HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 1 HARVEST DIARY 2022
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 3 2 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO Even this harvest has come to an end in the best possible way and, with the vinifications proceeding in the cellar, we begin to take stock of this vintage. The word that characterizes the season that has just ended is certainly awareness. It is the harvest of awareness because we have realized once and for all that the climate is not only changing, but for a good part it has already changed, and we see its effects on our vineyards every day. We are also aware that the changes will continue, and that the biggest challenge we will have to face in the coming years will be the adaptation of viticultural practices to the new climate scenario, which challenges us with new problems that require innovative solutions. However, awareness also concerns the fact that the vines, despite a season that was by far the hottest and driest in recent The winemaker’s view Riccardo Fratton Enologist years, have been able to resist and adapt, managing to give us ripe and balanced bunches, with a beautiful concentration coming from the heat of the vintage but also with excellent levels of acidity. The first tastings reveal wines of character, which denote structure but also verticality, and which we are convinced will be able to amaze us in the years to come. This is the greatest awareness that the 2022 vintage leaves us, that the union between the resilience of the vine, the vocation of the terroir and the daily commitment to caring for the vineyard gives us the tools to face and overcome the challenges imposed by climate change, to continue produce great wines that express the vocation of this fantastic territory.
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HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 7 6 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO Pre-harvest phase Thanks to the rains that characterized the end of summer 2022, which brought about 140mm in the space of a few weeks, the conditions in the vineyard changed suddenly: with great pleasure we witnessed a general recovery of the vigour of the bunches which, after months of hot and dry climatic conditions, they quickly swelled, returning to dimensions more suited to Sangiovese in this last phase of maturation. Precisely because of this new and much happier agronomic situation, we have decided to proceed with a second finishing step of the thinning. In the first step, done in midJuly, we had concentrated on arranging the bunches so that they were free and not “tangled”, but we had not unloaded the plants too much as the conditions were very hot and dry and, therefore, we would have caused more harm than good. In this second step, however, we return to the vineyard to thin out the points where the production load would be excessive: this is the ideal moment, the veraison phase is completely finished, from now on the plant can no longer grow the berries for cell multiplication and, therefore, we have no risk of breaking the berries on the bunches that remain after thinning.
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 9 8 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO In the countryside, once the harvest is complete, there are many activities to be carried out for the good maintenance of the vineyard. First of all, we dedicate ourselves in activity that concern the soil, we work the soil by carrying out the “ ripping”, a particular agronomic operation with which we decompact the soil without turning it over and modifying its layers, so as to respect its composition and not cause alterations to the microflora. After ripping, we distribute an organic fertilizer in pellets, which brings organic matter to the soil and revitalizes the microbiological component. Being cold pelletized, in fact, the microorganisms contained in it are kept alive and therefore, with this fertilization, we bring vital and active microflora to the soil. Post harvest phase The beginning of the new phenological cycle Once the fertilization is finished, let’s refine the soil, lightly burying the fertilizer in order to prepare the seedbed of green manure which will follow in a few days. This year we have slightly modified the mix of selected essences, raising the percentage of legumes to bring more nitrogen to the soil, and increasing the quantity of seeds distributed per hectare, in order to have more biomass. After a year with such particular conditions, the goal is to restore more nitrogen and organic matter than usual to the soil, with the aim of helping the vines to store reserve substances that will prove to be precious for the next year. Simultaneously with the sowing of green manure, we also add mycorrhizae to the soil, a complex of fungi that establishes a symbiosis with the roots of the plants, helping them to absorb water and nutrients.
