This month we are taking a trip to Bologna in Emilia-Romagna Italy to Federico Orsi/Vigneto San Vito Estate. We loved Federico’s story and we thought it’d be fun to feature solely his wines. Originally from Bologna, Federico moved to Brazil at a young age until his late teens. When he returned to his birthplace his focus was to study business and earn his MBA. He was working as a consultant and the corporate life ultimately lay ahead. In 2005 it was announced that the Azienda Agricole San Vito winery was for sale. Having developed a passion for wine in his young adulthood and hearing the news he jokingly shared with his family he wanted to buy it. Much to his surprise they did not take it as a joke and encouraged his to do so. Being the practical businessman he is, he made the deal with the option to resell if in 5 years he wasn’t in the black.
Thus became his life as a vintner, with a great background in business but zilch in viticulture or winemaking. As an avid student, he immediately took on the challenge and began studying. The stars aligned (and the moon!) when his research led him to the philosophy of practicing biodynamic farming. Building mentee relationships with farmers who already approached their lands and fruit in this holistic manner gave Federico real life resources. He was able to begin converting the estate in his very first year of owning it.
Following the holistic approach to the land, the next natural step was to also work that way within the winery. Low intervention winemaking, letting the fruit and the earth showcase what was grown and the benefit of the dirt and terroir to those efforts was obvious. By 2009 all the wines were fermented with native yeasts, unfined and unfiltered and very minimal Sulphur added only at bottling. Each year the wines have evolved, and we are excited to share these three current releases with you.
P. & E. Mullins
2020 Orsi Vigneto San Vito “Sui Lieviti” Vino Bianco Frizzante
Made of 100% Pignoletto and fermented on the lees in concrete tanks this is frizzante style wine that is bottled during primary fermentation. Which means it is not disgorged so you do see sediment floating in the bottle. We recommend serving this super cold. In the glass it is an amber golden honey. The nose is has bright aromatics of roasted Jonagold apples with butter. The palate it rich in weight and reminiscent of crunchy bread crust torn by hand, picture ripping off a hunk of baguette. There’s a nuttiness that carries through on the bright finish. Like peanuts and almonds.
These next two wines called Posca named after the daily wine ration for a Roman soldier. Both are made in an interesting fashion as they are non-vintage, they are made in the Solera method, also known as vino perpetuo which is an ancient method that uses part of last year’s vintage in the new wines vintage. Similar to a mother in a kombucha or sourdough starter. Each new wine is made with a little of its past, so they are all related. The use of this technique was happenstance, Federico was selling the Posca Bianco and Rossa at the local farmer’s market. The wines were in tanks with dispensers and customers would come and fill their personal jugs, like a growler to a brewery. Well, one year the current vintage was selling out faster than expected so he just topped the tank with the new wine, therefore making a blend of two vintages, this overlap continued to happen for a couple years, and people were liking it, so it started to be done on purpose. Since these wines are multi vintage, each bottle is hand stamped with the bottling date.
Orsi Vigneto San Vito Posca Bianca
Made of a blend of Pignoletto, Alionza, Malvasia and Albana this wine is spontaneously fermented in cement and stainless steel with skin contact. In the glass it is a dusty amber with an aura of purple hues. Aromas of honeyed tangerine peel are greeted by the palate full and dry with notes of bartlett pears and quince paste. A perfect white wine to pair with cheese.
Orsi Vigneto San Vito Posca Rossa
A cépage of Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Negretto, Sangiovese this red was a perfect paring to our chicken cacciatore on a blustery Autumn night. You can see the weight and its viscosity in your glass, a deep maroon. The palate gently grips the side of your tongue with tannins and leaves you with notes of forest floor, moss, and fraise du bois (wild little strawberries). As it opens up the aromatics become more pronounced. We recommend serving this with a slight chill.