The feeling of the land for the TERROIR
Take a song. Give it to 5 musicians. Each one of them will perform the song according to their musical taste. The first will do a rock version, the next will do funky, another will do jazz, another folk and the last will do blues. We will have 5 different interpretations of the same song.
Now, take 5 parcels of land in the same wine-producing territory. Give one each to 5 vine-dressers. Each one will interpret that territory according to his own way of feeling that piece of land. And so, he will choose the grape variety to plant and how to plant it. He will decide how to cultivate the vineyard and when to harvest. This is the terroir: the outcome of interpreting a feeling, a bond between the vine-dresser and the land. A non-physical bond with the vineyard. But a bond of metaphysical correspondence with the land that is home to the vineyard. Therefore, the terroir is a geographical concept: it is a description of a land. It is a place – its land and its geographical features – where man is aware of the agricultural tradition even more than the viticultural one. In that place, throughout the course of history, man has developed a bond where human skills mingle with environmental factors. That bond will reveal uniqueness: the impression of a place. That impression of a place that can only be perceived in a wine glass.
A FOCUS ON THE LANDSCAPE
We can see it in the shapes that the architecture of nature gives to spaces. We can find it in the hospitality that beauty gives to a land. We can see and find a landscape in that network of connections between man, who preserves it, and the territory it represents.
In the Cartizze area, over time those connections are intertwined, row after row. And a bond is created between the landscape and the people who live there. The territory and the people can identity themselves in that landscape. And so it acquires a human dimension: physique and character, the body and soul of a land. And makes that scene a metaphor of the theatre. We can find it in the Parcels of land contoured by nature on steep south-facing hills. Plots of vineyards very close to each other and near the Pre-Alps. Pieces of a mosaic that cannot be replicated in any other corner of the Earth. It is our land. Vineyards with rows like seats in the stalls of a theatre of nature. A stage that raises its curtain every morning to face the world. It is our land. A unique guaranteed show that is staged every year. A monologue that tells the true story of Cartizze: the Cru of Valdobbiadene.
Its uniqueness is the fundamental feature of the original geography that describes its land of birth. A combination of physical, biological and human factors determine the actions of its most practical aspect: vine growing. And they also define the contours of its most aesthetic aspect: the landscape of nature. A pentagon of vineyards and hills squeezed into 5 sides. Two facing north towards the sheltering Pre-Alps of Treviso. The other two, in one direction or the other, face towards the nearby village of Valdobbiadene, to the west, or to the more distant town of Conegliano, to the east. The last one faces south towards the plain.
Cartizze is a natural ‘republic’ founded on sparkling wine production. Here, the official language is bubbly. The Cartizze area covers 106 hectares of vineyards with high-density vines. The territory is predominantly hilly: Colesel is one of the highest peaks. Its altitude affects the climate, which is mitigated by winds. A dense network of streams flows underground, following the slopes and stopping where the ground can retain it. The Cartizze area is one of the most hospitable, attracting visitors, wine tourists, sommeliers and restaurateurs. It exports millions of bottles of bubbly throughout the world.
The truth about the CLIMATE
We are sheltered. The Pre-Alps of Treviso protect our hills from the cold north-east winds. Only moderate breezes fly over them, which, despite the altitude, make spring mild and autumn long. A meteorological binomial of the hills combines with the biological binomial of the Glera vine: early budding and late ripening.
The Glera vine is a hungry plant: it is nourished by light throughout the duration and intensity of the day. Because the number of leaves available for photosynthesis determines the amount of acidity and sugars in the grapes. Therefore, we plan the sun exposure of the vineyard: we trim and tie the vines, we allow the buds to grow vertically, we reduce areas of shade on the grapes, we remove those in excess to obtain neat and regular walls along the rows.
In this way, we help the slopes so that the amount of energy from the sun reaches the leaves and grape clusters. A certain slope of the land means that vineyards in the hills receive a larger amount of energy from the sun than vineyards on the plain. Vines are the crop that is most sensitive to temperatures.
Temperature fluctuations affect the components of grapes: sugars and acidity. A difference of just a few degrees centigrade can influence the balance between the smoothness and freshness of a sparkling wine. The heat of sunlight ripens grapes and forms sugars inside them. The cold of darkness enriches grape skins with aromatic substances and their flesh with acids. In vineyards, what is not done during the day is done at night.
10 - 25°C
18 - 30°C
12 - 28°C
Spring, the new vintage begins
Spring. The sun warms. And the air reawakens. Nature blossoms into colours and new details. The landscape acquires new looks. Vineyards are dressed.