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 11 10 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO New Vineyard: Updates from the campaign Each vineyard has characteristics that make it unique. We value this uniqueness through a single mission capable of expressing our vocation for excellence. In 2021 we decided to uproot an old vineyard of Cabernet and Merlot, which was replanted with Sangiovese, the main variety of San Polo and, more generally, of the Montalcino area. This is a plot of land where clay reigns supreme, for the youngest and most surprising agronomic project of the San Polo estate. The soil is composed of a large percentage of clay, a component which gives a lot of vigor to the plants. Precisely for this reason we decided to plant a less vigorous Sangiovese clone in order not to encourage this characteristic too much and to avoid grapes not concentrated in aromas and substances. We decided to plant the first seven rows with Moscato Bianco to produce Moscadello di Montalcino DOC in the form of a late harvest, a historic wine of Montalcino since the 1500s: a true tribute to tradition which has required a great deal of research on the part of the winemaker Riccardo Fratton. Moscato bianco is an aromatic variety, early and not fond of water stress, it develops perfectly in clayey soils and does not need hot and dry areas for a good maturation. New installations Our vineyards Vigna Nuova and Vigna Selva: 4 hectares in total are in full testing phase. We preferred to give these plants time and not speed up the process. Our goal has always been to make them root well in the ground. This year we carried out the first curtain wire pruning for the first time, during the winter pruning we will keep one of the two branches. These two new vineyards were planted with the guyot training system, there are many studies, in fact, on the benefit of training Sangiovese in guyot form. This training system favors the most sparse bunches and the sap flow is always renewed and tends to make the stem grow. This is a test that we are carrying out to understand how our Sangiovese performs with this training system. THE IMPORTANCE OF STONES Attention to detail is the secret for a quality wine: every little detail contributes to the final result. For this reason we are very attentive to the needs of the rows, trying to adapt post-harvest processing to the needs of the vineyards. During the year we often find ourselves carefully monitoring all our land, taking the many medium and large stones brought to the surface by working the land carried out in the post-harvest period. This particular structural feature of the soil of San Polo has numerous benefits: it forms the supporting skeletal framework, gives it minerality and contributes to optimal drainage of the water in our land. In fact, Sangiovese does not particularly like too much water available: for this reason it is essential to adapt the subsoil to its nutritional needs. Any excessive dimensions of some stones that are brought to the surface, however, can constitute a danger in the vineyard, causing accidents and limiting their drainage power. To remedy this problem, one of the activities that our country boys are carrying out these days is precisely this: crushing the largest boulders into smaller portions, which will be better redistributed in the vineyard, intervening to balance the structural composition of the soil.
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 13 12 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO Late pruning Pruning… a delicate and fundamental activity, almost sacred. A truly important moment for the vine, an indispensable aid for the correct growth of future branches. For some years now, in San Polo we have adopted the Simonit & Sirch method, a pruning technique that preserves the health of the vine, extending its life cycle and productivity. The method consists in always pruning on the young wood with a slow and targeted approach, an operation that basically brings two advantages: in addition to preventing wood diseases, it recovers a vineyard management philosophy that gives value to the old vines, increasing the quality of the yields. Why do you think we have postpone this activity to mid February? We will answer below. Unfortunately, climate change is causing great changes in the process of natural growth of the vine: the increase in temperature in the winter season, in fact, causes the budding of the plants to come earlier. The small and shy buds peep out believing they are in spring, but sudden frosts risk damaging them. Although San Polo stands on a hill in a privileged position, where the temperature is mild and the winds caress and protect the branches from the winter cold, we have decided to protect ourselves and prevent this inconvenience with a non-invasive method that accompanies the development of the plant in this scenario of changing climate. By delaying the practice of dry pruning for a month and a half, in fact, the plant postpones its budding for a couple of weeks, avoiding running into the rigid temperatures that often occur towards the end of winter. A further example of how man’s work must respectfully follow the needs of the vineyard ecosystem, adapting to its changing needs with simple but fundamental strategies to protect its health.
14 DIARIO DELLA VENDEMMIA 2022 | SAN POLO Green manure 2022 One of the processes we particularly care about is green manure, i.e. the sowing of different varieties of essences and plants which allows the soil to be fertilized in a natural way. The soil is preparing to face a new year and for this reason it needs organic substances that bring nourishment and vigor. The essences sown this year are: legumes (Alexandrian clover, squarroso clover, vetch, field beans, protein pea) which release nitrogen into the soil creating a natural fertilization; brassicaceae (mustard and horseradish) with the task of decompacting the soil, favoring good oxygenation and healthiness. Finally, the floral essences including phacelia and crimson clover which produce colorful flowers and attract insects to the vineyard, helping to create a balanced ecosystem in which beneficial insects fight harmful ones by protecting the vines. 15
