INNOVATION IN TRADITION: the story of the CILIEGIOLO 2.0 project is encompassed in this single sentence. A story that comes from the great joint work of vine growers, analytical laboratory and research institutions with a common goal, giving new life to Ciliegiolo through the overcome of its original characteristics of “ready to drink” wine by giving it qualities able to persist in time. A project driven by love for the territory and its treasures, curiosity and the desire to experiment. A project that we want to recount you here.
The enhancement of the Ciliegiolo di Narni was carried out through the improvement of the organoleptic qualities of the grapes. Particular attention has been paid to the aromatic profile whose the finesse, persistence and complexity are characteristics much sought after by the consumer these days. These can be modulated in the vineyard through appropriate practices during the growing season. The control of berry ripening was implemented through the early defoliation of the vineyard – applied in pre / post flowering – a functional strategy to reduce the risk of decoupling between the technological and phenolic maturity of the berry in the current scenario of changed climatic conditions. As consequence of early defoliation, the berries are smaller, optimizing the surface-volume ratio and their aromatic and technological qualities. Along with the practice of defoliation, has been applied a foliar nutrition urea-based which is also a technique that aims the delaying of the senescence of the leaves, favoring a slower and more delayed maturation during the season. The interaction between these two practices has influenced the micro-environmental conditions in the canopy, reducing the biotic stresses and preserving the phenolic and aromatic components.
The enhancement of the Ciliegiolo took shape in the design phase through the development of three potential new wines with very distinct characteristics, in a logic of extreme differentiation of the production and possible placement on the market. The poor persistence over time of intensity and coloration of Ciliegiolo in conventional winemaking, which relegated it to a wine of “ready to drink”, was overcome thanks to the rediscovery of the ancient technique of “Governo all’uso Toscano“, consisting in the drying of the grapes at controlled temperature condition in a logic of safeguarding the aromas and aromatic connotations of varietal type. In this way innovative products with a high “anthocyanin” content and great color, structure and body were obtained, in line with the so-called “reinforcing wines” or dry withering wines produced in “Amarone style”. Thanks Also to the drying of the grapes in a controlled environment, a Ciliegiolo passito was developed, aimed at testing the potential of the variety to produce a great dessert wine. Furthermore, the attitude of Ciliegiolo to produce interesting sparkling wines with the Classic Method was tested, in which, to the development of adequate sparkling bases with important oenological connotations, a process innovation linked to the “second fermentation” and “tirage” procedures was combined. These specific techniques, aimed to the exaltation of fruity connotations, can certainly represent an element of differentiation in the “sparkling” panorama already very crowded. Upon completion of the project, two products have also been created with a view to tasting and food pairings, and in particular a jam and a balsamic vinegar of Ciliegiolo, both made from fermentation marc. In both cases the products are nearing completion, but the preliminary results are absolutely encouraging.