GRAPES CAN GROW AND MATURE IN THE MOST UNEXPECTED OF WAYS
They say that if a pregnant woman listens to Mozart, her new-born will be more intelligent. According to Milanese-born Carlo Cignozzi, who now lives in Tuscany, Mozart can have the same effect on grapes. Mr Cignozzi, a solicitor, decided to leave Milan more than 15 years ago to dedicate himself to wine production in the Montalcino region. The day he went to check on the land he intended to buy, his car radio was playing Mozart’s Requiem at full blast.
It was an epiphany, he says. He started to test the effect the music was having on his vineyards. He installed cheap speakers among the lines and after a few years, he upgraded to better ones, thanks to a sponsorship.Ten years later, Paradiso di Frassina – that’s the name of his property – revealed its first results. And so interesting did they turn out to be, that the University of Florence got wind of what was happening and began investigating further. Low frequency music, which is fairly typical of sacred and baroque music, seems to make leaves grow greener, speeds up the metabolism and the process of photosynthesis and the sound waves keep the insects away.
From Mozart-inspired wine, to salty wine. Flavio Franceschet’s project is called Le Vigne Ritrovate (Rediscovered Vineyards). Flavio is a retired architect and teacher, and has made it his mission to collect and recover the grapes scattered in far-flung and forgotten orchards and pergolas across Venice - from Scalzi’s convent to San Francesco della Vigna’ while barrels are located in the San Michele cemetery. Every year a handful of people and their kids gather to pick the grapes and harvest them, treading them barefoot as was done in the olden days.
They do not use sulphites or pesticides; and they are aided by two or three wine makers who work with them pro bono to attain the perfect quality. The result is a white (“In Vino Veritas”) and a red (“Zitelle Fertili”, fertile spinsters), with a salty taste and notes of peach, pepper and mustard. The wine is not for sale and only members are able to enjoy it.
It might not be the perfect business plan, but thanks to their work and passion, Venice has rediscoverd its forgotten land. And last but not least – water, which turns out to be the best type of cellar. Since bottles of champagne were discovered in a wrecked ship, it has become clear that water guarantees the perfect combination of ‘soundproofness’, humidity and temperature. Piero Bison put 6500 bottles of Abissi-Riserva to mature off the coast of Portofino and the Estate of Paguro of Brisighella matures his 10 thousand bottles in an abandoned ship in the Adriatic sea.
And whilst we’re on the topic of unusual wine, would you believe me if I told you the white cliffs of Dover can produce a very good sparkling wine? We should thank global warming for this phenomenon, as decades ago growing grapes in England was out of question. But as the soil is very similar to that in the Champagne region of France, their chardonnay and pinot noir offer up a very tasty English Sparkling Wine.