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 17 16 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO The selection of the buds takes place in mid-May, an important moment for the process in the vineyard, which requires particular attention in identifying badly positioned buds. In fact, not all shoots are positive for the plant, because sometimes their nourishment subtracts useful energy to be channeled into the foliar or reproductive system. We want to carry out this operation meticulously and, precisely for this reason, we carry out two steps: the first at the beginning of the season, so as not to waste energy on the plant and, the second, after about a month. This year, in particular, due to a cool season with little The selection of sprouts sunshine, the shoots have delayed their growth, leading us to wait for temperatures to rise, adapting to the seasonal trend. In fact, if we had performed this operation earlier, in all probability it would not have brought the results we hoped to achieve. Here at San Polo we always listen to nature, because getting in tune with what surrounds us is the only way to fully understand its essence. Warm but breezy days and cool nights. At the end of May 2022 flowering began in San Polo, the period of the year in which the inebriating scent of the vine is in the air as it prepares to express all its scents. A real visual and olfactory show but with a fleeting nature, because it is destined to last just over a week. This year’s flowering enjoyed an ideal climate, giving us particularly luxuriant and verdant vegetation, with very good growth of the shoots in relation to the stage of development in which the plant is found. With the persistence of warm and dry conditions we expect that, gradually, growth has started to slow down in relation to water availability. Should some rain arrive in the coming weeks, the conditions would become truly ideal for an excellent continuation of the season. Just these days, in San Polo, the beauty of the colors of the vine is combined with the purple of the Phacelia flowers, a plant belonging to the brassicaceae family, which we use in the green manure of our vineyards to decompact the soil thanks to its taproots, or roots which grow vertically downwards. Spring flowering
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 19 18 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO In June the flowering season proceeded quickly, continuing to enchant with its beautiful colors, thanks to the light of the summer that lights up the leaves with bright green; the favorable weather and the rain in early summer have in fact given new impetus to the vegetation. It is in this phase that the conveyance to the second pair of wires is carried out, i.e. the vine shoots are positioned inside the pairs of containment wires so that they are not damaged or even broken by the wind and can continue to grow in orderly and equidistant within the row. This operation is essential to continue Positioning of the branches the season in the best possible way: the wellpositioned shoots guarantee a well-arranged vegetative wall, which benefits from a better microclimate and will be easier to manage during the subsequent defoliation and thinning operations. After a few days, if everything continues without unexpected events, the next phenological phase will arrive, the end of flowering, in which we will be able to begin to glimpse the first attached berries which will then go on to form the future bunches. It will then be the turn of the canning of the branches, an operation through which the tops of the plant, which have become too long, are gently twisted along the wires, thus avoiding cutting them. With the end of June, we are at the last countryside activity operation useful for the perfect ripening of the bunches, the peeling. On the wall facing east or north, depending on the orientation of the rows, the basal leaves are removed and placed under the bunch, to ensure that in that point the vine gets as little sun as possible and only in the coolest hours of the day. This type of very delicate activity has the objective of cleaning the bunches of floral residues, exposing them to the air but not to the light, and is essential for positively influencing the microclimate in the area where the fruit is positioned. In fact, thanks to the defoliation, ventilation and low humidity conditions are created which help the health of the plant, maintaining shade and coolness. On a phenological level, despite the climate of the last few days having brought about a rise in temperatures with no rain, our vines have grown well and luxuriantly, despite being slightly ahead of a canonical season. Leaf stripping was therefore a further contribution to the correct development of the bunches. Leaf removal
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 21 20 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO In 2022 we witnessed the debut of another San Polo cru, Amphora Vignamasso, the new organic wine from Sangiovese grapes that embodies the visionary spirit of tradition. It was the 2019 harvest when, walking in the cellar, the first amphorae and terracotta jars of the estate were noticed among barrels and concrete tanks. Since then, San Polo has become a laboratory of ideas, rediscovering the vinification in amphorae - with which we have gained great experience in Bolgheri - to best express the most authentic varietal characteristics of the Sangiovese grapes. Produced from a selection of grapes from Vigna del Masso, a vineyard facing west at 450 meters above sea level, which owes its name to the huge boulder of volcanic origin located at the entrance to the estate, this new wine testifies to a path that combines the enhancement of the differences in agronomic heritage, technique and experimentation in the cellar where fermentation takes place in cluster amphorae whole, and respect for the purest and most natural expression of the main variety of its terroir: Sangiovese. A real challenge for San Polo, a pure Sangiovese that debuts on the market in the 2020 vintage in a limited edition of 5,000 bottles, testifying to the importance that experimentation has in the context of company production. Fresh, harmonious, velvety, intriguing: these are just some of the key words that we feel we can attribute to this great wine that we are sure will represent a new flagship in the San Polo product family. Focus Vignamasso WINEMAKER’S COMMENT To