In order to make great wines, a fervent philosophy regarding work in both the vineyards and winery is essential, but most of all ... one must be willing to work hard.
90% of the work we do at La Spinetta is in the vineyards, with just 10% in the cellar.
The vast majority of our efforts at LA SPINETTA are dedicated to the vineyards which are treated with the utmost care, attention and respect, particularly in regards to agronomic practices and production quantities. We utilize no, or the absolute minimum possible amount of chemicals and maintain a relatively small production (only 17-20 hl (3.1-3.3 tons) per hectare). We appreciate that our vineyards have been in existence long before LA SPINETTA began making wine and we are aware that these same vineyards will outlast us.
Not having inherited our land through generations of winemakers, our vineyards were carefully selected. All of our vineyards face south, south-east or south-west and most od the vines are quite old (35-65 years). We believe that only vines of substantial age are able to contribute minerality, longevity, complexity, and the particular characteristics of a distinct terrain to the wine. We use the younger vines in the production to only make three wines: Barbera Cà di Pian, Langhe Nebbiolo and Il Nero di Casanova. All other wines are made from old vine grapes.
In the vineyard, each plant receives extensive year-round care. The yields are kept extremely low and we do not use chemical products, fertilizers or pesticides. 75% of the vineyards are worked accoring to biodynamic principles.
We make wine from indigenous grapes.
"We believe in grape origin, planting, growing and cultivating only indigenous grape varieties."
Piedmont is particularly famous for its red grapes, including Barbera, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto, as well as the white grape Moscato, indigenous varieties that have a long history in our region. We prefer to make wines that are typical of Piedmont, characteristic of the terrain in which the grapes are cultivated, reflecting a taste that is indisputably identifiable with their land of origin.
Our philosophy is to take one step back, away from the globalization of character and taste, going back to the roots and the history of our land. In Piedmont we grow the indigenous grape varieties Barbera, Nebbiolo and Moscato while the traditional Sangiovese, Colorino and Vermentino grapes are featured at our Tuscan Estate.
Our Green Harvest
Keeping yields low is what allows us to make great wines.
Between the beginning of July and the beginning of August, and up to three times each summer, we cut off bunches of unripe grapes in order to reduce production quantities and maximize quality. This practice is called " Green Harvest" and requires great skill, as the grape quantity needs to be reduced to an optimal level, taking into consideration both past and future weather conditions and particular characteristics of the vintage.
Only through the production of small quantities (yields of 2,500 bottle per hectare) are we able to transmit the characteristics and identity of the terrain and achieving great quality, obtaining an optimal concentration of sugar, a perfect ripeness of tannins and maintaining pure fruit flavors in the juice.
Giorgio himself supervises each Green Harvest. As growth, yields and grape size differ from vintage to vintage, it is very important for Giorgio to set goals in advance regarding how many bunches to cut for each variety and vineyard. The earlier the Green Harvest, the more sun and energy the remaing fruit is able to absorb before it is time for picking.
By far the busiest time of the year, this period requires creful judgement, experience and intuition.
Generally we start the harvest with our white varieties at the beginning of September: Moscato, Chardonnay and Sauvignon. At the end of September/beginning of October we harvest Barbera followed by Nebbiolo in the middle of October.
The perfect moment to begin picking in each individual vineyard is determined by the ripeness of the grapes, the sugar and acidity content, and overall weather conditions. Generally LA SPINETTA starts picking a week or two before most other producers in the area, since the extensive green harvest, carried out during the summer months tends to encourage a quicker ripening process of the fruit.
All of our grapes are picked by hand and placed in small plastic bins for transport to the winery. This manual process requires great attention from the moment the fruit is picked in the vineyard to the moment it is crushed in the cellar.
Our wines reflect the magic of the terrain and the vineyard, not the hand of the winemaker.
We believe that a wine should be a reflection of the magical characteristics of the soil and of the land, not overly influenced by the winemaker. We do not make Giorgio Rivetti wines; we make wines in the fullest respect of the vineyard - wines called Gallina, Starderi, Valeirano, Sezzana, Sassontino... Our work in the cellar also reflects this philosophy.
However, we also appreciate the benefits of technology in producing the highest quality wines. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology and the implementation of primarily new and one passage oak for ageing, we are able to maintain the level of hygiene in the cellar at 100%, a factor that is very important to us.
We use 80% new, medium toast French oak barrels (225 liter barriques) and the cellar is constantly controlled for temperature and humidity. We utilize rotofermenters for the first, alcoholic fermentation on skins and the majority of wines are neither filtered nor fined. We bottle employing the most modern bottling technology and only natural cork is used for closure. Modern technologies support a virtually error free winemaking process and every step is constantly controlled to ensure the highest quality.
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