONY
By now, the desire to discover and unmask the Le Marche region is commonplace. This region is a genuine Italian gem, where unique landscapes and natural features are always on display. The land demonstrates a certain divided nature in its most literal sense, being half mountains and half hills, further divided by 13 rivers running parallel down to the Adriatic coast.
It comes just as naturally to examine and appreciate the elements in the Marches region that define the essential “le marchesness” of the local identity: a dedication to the preservation of historical centers and local endeavours, where the inclination towards self-restraint and reticence have become an authentic heritage.
THE COMMON THREAD LINKING RENOWNED ITALIAN WHITE WINES: VERDICCHIO
Wine, it goes without saying, is the common denominator linking all Italian regional wine regions, although the intrinsic connection between the Marche region and Verdicchio is so strong that, viticulturally speaking, the two terms are almost inseparable.
In fact, if you follow this wine-focused thread focusing on what I believe to be one of the greatest Italian whites ever, two more connecting threads are immediately visible: the castles and abbeys of Le Marche. The fortresses and parish churches are not just beautiful embellishments of the Marche landscapes, they also provide essential keys to understanding the history of this territory, which for centuries has been characterized by fragmentation, defensive entrenchment, and the monastic "economic model.”
FROM FRANCIACORTA TO VERDICCHIO: JOURNEY TO ANOTHER GREAT WINE AREA
Our precise location is Maiolati Spontini, the heart of Jesi's castles. The area is also renowned as the birthplace of acclaimed music composer Gaspare Spontini, whose name was added to the comune’s appellation in 1939. In 2002, the Franciacorta winery Barone Pizzini, went beyond the borders of their Lombardy homeland by visualizing Verdicchio’s huge potential.
It’s right here that young enologist Alessandro Fenino continues his quest to learn about the Verdicchio vines, allowing his to confirm with satisfaction his initial interpretation of the area. Surely the musicality and tonality of any area can be sensed and felt better when one enters into contact with noteworthy examples of autochthonous vines and wines. This heightened sensation could be due to any number of factors, most importantly the vines and wines’ origins and their clearly-demonstrated ability to reflect the surrounding terroir and the regulations indicated by the assorted evaluation boards and consortium.
Leaving Milan behind, and falling in love with the winery’s 20+ hectares of vines must have been simple for Fenino. This glorious trail of events happened also thanks to the wisdom and perspicacity of Silvano Brescianini, GM of the entire Pievalta wine estate, who played a decisive role in the acquisition of another 5 hectares of land on Monte Follonica in the San Paolo di Jesi area.
PIEVALTA'S PRINCIPLES OF BIODYNAMICS - IS THE SOIL TO BE SAVED?
It must have been intricate to convert the winery’s original vines dating back to the 1970s, and switching over to the contemporary organic regime. After all, the cultivation during the 1970s relied heavily on the chemical point of view, following a principle of total weeding. Contemporary organic principles undertaken from 2005 onwards focuses on the conscious selection of horn silica and various biodynamic preparations. Initial difficulties resolved, Pievalta’s path has always been one of continuous growth and development, taking care of the vine’s essential substance: structure, acidity, and salinity, all in absolutely logical, spontaneous and regular fashions.
Appreciation of the area’s pedoclimatic fluctuations was quick to happen, first within the grounds surrounding Pievalta’s headquarters. Here the area’s fresh calcareous marl-rich soils expressed these variations, followed by the sandstone or tufaceous soil of the Follonica area, rising 350m above sea level. Both these terroirs share excellent exposure, and individual vineyard rows. The pleasure of discovering all the elements expressed within your wine glass provides vindication of all the original sacrifices wine-makers go through.
The concept is clear, indeed crystal clear: “striving to learn through observation and experience, when working in contact with nature. Being immersed in the vineyard helps wine-makers grasp those fundamental natural synergies and understand that every place has its own specificity.”
PIONEERING PARTNERSHIP: A WINNING COMBINATION!
In 2008, enologist Alessandro Fenino was joined by Silvia Loschi. Initially colleagues in Franciacorta, Loschi and Fenino are both professional and life partners, with Loschi handling the commercial side of the business, and the winery’s hospitality services. The fruit of this partnership and commitment continues to ripen and grow: you can see it, touch it, compare it, and drink it. The future looks promising too, as the pioneering Pievalta is the first March-area wine producer to become an official member of the Syndacat International des Vignerons en Culture Bio-Dynamique (Biodyvin association) equivalent to Romanèe Conti, Zind Humbrecht, Maison Chapoutier, Domaine Leflaive, Clos de Tart. The company has their 15 years of biodynamic practice to thank for this excellent recognition.
For further reading on some of Italy’s finest niche wineries with a mission, head over to our Articles section for a full selection of intriguing looks into smaller wineries making a difference. Need to know some new wines to taste this weekend? Don't miss the Brunello di Montalcino tasting series here for more wine ideas.
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