produce this wine we use an approach aimed at minimizing interventions in the cellar, with the aim of maximizing the expression of Sangiovese. The grapes are introduced whole into amphorae, without destemming and without crushing, and we let the fermentation start naturally, only thanks to the indigenous yeasts. During the tumultuous part of the fermentation (the first 7-8 days) the amphorae are left open to allow the outflow of the fermentative carbon dioxide, and one punching down per day is carried out in a very delicate way, using only the hands so as not to damage the skins . Subsequently, the amphora is closed and filled with wine so that the maceration can continue with the submerged cap, without further intervention on the skins, for about 4 months. In this way the wine is enriched with the noble components of the skins, both in terms of aroma and structure. Once racking has been carried out, the wine is left to age for 8 months only in Trentino terracotta amphorae, which, being less porous, give off less oxygen and therefore allow for a more delicate and respectful refinement of the wine. ORGANOLEPTIC NOTES VIGNAMASSO COLOUR: not too intense ruby red, very lively and brilliant. NOSE: fresh and pleasant floral notes of jasmine, violet, rose in the opening, and then continue with hints of fruit such as wild strawberries, raspberry and cherry. Then there are references of lavender, licorice and undergrowth, and in the finish interesting earthy and bloody aromas appear which make the olfactory profile multifaceted and complex. MOUTH: a pleasant balance between youth and softness. Balanced and soft at the first sip, it then reveals a more vertical and fresh vein. The structure, well present but not invasive, denotes an excellent concentration: the taste, supported by the perfect balance between the soft components and the acidity, remains alive and intriguing, revealing hints of sapidity that make it particularly graceful in the finish. REASON WHY VIGNAMASSO • VALORIZATION of an agronomic richness that has led us to work each single vineyard separately, discovering the peculiarities of each of them. • Strengthened by the experience acquired, the desire to experiment, following ancient techniques, was born in San Polo, the vinification in amphorae and terracotta jars. The wines in amphora bring together the past and the future, respect for tradition and a visionary spirit. • RESPECT for the main variety of Montalcino, Sangiovese, which thanks to the vinification in amphorae preserves all of its purest characteristics, maximizing the fruitfulness of a raw material which is best expressed in the San Polo terroir.
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 23 22 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO MANETTI WINE JARS Terracotta from Impruneta, in the Chianti Classico area. They are built in about 3 months by hand, by expert craftsmen. The porosity is “closed” with a slight internal and external smoothing which is performed with leather (usually buckskin) which contains a little fat. Then we proceed to cooking at temperatures that do not exceed 800 °C. At these temperatures the clay tends to vitrify little and therefore to maintain greater porosity, allowing a more abundant oxygenation of the wine. Ideal for the fermentation phase Jar comparison THE TAVA WINE AMPHORA Trentino terracotta Production method: cooking at high temperatures, above 1000 °C. In this way, by varying the firing temperature, it is possible to modulate the porosity of the amphora: the higher the temperature, the lower the porosity, because clay, treated at high temperatures, tends to vitrify by closing the pores, therefore allowing a lower supply of oxygen to the wine. Ideal for refining wine Originally there was no wine without an amphora: in terracotta the wines were born, refined, transported on ships from one side of the sea to the other. As often happens, to look ahead, it is enough to go back to the origins: today wines in amphorae are probably the most modern, due to their organoleptic characteristics and the vision they express. In fact, the amphora manages to allow constant micro-oxygenation but without giving up any scent and preserving the purest flavour of the wine: this also allows very long refinements and truly intriguing vinifications. Comment Marilisa Allegrini
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 25 24 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO Shortly before the 2022 harvest, a new, imposing wine vessel peeps out in the winemaking area of the San Polo winery: an amphora of Cocciopesto. Cocciopesto, used by the Romans and well known by the Phoenicians, is an ancient mixture made up of fragments of stone aggregates and ground bricks, sand of different grain sizes, a low percentage of cement binder and dechlorinated water. It has Experimentation continues: Cocciopesto characteristics, such as longevity, resistance and high porosity, which makes it unique and unrepeatable. At San Polo we decided to use it with a view to experimenting with its properties, considering that it is a very porous material and we are convinced that it will be the future in the aging and vinification phases of tomorrow. Cocciopesto, unlike amphorae, is not cooked, it is left to air dry without cooking; this does not produce vitrification. In fact, they are materials that make contact with the air delicate. Cocciopesto works on the structure and tannin without aromatic contribution, this makes it ideal for our use.
HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO 27 26 HARVEST DIARY 2022 | SAN POLO In San Polo we live and strongly believe in environmental sustainability, we are in fact the first in Tuscany to have certified our CasaClima cellar, we manage energy in a carefull way and we do not irrigate our vineyard, we use recycled materials. But not only process and product, with the two certifications obtained Equalitas and Brcgs we have embraced sustainability at 360°. A sustainability that strengthens the relationships we have with suppliers, customers and our staff, a sustainability that takes into account various factors and where sees us engaged in this field on various fronts. While, the Brcgs certification has given us the tools to better define and trace business processes in order to guarantee greater safety and traceability. Certification