The Vicario-Wesley family of Villa Sant'Andrea announces the newly formed agricultural business, Societa' Azienda Agricola Sant'Andrea a Bacialla, s.r.l., in the Commune of Cortona, Region of Tuscany, Italy of which Lindsay C. Wesley has been named Farm Administrator. Ms. Wesley is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, where she earned her B. A. degree in Environmental Studies. The company will focus primarily on viticulture, producing Toscana I.G.T. red wine of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and limited production of high quality olive oil. All our products are exported to the USA by Salute! LLC located in Greer, South Carolina.
Societa' Azienda Agricola Sant'Andrea a Bacialla, s.r.l., our family farm owned company, currently is planted and producing Cortona D.O.C. red wine with Sangiovese grapes. Other varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes.
The Italian company, Societa' Azienda Agricola Sant'Andrea a Bacialla, s.r.l., rents another 1.5 hectares of olive groves, currently producing between 70-120 liters of Olio Spremuta, or extra fine first press olive oil, wild sour cherries, called Cantiano or Viscole, Mirto berries, and various herbs, besides the olive oil, from the various fruit trees and herbs also growing on the rented portion of land. The rented land is part of the property of Villa Sant'Andrea.
As Administrator of Societa' Azienda Agricola Sant'Andrea a Bacialla, s.r.l., Lindsay C. Wesley aspires to produce biologically sound, economically responsible products. The farm was recently certified E. U. Biological.
Lindsay C. Wesley
Societa' Azienda Agricola Sant'Andrea a Bacialla, s.r.l., is a separate company from Sant'Andrea a Bacialla, Inc.
The Vicario family taught Renato Vicario as a young child that when selecting grapes for wine, you start by tasting the soil. Working alongside his grandparents and great-grandparents, he learned how to taste, and this knowledge and long time experience is at the foundation of all VICARIO wines and spirits.
The VICARIO vineyards at Sant’Andrea a Bacialla, in Tuscany near the border of Umbria, are planted in Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes, and are situated at an altitude of between 380 and 430 meters above sea level with southwestern exposures. The climate is extraordinarily good for this selection of grapes. As a relatively smallvineyard, 10 acres in the D.O.C. production area of Cortona, it is possible to work by hand, tending each vine, to insure the utmost quality production. The grapes, as well as other fruits grown on the property are Certified E. U. Biological, which follows very closely to the standards of Certified USDA Organic. The work in the cellar continues in a natural manner, using no chemicals, other non-natural additives, nor animal derived products to the wine, and can be considered appropriate for Vegans. We are strong advocates of recycling materials in our process, operating in a manner that will preserve the earth for future generations.
The Soil: Geological studies showed Pleistocene sedimentation with a strong fluvial clay origin and layers of low lime content sand, a period of time that corresponds with the end of the last glacial period, offering the grapes a complex mixture of minerals. A few sections still showed the result of the Tertiary period uplifting of the seabed 30 million years ago. This period offers sandy soil on the surface and a loamy sub-soil, perfect for Cabernet, as the roots require good soil oxygen through good drainage, appropriate range of pH, reasonable rooting depth, adequate soil water holding capacity, and ample fertility.
The First Tanks
About the Grapes
Sangiovese (san-jo-veh-zeh) is a red Italian wine grape variety whose name derives from the Latin Sanguis Jovis, "the blood of Jupiter" and has been said to have been first cultivated in Tuscany from wild Vitis vinifera vines. It is the grape of most of central Italy from Romagna down to Lazio, it is also used to make varietal wines such as Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino or Sangiovese di Romagna, as well as modern "Super Tuscan" wines. Many theories on the origin of Sangiovese dated the grape to the time of early Etruscan winemaking. Sangiovese has fresh fruity flavors of strawberry and a little spiciness, but it readily takes on oaky, even tarry, flavor when aged in barrels, creating a meditation wine. Strongly influenced by the terroir at Sant’Andrea, the Sangiovese wine has a refreshing clean taste with cherry, mulberry and delicate floral aromas. The silky tannins integrate beautifully and leave a clean persistent finish.
Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognized through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. DNA evidence determined that Cabernet Sauvignon was the offspring of Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc and was most likely a chance crossing that occurred in the 17th century. In many aspects, Cabernet Sauvignon can reflect the desires and personality of the winemaker while still presenting familiar flavors that express the typical character of the variety. The harvest time of the grapes at different ripeness levels can mean different taste and aromas, and add some layer of complexity to the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon typically exhibits strong fruit flavors of black cherries, black currant and plum.
About the VICARIO (TM) Wine Making Process
The vineyards of Sant’Andrea a Bacialla, where the wine is produced, covers a total of 10 acres in the DOC production area of Cortona, in Tuscany near the border of Umbria, on the hills overlooking the Chiana valley, not far from the shores of Lake Trasimeno, but protected from its mist.
Situated at an altitude of between 380 and 430 meters above sea level with southwestern exposures, the vines are planted at a density of about 2100 vines per acre and kept at simple Guyot cordon.
All of the grapes are tended throughout the year with careful attention to the present and future health of the soil. This means we use cover crops, like legumes, for fertilizer, and, sparingly, very aged sheep manure from a farm in the area that we know well. Only products certified for organic growing are used in the vineyards with no offending chemical spraying or dusting.
Although the certification is currently pending, Sant’Andrea a Bacialla practices organic/biodynamic viticulture, always with pure and natural wine in mind, as well as being strong advocates of clean agricultural practices.
After hand-picking in October, the grapes are taken to the “cantina” our processing facility, just a few minutes from the vineyards, and softly de-stemmed before being deposited in the fermentation vats, stainless steel open tanks with a small top opening. The fermentation starts nearly immediately and slowly evolves (as no additional yeast is used) over 4 to 7 weeks, a much longer period of time than in most wine fermentations. No sulfites are added at this time, nor at any later time, in order not to kill the natural yeast and flavors already present on the grapes. In this way the dignity of the grape is preserved, and the natural aromas of the terroir become evident.
The must, or “young wine” which consists of the freshly pressed grape juice, the skins, seeds, and small pieces of stems of the fruit, is delicately pumped from the bottom of the tank and sprayed on the pomace cap, or, the more solid parts of the must, 3 to 4 times daily, at which time the must temperature and sugar content is also recorded.
This gentler, extended fermentation period, allows the new wine to sit on the grape skins for a longer time, extracting the maximum possible flavor from the fruit. After the fermentation is finished and the sugar level has zeroed, the new wine is extracted and kept on its yeasts during the colder winter, until the malolactic fermentation can naturally start in the spring as temperature rises. After this second, very important fermentation, the wine is then decanted into new tanks and left to stabilize, in anaerobic conditions, until bottling time. After two years developing in either stainless steel or in wood barrels, the wine is ready for bottling, and then shipping to the USA.
Immediately after fermentation has completed, the pomace is taken to Alboni Distillery, a small family company with incredibly high distilling standards, that works together with the winemaker to construct a superb Grappa.