Friday, September 5, 2014

Producers in Italy using cement in winemaking

I wanted to include some examples of wineries in my post last week on the use of cement in winemaking in Italy, but Italians are very hard at work harvesting this time of year or getting ready for the harvest and were delaying in providing some information.  Today, I have two examples of producers that are using cement in their winemaking, Poliziano and Fabrizio Dionisio.

Earlier this summer I wrote my top 5 winery recommendations in Tuscany for Robert Dwyer of the Wellesley Wine Press with Poliziano being one of the features of the article.  David, the export manager of Poliziano, provided me with information as to why there is the use of cement at Poliziano.  Cement is an Italian technique used in different years.  The best quality and fundamentals of this technique include:
  • constant temperature control
  • good percentage of gas exchange
  • permeability
  • neutral organoleptics
cement storage tanks for winemaking at Poliziano
Cement tanks of Poliziano
Thermal inertia or constant thermal control facilitate the post-processing of alcoholic fermentation.  The must isn't subject to thermal stress in cement, therefore, it can mature and deposit in natural ways the dregs. 

In regards to the gas exchange and permeability, with the cement being porous it permeates a majority exchange of oxygen in respect to stainless steel, which is useful for the life of the yeast.

The neutral organoleptics is given to the fact that the cement is a lot more easier to clean in comparison to antique barrels.  This reduces a lot of the risk of unwelcome bacteria during fermentation. 

In a previous blog on the wines from Fabrizio Dionisio in Cortona, Tuscany I discussed that they use cement vats in producing their Syrah named “Il Castagnino”.  Their cement vats are glass lined.  Il Castagnino was produced to experiment with the Syrah grape and showcase Syrah in different styles in comparison to their flagship wine, Il Castagno, that has won a number of awards.  The Castagnino itself has also won awards receiving a 91/100 from James Suckling and 87/100 from Wine Enthusiast.  

Fabrizio Dionisio uses cement to produce a wine that is young and that exalts freshness and acidity where the smells and tastes aren’t masked by the aging in wood.  The Il Castagnino is always released the year following the vintage.  For example, the 2014 that they are harvesting now will be released in April 2015.  After the vinification in stainless steel, they leave it in cement for some months for the final assembly of the wine and to give it stability.  On a recent visit the partners of my company visited Fabrizio Dionisio and provided some great pictures of the cement vats to demonstrate what the wines are aged in. 
cement vats at Fabrizio Dionisio
Cement vat at Fabrizio Dionisio
What wineries have you been to or tasted at that used cement?

Visit wineries throughout Italy with this detailed map.