Working in the vineyards
Just like any other garden or orchard, a vineyard requires extensive care. The more beautifully a vineyard is cultivated, the better grapes it will yield. This is why manual work in our vineyards takes clear precedence over any mechanical work. Our team spends weeks and months personally tending individual vines by hand. However, every vineyard is different and has its individual particularities. It is exactly these particularities that constitute a vineyard’s assets and make it unique. This is why it is a matter of course for us that the harvests of the different vineyards are fermented separately, respecting the characteristics of each vintage. For more character in every bottle!
In tune with the cycle of the seasons
Day and night, summer and winter define the workflows at the estate. When the vineyards are dormant in December, we too take a break. When vines start budding exuberantly from March onward and when the foliage begins to bear fruit in early summer, our lives become busy. When the August heat stops the growth of the foliage and the vines reach their balance, our rhythm slows down once more in tune with nature. The frantic work is replaced by the meticulous monitoring of each individual grape. Waiting for the day of the harvest, we do not only stay alert but also prudent. We cautiously walk among the grapes, moving slowly from one row of vines to the next to test the ripeness of the grapes here and there. It’s a time of great anticipation before October finally brings the harvest, which feels like a deep and redeeming sigh of relief. The cycle of the vineyard is once again completed. For us, however, the next key phase is just about to start: while the vines hibernate, we continue with making the wine in the cellar. We cultivate the must and carve out the typical character of our Sangiovese – until a new cycle starts once more in spring.
Organic cultivation methods
When planting the first vines at Podere Salicutti, Francesco Leanza took the intuitive decision to embrace the principles of organic winemaking. It was a matter close to his heart to live and work in harmony with his surroundings. In Montalcino, his winery was a pioneering venture, since nobody else in the area was practicing organic winemaking at the time. Francesco Leanza also demonstrated his decision publicly by subscribing to the official identification and control systems. As early as 1996, he added the according product information on the label of his first Rosso di Montalcino, becoming the first winemaker in Montalcino who was allowed to call his Rosso and Brunello a product “da Agricultura Biologica”.
The new owners, the Eichbauer family, consider this tradition as a most valuable asset and continue to manage the business as Francesco Leanza had intended by maintaining the principles of organic winemaking. The underlying philosophy favors typicity and terroir, two indispensable factors for achieving the quality and character of the Podere Salicutti wines.
Key aspects of our cultivation methods
- - Controlled seeding of grass, renewed periodically every one to three years
- - Mechanical ploughing under the vines
- - Fertilization with small amounts of well-composted cow manure from organic livestock farms every two to three years
- - No additional soil treatment other than shallow ploughing to prepare for seeding
Foliage and fruit
- - Pruning from January to March
- - Growing system in the old vineyard: spurred condon with six buds per vine
- - Growing system in the new vineyard (Piaggione Alto) from 2007: Guyot
- - Manual summer green pruning to eliminate some of the base offshoots and partial topping of branches longer than three feet
- - Manual thinning out to five to seven bunches per vine
- - Manual grape picking in small cases of 33 pounds each
- - Manual selection of grapes, bunch by bunch, at harvest time
- - Use of copper in the form of French bouillie bordelaise or similar preparations in very low doses (2-4.5 pounds of copper per 2.5 acres per season) together with different substances of plant or mineral origin (equisetum arvensis, propolis, lithothamnium, bentonite, etc.) to enhance the vines’ resistance
- - Use of pure natural sulphur as powder or diluted in water
The environmental criteria that we adhere to in the cultivation of vines were immediately implemented also in the winemaking practices. Technical and enological methods are applied with great level of attention and respect, and solely in favor of enhancing the intrinsic qualities of every wine, every vineyard and every vintage.
By faithfully following these principles, we ensure that nothing is added or subtracted from our grapes. Our goal is to have each express their own singular character.
We avoid any practices of stabilization, clarification or filtering in winemaking or any other process that could alter the chemical-biological equilibrium of the evolving wine.
The raw material from the vineyard evolves in the winery, sympathetically attended to by man. The only enological practices we apply are the control and maintenance of minimum SO2 needed to ensure the integrity of the wine during the years of aging, as well as the timely and careful decanting.
Our commitment to producing authentic Sangiovese wines means to appreciate and foster the character of each vineyard and to apply maximum care to achieve the best grape quality. An especially important factor is the choice of barrels for aging, and in particular the choice of wood, preferably highest-quality French oak. Also, the right capacity of containers is essential for creating balance and elegance in the wines. This is the reason why we have barrels and casks of varying capacities in the cellar that are used depending on the wine’s specific requirements.
To accentuate the character of each vineyard means that each vineyard is vinified separately. Every wine is given the name of the vineyard it originates from. We never blend different vintages. Our principles emphasize individuality and diversity, making each of our wines distinct and unique.
spontaneous, with autochthonous yeast and in stainless steel vats
all steel vats are equipped with a fully automatic temperature control system via water circulation
12 to 21 days, depending on type and vintage
spontaneous, by the grapes’ own lactic acid bacteria and in steel vats
Treatment after fermentation
Aging of Rosso di Montalcino/Dopoteatro Rosso IGT Toscana
18 months in 130 gallons tonneaux barrels made of French oak (20% new barrels), followed by six months in the bottle before the wine is marketed.
Aging of Brunello di Montalcino
33 months in the wooden barrel. Young wine is aged in 130 gallons tonneaux barrels, then progressively transferred to barrels of 260, 520, 780 and finally 1,040 gallons. Before going on sale, it ages another 15 months in the bottle. Our tonneaux and small barrels are made of French oak, our 1,040 gallons barrels of Slavonian oak.