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La Buccaneer Winery
Last Friday the organic class took a field trip to La Buccaneer Winery that is located right outside of the city walls of Arezzo. When we got to the vineyard, we went inside and the vintner greeted us. He told my class about the extensive process they use to make different wines and the chemistry behind it. Honestly I do not remember very much because he was talking so slowly and sometimes it was hard to pay attention when he was talking slowly. I do remember how the basics on how they make wine. At the winery they have these huge what it appears to be stainless steal containers that regulates the temperature of the wine while it ferments. The venter said these containers were better for cleaning and regulating temperature. I thought this was interesting since the older wineries use barrels.
The venter mentioned that for both red and white grape they de-steam the grapes but after the processes for white and red wines are different.
For white wines, the venter will crush and press the grapes before putting the must into the large stainless steel vats the ferment.
Once fermented, they clarify and stabilize the white wine. Then they age and bottle the white wine.
Red wine is a tad different than white wine. The red wine is crushed and then put in the vat to ferment. The color from the skins will give the wine the color. The peels will float to the top while the must is at the bottom. The venter takes a hose and cycles the must from the bottom to the top in order to mix it. This is important to the health of the yeast. The venter carefully selects each strain of yeast he or she, in this case he, will use because the strain gives the wine a certain flavor. Once the wine is done fermenting, it clarifies and stabilizes. Then it is matures and is bottle.
After the venter told us the process he uses to make the wine, he took us outdoors to see the vineyard. He mentioned how this winery is as organic as possible. They do not use harsh chemicals. Instead they use copper and sulfur to spray their grapes. I honestly forgot the name of the grape that they grow, but I do remember the venter telling us that tall the rain is bad for the grapes. Next, we started the wine tasting.
The woman that I assume owns the vineyard served us 4 wines, one white, two reds, and one dessert wine, and she taught us how to judge a wine. First step is to look at the wine. Judge the color of the wine to tell if it’s a new wine or an old one. Next, you smell the wine. Then you taste the wine. You want to get enough to coat your mouth. Lastly, you judge the aftertaste and how it sits on your tongue.
The first wine I think is called Donna Patties—Buccia nera—Toscana Bianco. This was a white wine. The grapes that were used to make this wine are 40% Trebbiano ,40% Malvasia, and 20% Grechetto. The altitude that the grapes were grown at is 300-400 mt a.s. and the soil that grapes used are Sand, clay, and gravel. The vine training uses the cordon spur system. The grapes are harvested at the end of September all the way to the first half of October. Fermentation and maturation occur in a stainless steel vat that is able to control the temperature. The temperature to be served at should be 10 degrees celsius. According to the pamphlet the venter gave us, The wine has a straw yellow color with golden highlights, it smells like acacia flowers, yellow mature fruit, with peach, and it is suppose to taste soft and powerful. To me this wine was very light and smelled fruity and soft. I could taste acidity, but it was not too harsh. The wine went very well with the cheese. The cheese did not make the wine very sweet. In my opinion this wine was a little harsher than most whites I am use to.
The second wine that we tasted is called Syrah Toscana. It is made from 100% syrah grapes. Vinification occurs in steel tanks that are temperature controlled. Fermentation last about 15 days at 29 degrees celsius and maceration of skin is about 1 week. What is really neat about this wine is that it uses spontaneous natural malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in a French oak barrel for 6 months. It is a ruby red wine, which means it is a young wine. This wine had a lot more flavor than the white did.The Syrah made my lips tart and it left my mouth dry. It was a soft taste. After I swallowed, a taste of black pepper lingered. The woman taught us about her wines called this one elegant.
The Third wine was called Sassocupo. This one was my favorite by far. The grapes that were used are 90% sangiovese and 10% canaiolo. The grapes are harvested between late September and early OCtober. It ferments in a temperature controlled steel tank. It also undergoes malolactic in the steel tank. After maturation, the wine matures for 12 months in a 30hl French oak barrel. The pamphlet says that the wine is suppose to have floral notes of violets and of ripe dark cherry and crisp blueberry. It also says that the wine is very dry and velvety. The smell of this red wine was really strong. When I let the wine sit on my tongue, I noticed that it was really dry and it felt like the moisture was being sucked out my tongue. To me the Sassocupo taste like really, really black cherry. After tasting, I smelt the wine again and I picked up a hint of wood.
The last one that we tasted was the Vino Santo. This is a dessert wine. This wine was quite of few people’s favorites; however, I was not a fan. This wine was a honey orange color and had a sweet honey aroma. It looked like honey and it tasted like honey. To me this wine reminded me of Jack Daniels honey whiskey and it made me want to barf. I was not a fan.
I really like the field trip we took. It was very eye opening seeing the where the wine is made and listening to the venter explain the complex process used to make wine. This field trip was definitely a cultural eye opening experience on the importance of oenology.