how it all began
About two years ago after my graduation from high-school I decided to do something different and take a gap year, so I left home, temporarily I assured everyone, to see the world and live and learn new experiences, my first stop was South America.
Argentina, Buenos Aires
Fratelli Branca Distillerie, an Italian family company and the producer of iconic liqueurs for generations, gave me an opportunity in their marketing division that helped me understand what happens behind the scenes in the making of a brand and learn some of the many secrets of creating a quality product. What made the experience even more special was the environment, I was surrounded by what seemed like a big family, a family where everyone takes care of each other and nobody is alone or feels left out. This experience gave me the opportunity to grow as a man and see clearly what I wanted to achieve, how I wanted to work and where I wanted my life to take me.
"In each one of us we have all that we need, all that there should be, we just need to become aware of it" Niccolò Branca
Argentina, Bodega Chacra
Thanks to my cousin, Piero Incisa della Rocchetta, I then moved south to Patagonia, to Bodega Chacra, a small winery located in the Rio Negro valley where Piero, in the year 2000, discovered several plots of Pinot Noir vines planted in 1932 by Italians. In this magical place I learned the first steps of how to experiment, create and be original with grapes and what results can be achieved through an intimate knowledge of the vines. Here, making wine means spending time with the vines throughout the seasons, harvesting and sorting the grapes by hand, adopting open-top fermentation using indigenous yeast and using unhurried, often delayed fermentations that don’t allow for the addition of sulphites. This place, this wine, this experience, made me realise that what is already contained in nature and how we can accompany natures rhythm can really make a difference to the quality of what we make, how we make it and to the life we live.
"We treat the vineyard a little bit like a Japanese garden........." Piero Incisa della Rocchetta -
New York, Babbo Ristorante Enoteca
To New York city from the calm of the Patagonian pampas, was certainly a contrast but the opportunity to work in any capacity, even washing dishes, for Mario Batali was something I could only be eternally grateful for. From chopping beetroot to donning a smart suit as easily as if it was a t-shirt, running between the kitchen and the dinning room like a sprinter, with a couple of words of Spanish and some sign language, I tried my hardest and Babbo gifted me the experience of learning the tastes and how best to interpret the desires of those who came each evening to this special place.
"I obsess everyday about everything. Not only about what we do well but what we can do better... In the end, the only reason I am motivated to do what I do is for the hedonistic pleasure of the table." Mario Batali
Italy, Villa Le Corti
Finally home, with many new tools in my pocket, I was ready to start another new adventure this time with my father. Spending a year away from home, working, learning and watching, helped me understand better what my family has been doing for many generations, which, is making wine. I was happy to be home and ready to start something of my own with my family. Almost as soon I arrived, I went to visit Claudio, the cellar master of Le Corti, I had to tell him all about my discovery, of treating the vines and the grapes in a different way, of nurturing a wine, a nurturing which starts in the vineyard, a new way or was it maybe the ways of old? What I wanted was to allow the land and the grapes to talk through the wine, to make a high quality handcrafted wine practicing environmentally conscious biodynamic viticulture, was I looking back in order to look forward?
"To tell the story of a wine first you must tell the story of the land from which it comes" Duccio Corsini
Castello di Reschio
The Castle of Reschio was my last adventure, here I was close to home. I spent the summer months in Umbria, having been offered by my uncle and aunt Nencia Corsini and Benedikt Bolza work experience on their estate. Benedikt known for his extraordinary architectural restoration work is also a furniture designer and it was he who taught me how to tell the story of my wine through the label, the bottle, the colours, the lightness of the glass, the feel of the bottle in my hand. My aunt Fiona, my aunt Nencia's twin sister, a very accomplished artist, painted for me a beautiful watercolour of the fig, the fruit and the leaves of the fig and this became my label, the label of Fico.