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Vineyards along the Belice River are soggy with water

A late spring is good for wine

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A late spring is quite uncommon in Menfi.
Heavy rainfalls over the last three weeks are causing major inconvenience to farm works in the Belice Valley 

Between February and March I would usually talk about almond tree blossoming, beautiful days, blue skies and my first attempts at sun tanning.
On the contrary, it's been raining forever. Well, it's been three weeks now, but it seems like forever...

7-8 inches would be the average rainfalls of a whole winter in South-Western Sicily, except that we have had all of that rain in a very short time, and weather forecasts are still not nice at all. 

The Belice River is roaring with muddy waters turbulently flowing from the mountains, and we expect a flood in the next days: except for the inconvenience of further delaying all farm works, it's not so bad if it happens before the vines start to sprout up.

The River will bring lots of sediments to the soil, which will then turn into minerals and nutrients for La Vota vineyard, and extra fresh water supply that will collect in the deeper layers of the sandy terrain and will very much help during the summer.

 

 

All the vines are still dormant: the ground temperature is not warm enough, so they think it's too early to start weeping. This is great especially for the younger vines: as they are now focusing on wood-ripening, they will grow stronger and more resistant to diseases.
Also, a late spring means that we will most likely have a late budbreak, minimizing the risk of damages in the tragic event of frost or hail, and hopefully all of this rain will eventually reward us with a well-balanced harvest.

So, what's bad?
It's almost impossible to walk in the garden to pick lettuce and artichokes! 

 

Tags: La Vota, Tenuta Belicello, Fiume Belice, video

THE SHORT STORY

THE SHORT STORY

Grape variety: Inzolia grown in Dietro le Case vineyard
Soil: clay soil with calcareous components, very rich in limestones and sea minerals
Vineyard: planted in 1960s, head-trained bush vines
Winemaking: skin contact for 48 hours in steel tanks
Alcoholic fermentation: spontaneous, with wild yeast
Malolactic fermentation: spontaneous
Refining: 4 months on fine lees, in steel tanks
Aging: one oak barrel, where it ages in perpetuum with its sediment
Average production: a few dozen bottles every some years

Download wine sheet

WINEMAKING

The grapes are handpicked the first half of September, when they are fully ripe. The traditional pruning system - called "a pezzo e spalla" - and the age of the vines, allow slow constant ripening cycles and a great aromatic concentration.

The fermentation is spontaneous, with 2 days skin contact. After soft pressing, the fermentation continues for 8 days in steel tanks. After malolactic is completed, the wine refines on fine lees for about 4 months and is then racked into one single oak barrel, where it ages in perpetuum with its sediment.

The wine is bottled directly from the barrel no more than 2-3 times every decade.

TASTING NOTES

Altrimenti has a bright amber color, enlivened by golden hues. Its nose is predominantly tertiary, where fruity notes of apricot and ripe figs blend onto an intense and aromatic herbal background, enriched by roasted and dried nuts.

It is dry and full bodied to the palate, with a distinct savory personality that harmoniously meets a tannic finish.

SERVING TEMPERATURE: 54 - 58 °F
Pour Altrimenti in wide glasses, at a fresh but not chilled temperature.
Please avoid freezers and blast chillers, as well as a prolonged time in your home refrigerator: this wine is not filtered nor fined, and any temperature below 40 °F will mortify its complex aromas.

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