Allegrini 2018

Bertani focuses on cru: from research in the vineyard a new expression of Valpolicella

The Corvina gets rid of drying. Pedron: “No marketing, let’s work on wine culture”

Research takes first place, in order to best express the symbolic grape of Valplicella, the Corvina, “freeing” it from the cage of drying and Amarone, which has given so much, in terms of prestige and richness, to the territory, but which cannot and must not be the only enological expression of a historical company like Bertani, which has decided to focus on the company's cru to take a step forward in terms of experimentation and awareness, in a logic that, for once, leaves behind the marketing in favor of the wine culture. This is how the “Bertani Cru” were born: two wines from two vineyards of Tenuta Novare, the Valpolicella Classico “Le Miniere” and the Valpolicella Classico Superiore “Ognisanti”. A completely new attention to Valpolicella, where the territory can be read without the interference of drying, wine from fresh grapes unfortunately often forgotten in the years of the tumultuous growth of Amarone and Ripasso.
There are, however, many companies that produce wines from individual vineyards. Certainly the exit of the company from a sort of “comfort zone”, guaranteed by the continuity of style that has built its reliability, but especially the path of research of which the Bertani Cru are sons. Things can be done because they happen,” CEO Emilio Pedron, a member of the Bertani Domains group, explains to WineNews, “or, as in our case, because we study and have scientific results. We focus on knowing the reasons and differences. We wanted to capture the best expression of Corvina, and we could only do so by producing Valpolicella because the “drying” of the grapes tend to homogenize the differences. These are the first two wines of the Bertani Cru line, produced in a few bottles intended for catering, but then there will be others”.
The research, in collaboration with scholars of important research institutions, is in the DNA of Bertani Domains, which also in Fazi Battaglia, on Verdicchio, has carried out very complex experimentation to highlight the actual potential of the native Marche. ”We came to the definition of these crus of Valpolicella after several years of research - explained Andrea Lonardi, director of operations of Bertani Domains - characterizing each vineyard, applying a viticultural management “tailored” and winemaking techniques designed to respect and maximize the expressions of our native varieties on different soils. An example is, in the face of global warming, which is also favoring the perfect technological and phenological maturation of Corvina, the adoption of a modified canopy shape enlarged upwards with an inverted cone to shade the bunches to promote the synthesis of anthocyanins and avoid scalding to which Corvina is very susceptible. There are not enough studies on this vine, as on many other native Italian varieties, and we are working with a French nurseryman to explore its genetic variability. Our team has been working for 4 years distinguishing the grapes by soil origin, considering that the same soils are found in different parts of the world and that therefore to make the difference in the wines concur the other elements in play. Concerning soils, what matters most is not the chemical composition, but the physical characteristics that determine the environment of life of the roots, such as the water stress that causes the synthesis of polyphenols in the vine, and therefore the production of more structured wines. Going into detail of the two crus - continues Lonardi - Vigna “Le Miniere” is characterized by soils with a high content of limestone combined with red clay. The same by nature, origin, and formation as those of the Cote d’Or in Burgundy, where the Corvina has a complex fruity and aromatic picture, ranging from cherry to wild strawberries, from blueberries to white pepper. Soils that give rise to sapid, light wines with fresh and balsamic notes, seem simple but instead highlight a deep complexity. The soils of Vigna “Ognisanti” have a very high content of limestone and are the same as in Champagne. In this vineyard - concludes the manager of Bertani Domains - the Corvina shows notes of cherry, black cherry and pepper and smaller than normal berries, ideal for the production of wines from fresh grapes, with a better ratio between pulp and skin that allows the production of wines with high flavor, greater density and tannic structure. Valpolicella often comes from vineyards less suitable for making Amarone, while Bertani Cru comes from dedicated vineyards, from which 30% of the grapes to be destined for Amarone are not selected. This is an exception,” commented Pedron, “which also means a loss of earnings. How important is the product and how important is what surrounds it? We take care of the first one and it is a long and sometimes difficult path. We chose it because we are an agricultural society with a historical heritage of vineyards and farms that must be enhanced. We have embarked on this path of scientific in-depth study to decide on our production choices and not to do marketing. We rely on those consumers - concluded Pedron - who are ready to recognize a different quality. It is a path that is leading us to have different business horizons. The Valpolicella has been a great success, first of all economical. The growth in production of Amarone and Valpolicella Ripasso has brought generalised wealth very quickly. There is a need for a cultural reversal. We do our job, we don’t pretend to teach anything. This is our culture, but if we set an example for others we will be happy about it”.

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