Picking a bottle of wine from a restaurant menu or from the shelf of a supermarket it is only the last part of a very long procedure which starts months – if not years – before the wine is delivered and, finally, enjoyed. This procedure is repeated every single year: the vines are prepared during the winter and constantly checked in spring and summer: weather conditions are scrutinized, as too much or not enough rain are both a problem. It will be too hot this month? Or perhaps too cold? All these are the hassles of a winemaker. The crucial point arrives in autumn, when the harvest takes place and the efforts of a year are now visible in the form of ripe grapes, ready to become wine in a few weeks. End of the story? Not at all: the most remarkable wines take years to get delivered, after a careful aging process.
This is the case of POLVANERA’s red wines from Apulia (Southern Italy), the winery estate established by Filippo Cassano and his family more than 30 years ago. Guided by his father’s expertise, he decided to bet on a winemaking made in purity, mainly using a single-variety vinification approach to faithfully reflecting their own characteristics and “terroir”. POLVANERA’s mission is to keep traditions alive but enhancing them through the most modern techniques of the organic farming and winemaking. Wines rest in stainless steel barrels, and red wines are bottled and stored to age in a limestone deep-carved cellar, at the constant temperature of 18°. No elevation in barrels is ever given, to avoid covering the delicate and elegant scents of the native varieties and to deliver the authentic taste of these extraordinary wines.
The 120-hectares estate produces only native grape varieties: Primitivo, of course, but also Aleatico, Aglianico, Minutolo, Moscato, Marchione, Maresco, Bianco d’Alessano and Falanghina. The unique rural landscape of Murgia, with dry-stone walls and white oaks framing the vineyards, is the perfect scenario where these noble productions took place since Roman times, using “bush training” for the old vineyards and “spur pruning” for the new ones.
The harvest at POLVANERA was completed just a few days ago, and maybe this is the right time to get some clues about what we are going to expect from some of their most remarkable wines. Who can tell us better than Filippo Cassano himself? “We are extremely happy this year, due to the excellent quality of the grapes. A dry summer gave as a result a low production in terms of quantity, but a very high quality in change. We expect excellent wines from this harvest”.
[Question] What is your approach in winemaking?
“We are a family-run company producing organic native Apulian wines only, and in very limited amounts: we can’t compete in quantity, only in quality, by offering wines who faithfully represents our production area and its wine-making traditions. Our vines literally pop up from the limestone, in a windy and dry landscape; we are located not far from the sea, but still on the hills, where thermal excursions between night and day give the grapes signature scents and acidity. Wine fragrances thus are mineral and balanced. In a way, they are different than others. That’s why we present them as they are, without blending or adding anything: you may like them or not, but at least they are distinguishable. The more we will make consumers aware of this approach, the more we will get competitive”.
“Less is more”, we can say.
I can put it this way: less chemicals, less manipulation, less “wood scent” in the glass – all this is “more” only if the quality of the grapes and consequently of the wine is outstanding.
What about your next steps in Thailand?
We started working here four years ago with a long-term vision and 2022 was very positive for us. The next step for 2023 is introducing one of our signature product: Polvanera 16, a version of Primitivo Gioia del Colle DOC which comes from a single 70-years-old vineyard called “Vigneto San Benedetto”. The aging process takes 3 years: 24 months in steel tanks at 22° Celsius and 12 months in the bottle. Its deep-ruby colour and its complex bouquet of red berries, herbs, liquorice, and graphite are combined with a tender, fresh and mineral taste. It is a powerful wine, but still easy to drink, with a rich and very long conclusion.
Sight: Deep ruby-red with violet dazzles
Nose: Elegant scents of little berries (blackberry, red mulberry, sour cherry and dark “Ferrovia” cherry) and notes of flowers (viola) together with aromatic herbs, liquorice and graphite.
Palate: Tender, fresh and mineral, supported by excellent tannins. Rich, infinite conclusion