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  Events Issue 53, June 2007   
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Vin Santo Avignonesi 1996

At Fattoria di Capezzine was held the ceremony of the opening of caratelli containing the monumental Avignonesi's Vin Santo and Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice

 The last May 12th, 2007 we had the pleasure to take part to the ceremony of the opening of caratelli containing Avignonesi's Vin Santo which, after a patient waiting of 10 years spent inside the vinsantaia - a sort of wine cathedral - it is given back to the present time in all of its uniqueness and extraordinary magnificence. The day started in the best possible way, kissed by the sun of a beautiful springtime day, with our arrival at 10:00 AM at Fattoria di Capezzine in Valiano di Montepulciano. Here it is in fact located the suggestive vinsantaia where are arranged hundreds of caratelli - 50 liters small barrels neatly divided according to vintage - in which are kept two of the most extraordinary wines of Italy and of the world. Avignonesi's Vin Santo and Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice are in fact the only two wines to have been awarded with the excellent score of DiWineTaste's Five Diamonds and One Star in the course of the five years of our editorial activity and wine review.


The beginning of the story: the wax is
being removed from the caratello
The beginning of the story: the wax is being removed from the caratello

 A suggestive event, one of those days which can be hardly forgotten, a ceremony where the absolute protagonist is always the same - the great Avignonesi's Vin Santo - a wine that, for its characteristics and qualities, could be defined as a wine came down from the Olympus, a special gift from Bacchus and Dionysus to us common mortals. When we arrive at Fattoria di Capezzine, we are welcomed by Laura Paolucci, who worked on the organization of the event. The ceremony begins with the welcome of Alberto Falvo - managing director of Avignonesi - and with the usual kindness and hospitality distinguishing the Falvo family. Before proceeding with the ceremony of the opening of caratelli, Alberto Falvo talks about the history of Avignonesi's Vin Santo and its production: a very interesting witness unfold with no secrets, and in particular, a passionate witness of what Vin Santo represents for the Falvo family and Avignonesi. Alberto Falvo explains to the participants the grapes - Grechetto, Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia for Vin Santo, Prugnolo Gentile for Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice - after having been dried on mats, are crushed and the concentrated must is transferred into caratelli, the traditional small 50 liters barrels.

 Caratelli are filled for about 45 liters, leaving a proper empty space necessary to the very slow fermentation - which can also take three years - and to the air which will contribute, together with time, to the evolution of this extraordinary wine. Caratelli are closed with a cork wrapped in a piece of linen fabric and sealed with wax. Caratelli are then committed to the magic of time and allowed to age for ten years. After this time, caratelli are opened, the Vin Santo is drawn off while leaving in the bottom the so called madre (mother), the unique, extraordinary and inimitable patrimony of Vin Santo and which will be used for the new Vin Santo. Alberto Falvo explained from 45-46 liters of every caratello, are obtained, after ten years and because of the effects of natural reduction caused by the pores of the wood, about 28 liters of Vin Santo. Before beginning the ceremony of the opening, we listened to the interesting contribution of Dr. Paolo Trappolini - wine maker of Avignonesi - who talked about technical details concerning this wine. Paolo Trappolini explained, among the many things, the concentration of sugar in the must obtained from the dried grapes is about 600 grams per liter, almost three times the content found in must destined to the production of “common” table wines.


A magic moment: Vin Santo Avignonesi
1996 is drawn off from the caratello after 10 years of waiting
A magic moment: Vin Santo Avignonesi 1996 is drawn off from the caratello after 10 years of waiting

 At the end of this interesting introduction, the group moves in front of caratelli containing the precious Vin Santo 1996 and everything is ready for the first hit of hammer which will break the seal of wax of the first caratello. The moment is very suggestive: an almost unreal silence and the eyes staring the hammer which will soon allow the view of the cork, guard and witness of a story began 10 years ago. It is now the turn of the brush cleaning the debris of wax, and a corkscrew is then screwed in the cork which is finally extracted from the caratello. The air suddenly gets full of strong and intense aromas: it is the voice of Vin Santo which in this way greets participants with its return, as if it were impatient to tell everything it saw and met during this long and amazing journey. A siphon is now put into the caratello which will allow the drawing of Vin Santo and which will be seen, for the first time, in all of its magnificence. The operations are supervised by wine maker Paolo Trappolini - who waits with a glass in his hands the spouting of Vin Santo - and cellar master Angiolino Sarcoli, supported by Orazio Capoccia and Piergiorgio Tacconi.

 The long wait is finally rewarded and the Vin Santo flows slowly and thick from the pipe: Paolo Trappolini fills a glass, watch it, smell it and finally tastes it while being observed by everyone, all being waiting for his response. The result is clear when the face of Paolo Trappolini is enlightened by a huge smile: Vin Santo Avignonesi 1996 is born. The glass is passed from hand to hand, everyone ideally united by the extraordinary magnificence of this suggestive moment expressed in the aromas and flavors coming out from the same glass, as to celebrate a sacred rite which everyone will certainly treasure in their memories. The ceremony continues with the opening of the second caratello: the same operations are repeated, same silence, same waiting, same magic with the air full of new aromas, a new glass filled with a new nectar to delight senses and emotions of the few participants. Everything is repeated for the remaining caratelli - twelve in total - and every time it is a new and amazing magic.


 

 According to a sensorial point of view, the differences found on any Vin Santo are impressive, every caratello contains a Vin Santo with its own color, aromas and flavors. Despite every caratello confirms the magnificence and the uniqueness of Avignonesi's Vin Santo, each of them - as it can be easily imagined - contains a wine with a proper personality and class, all of them being great although different. It is extraordinary to think all this is the result of conditions and factors which could give a nightmare to every wine maker during the production of every other wine, not for Avignonesi's Vin Santo. Oxidation, total absence of tasting and analyses during the whole time of production, fermentation which starts and stops all the time and according to the course of seasons and continuous variations of temperature. Everything committed to time and the wisdom of being capable of waiting great things to happen with no hurry, something which is widely rewarded by the magic of the ceremony of the opening of caratelli and to the renewed certainty of giving birth to something unique and unrepeatable. Welcome Avignonesi's Vin Santo and Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice 1996!

 



 Wine Producers  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Events column Corkscrew 
  Events Issue 53, June 2007   
Vin Santo Avignonesi 1996Vin Santo Avignonesi 1996 NewsNews  Contents 
Issue 52, May 2007 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 54, Summer 2007

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 Wine Producers  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Events column Corkscrew 
  Events Issue 53, June 2007   
Vin Santo Avignonesi 1996Vin Santo Avignonesi 1996 NewsNews  Contents 
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