An Interview with Boscarelli Winery
The Boscarelli Vineyards
What is the history of the land you are on? What was it used for before your winery owned it or did someone else owned it previously?
Boscarelli is located in Cervognano, a historically famous area for quality grapes. In the 1960s, farmers lived here, but before us, there were not many extensive vineyards. Our grandfather began planning with mixed cultivars in 1961.
What clones and selections are used?
At the time, when we planted our first nine hectares between 1964 and 1970, we planted 70% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile), complemented by Cannaiolo, Mammolo, and white grapes. In 1988, we began replanting older vineyards, gradually purchasing new vineyards, bringing our total proprietary hectares to 16 – for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Over this time, we made a selection of our older Sangiovese clones, for 35%. For the rest, we used many clones, such as: Ch20, Tebano19, F9, Pa1, and Pa8. For Cannaiolo and Mammolo, we used our old clones exclusively. As for white grapes, we didn’t replant any.
We recently bought La Tenuta delle Cerraie, a farm with five hectares of old vineyards, going back to the 1970s with 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cannaiolo Mammolo and white grapes.
There are also two hectares of Merlot in Cortona.
Where does the water sources for the vineyard(s) come from?
We don’t have any provisions for water and in any case, DOCG regulations do not allow for any type of irrigation unless in an emergency for young vineyards.
What trellising systems does the winery use? Why do you prefer that system?
We use an Espalier training system, which is about 1.7 meters high and about 2 meters wide for an average of 6,000 plants per hectare. We prune using a double Guyot method and we are exclusively organic and partially sustainable and do not use herbicides.
What are the different soil types from each of the vineyard sites? What do these soils do for your wines?
The nine initial hectares have red soils with alluvial origins and a gravelly structure. The 7 additional hectares, especially in the Nocio area are more classic for Montepulciano, with a higher percentage of clay and sand from more recent eras.
The climate and soils of Cervognano in particular, in terms of their characteristics, allow us to reach full ripening, maintain good acid content, which gives freshness and character to the wine.
Do any of your vineyards have names? If so, is there a story behind those names?
All of our vineyards, even the small parcels, often have names that come from trees on the property: for example, Il Nocio, for a walnut tree; il Susino (plum), il Leccio (holy oak), il Canneto (for reeds), il Melograno (pomegranate). But we also use names that for where they are located on our property, such as Sottacasa (below the house), Sottacantina (below the cellar), Sottoufficio (below the office) or the Vigna del Bosco (the wooded vineyard).
If you have large vineyards, do you only use a portion of the vineyard to produce specific wines? How did you choose what portions to use?
Absolutely. We do many harvests and fermentations from each single vineyard. All single fermentations remain separate until we start blending, some for the cru wines, others into the bulk of our production, our base Nobile wine.
The choice mainly comes down to the consideration of the different characteristics of each single parcel, in terms of soil composition, water retention based on incline, and sun exposure, especially at sun up and sundown and general sloping. The convergence of these characteristics leads to the same ripening of the grapes, despite being located in different areas of the vineyard. As a consequence, we pass through the vineyards three times to pick the grapes at their peak maturation.
The Boscarelli Winery & Winemaking Process
What makes your winery different from others in the region? In Italy?
We are located in a historic area for the production of red wines made from Sangiovese, which, because of the climate and territory, make an important wine, rich and deep but at the same time elegant and fragrant.
What is the winery’s long term plans regarding production levels, vineyard replanting, style of winemaking, consumer targets, etc..
Our project was and will remain to produce a traditional Nobile wine but with an openness and interest in innovation and experimentation. We undoubtedly seek to transmit the aromas and personality of the area, with precision and sophistication, pride and ambition to produce an important wine.
The goal is to gradually and consistently grow, passionately cultivating each aspect of production and maintaining the Boscarelli Nobile style.
What vintage had the most challenges and what were those challenges? How did you overcome them?
Two periods must be mentioned:
- Before the 2000s, or rather when the problem was mainly excessive rain and the consequent difficulties in ripening, especially 1980.
- After the 2000s, or rather, when the problem became the opposite: heat and drought conditions, such as 2003.
In both cases, in terms of production, we didn’t bottle Nobile or if we did, we made very few bottles, like in other years, such as 1984, 1989, 1992, 2003 or 2014.
In both periods mentioned, we were committed to managing and replanting the vineyards to avoid this problem. The selection of single-vineyard parcels and grapes picked at different times, vinified separately, is still a winning tool. But in any case, Boscarelli’s philosophy is to make wine in the vineyard, not the cellar.
What cooperage does the winery use?
Historically, we use large Slavonian oak casks measuring 10-40 hectoliters in size. In the 1990s and 2000s, we changed over to smaller French tonneaux and barrique. Around 2010, we went back to larger casks, but still French. Troncais, Nevers, Allier and tapered-cone vats for the fermentation (holding 40 hL). We also only use indigenous yeasts.
Is there a philosophy around cooperage?
The philosophy behind the oak we use is about bringing out and giving the way complexity without masking or excessively modifying the balance and freshness of the wine.
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