For the #ItalianFWT group this month we are focused on organic, biodynamic, and natural wines. My thoughts went immediately to a producer who was ahead of his time in Tuscany in organics but also as a vegan wine producer, Querciabella.
I discovered Querciabella thanks to my friend Sunny Gandara who works with them. Sunny is also a vegan and is a serious wine professional so it seemed like a great topic. Whenever I spend more time with Sunny, as I did during our podcast series last spring, I attempt to become if not vegan at least vegetarian. Together, Sunny and I interviewed Manfred Ing last year on the podcast here.
The Querciabella project began from 1 hectare of vines in 1974 and when Giuseppe, the founder, gave the reins to Sebastiano Cossia Castiglioni, his son. Sebastiano was early to convert the estate to organics back in 1988. By 2010, Sebastiano began a journey to move into plant based biodynamics. They use no animal products either in the vineyards or in the cellar. From one hectare they now have 100 hectares between the Chianti Classico region, in Greve specifically, and Maremma.
Querciabella is all about the soil and keeping it healthy and in alive, creating and preserving the balance in nature. We need so much more of that in our world today, generally speaking, and our soils and climate in particular.
While they are not traditionalists in terms of following the exacting nature of biodynamics, they embrace the concept and some of the practices. According to their website when walking through their vineyards in springime:
The hum and buzz of insects are almost deafening. Rare bird species, partridges and wood pigeons, wild animals like hare, and roe dear all roam free. This is how a healthy ecosystem should look like, not the desolate, lifeless picture of commercial vineyards.Querciabella website
I’ve experienced this myself, not in Querciabella but in other organic vineyards and the difference is truly enchanting to see the vineyard buzzing to life. It reminds me of the children’s stories I read to my son about Thumper and his brothers and sisters, bunnies hoping through the wood and making friends with flowers or insects. Or Winnie the Pooh, when Pooh, Tiger, and Piglet realize the error of their ways from trapping butterflies and ruining the beehive because of the desire for honey. They put everything back when Christopher Robin notices how quiet the Hundred Acre wood has become.
While we can’t go back to being children or return the land to 100 years ago, Querciabella is set on trying to make a difference on their lands and leading by example.
Organic, biodynamic, and Vegan all true but also fabulous, enveloping wines that are truly elegant.
I tasted the Chianti Classico 2018 last week at the Chianti event but I opened the 2017 last night with dinner and it sang to me. 2017 was a warm year in Tuscany but their Chianti seems to not have suffered at all.
Deep ruby red in color with gorgeous red fruits, spice, and earthy notes, it had depth, layers of flavor and a very long finish. The wine was truly glorious and I had to stop myself from drinking the whole bottle. My Mother, of the Chianti in a straw flask generation and a white wine lover, was also impressed.
It was a balm to my soul which is saddened and frightened by what’s happening in the world. I am sure all of that feels far away in the Querciabella oasis. Even saying the name, beautiful oak makes me happy, majestic trees, majestic wines.
Join us on Saturday, 5 March, at 11 am ET / 17.00 CEST as the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel group will explore Organic & Natural Wine – What’s it all about? in the #ItalianFWT chat on Twitter.
Check out what my fellow bloggers have to say:
Nicole at Somm’s Table will share “Cavalleri Franciacorta with Braised Collard Greens and Polenta”
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm will share Discovering Ziobaffa Wines.
Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Cam will share “With an Ethos of Quality and Sustainability: ZIOBAFFA Pinot Grigio Terre Siciliane IGT + Braised Celery Over Farro Couscous”
Susannah at Avvinare will share “Tuscany’s Querciabella Leads the Way on Vegan Wines”
Gwendolyn at Wine Predator will share “La Maliosa Saturnia Biodynamic Natural Wine: Red, White Native Grapes Paired with Pizza #ItalianFWT”
Jennifer at Vino Travels will share “The Sustainability Behind Sicily’s Principi di Butera”
Katarina at Grapevine Adventures will share “3 Wines Going From Organic To Natural”