The new year greets us. Once again, the sun has the ability to warm again, and the wind caress. There is a great desire for rebirth in the air. We enter the vineyard. Our shoes become wet with dew. Every vine, every tree, every blade of grass and every flower appears to be ready to face the new challenge: to withstand the turbulence of time and grasp this new opportunity of life that is repeated in a cycle. It is the energy released in our hills, a vitality that also influences us as humans. It teaches us to enjoy every moment, season after season, respecting the paces typical of the life of nature. Which is also ours. Therefore, we are forced to live a second nature. And it is the best constraint that could happen to us.
Summer, nature matures
Summer. Hard ground. Temperatures swing from one extreme to the other. Grapes ferment and grape clusters grow profusely. Harmonies that mark the year.
The land is hard, dry and cracked. Thegrass is yellow between the rows. The air is heavy with smells released by theheat. Dust rises every time we pass. A sudden temperature change occurs betweenthe great heat of the vineyards and the cool wine cellar. It is a freak of nature that at thesetemperatures the vines are dressed in their heaviest clothes. Green arms ofexuberant leaves extend to protect the fruits of the vines. Full, firm grapeclusters of juicy pulp wait to be bounced from day to night, from one extreme temperature to another. The precious phenomenon of temperature fluctuations creates, in each cluster of grapes, a chemical confrontation between tart acidity and sweet seduction. Each grape is subject to a daily search fora perfect balance that will determine the day they will be plucked from thevine. Outdoors, we can only hope that the weather will be good to us until thatday arrives.
Autumn, harvesting time has arrived
Autumn. Chemical calculations and weather forecasts. Tips from the old, and the temptations of the young. Waiting for the day to harvest.
The transition to autumn is never so clear in the vineyards on the hills. There are years when there is a feeling that it is still far off, but we can feel it. In other years, we can perceive that it withdraws for a summer that extends beyond its natural boundary. Therefore, in this seasonal disorientation between the balance of grapes andthe imbalance of the seasons, we seek the final orientation. We calculate, inspectand predict. We ask the old for advice, we resist temptation. We wait. Then, one day, walking among the rows, we smell the air: it has become lighter. We observe the light: it has become softer. It is a sign that the generating force of Mother Nature has ended its generous actions. Nature acquires the female instinct of welcoming. Here we go! Harvesting time has arrived.
Winter, break to start again
Winter. The first cold weather. And early darkness. Vineyards no longer burdened and bare landscapes. Physical rest, also for the vineyards.
It is not the first cold weather. It is not the first darkness that catchesus unprepared. And not even a particular day. It is more simply a moment in any day, when we look out of the window and we can see bare vineyards. After much exuberance, the vines return to their woody nature and are no longer a support.
They are free from the season that has just passed, no longer burdened by heavy fruit or many light leaves. They let everything go and nurture a memory and a year. It is time for physical rest, also for vineyards. We shared 9 months of physical work everyday. Now, during this break, we find ourselves thinking about the deep bond we have with our land.
Then, suddenly one day it calls us: it is time to prune. It is only January, but returning to the vineyards already feels like spring to us. We left them with their fruit, which fell into our hands. And we find they are ready again for our manual work.
Man and his role
It is not only a question of making wine. There is a land. Men who work it. A story that describes it. It is important to feel the land. To feel every drop of rain that has wet it, every ray of sun that has hit it, every gust of wind that has shaken it, and every breath of air that has dried it. Feel it in the wine. Feel its entire path, where its fixed component, the vineyard, mingles with its variable component, the year.
In the vineyard, vines must be grown and grapes attended. Every year, there are climatic changes tobe faced and viticultural choices to be made. Vines are born to remain in the woods and creep up trees. In a vineyard, they are required to stay inone place, attached to a support, balancing on the ground. In a vineyard, balance is not an abstract concept: it is a concrete one. Leaves and grape clusters. Day and night. Hot and cold. Sugars and acids. The balance of these pairs will determine a good year for the vineyard on the land where it was planted. We found this hill several years ago. It brought us our special vocation. That of a strong bond with the land that possesses the senses of wine. We observed, smelled, touched, listened to it and imagined its flavour. We saw a vineyard there. And when this kind of encounter occurs, the best thing to do is to plant roots. We did not waste a minute. We did it. Favouring tradition over technology. Terroir over marketing. We did not touch the soil. We supported its slopes. We softened its terraces, where rows wind along in a horizontal pattern. We shaped those steps that, from far away, encourage us to look upwards. Our work is to accompany the vineyard on its path throughout the year. We must let the vineyard be what it wants to be during the year. We must let the year express its origin inthe wine: the vineyard.
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