Folicello holds a special place at Primal Wine. Folicello wines were amongst the first natural wines we bought for this project. Everybody loves Folicello wines and for very good reasons. In this piece, we'd like to show you what makes Folicello natural wines so special. They are not only delicious and affordable but, as cheesy as it sounds, they are made with love by a magnificent couple of vignerons.
These are the words used by husband and wife team Marco and Antonella when describing how they began making their living, breathing, vibrant natural wines:
“Have you ever sensed and experienced the scent, the taste and the warmth of the countryside? Have you ever been enchanted by the shimmering hues of the harvest? It was here in the Emilia Romagna region’s countryside, shrouded by the early morning fogs, that our fantastic adventure began.
We’re Antonella and Marco and we started our winemaking journey in the early 1980s almost as a game, with the intent of giving light to a healthy, joyous glass of wine for ourselves and our friends. Today our small estate has a new cellar, tiny but efficient, where we vinify our grapes and a small laboratory where we make jams and other organic products from our grapes, as well as a smaller cellar for the production of vinegar.”
Marco and Antonella, having lived most of their lives in the countryside, learned to appreciate it firstly for the higher quality of life that it afforded them. Their mission took the shape of sharing with friends and the larger public, organic viticulture's potential to produce higher quality wines. Rather than making wine for commercial reasons, the couple wanted to show the world that a different way of living, in harmony with nature, was not only possible but more fulfilling.
When Marco and Antonella started Folicello, working organically was still extremely rare and a much tougher challenge than it is these days. In reality, their working philosophy and practice, both in the vineyard and subsequently in the cellar, go well beyond the requirements of European organic legislation and is fully and proudly natural the way we today conceive of the term. Theirs is not an approach that only aims at ticking the boxes of some EU law on organic agriculture; they are also sensitive to broader issues, such as energy consumption, water usage, and climate change.
Folicello wines carry a primal and sincere soul and are imbued with the character and energy of the soil, unique terroir, vintage, and the loving work of the people who nursed them from vineyard to the glass. In line with this spirit, the winery is completely self-sufficient energy-wise: electricity is solar-generated, the marc from fermented must is employed for curating essences for the vines, and biodiversity is actively fostered so as to maximize the natural presence of parasites fighting insects. Chickens and other farm animals run free among the vineyards.
The choice of grape varieties is not left to chance and could not but be focused on Emilia-Romagna native varieties, such as Pignoletto, Montuni, and Pinot Bianco for the whites, Lambrusco Grasparossa, Sangiovese, and Malbo Gentile for the reds. These varietals are vinified without using SO2 at any stage of production, even at bottling. Folicello’s wines are a never-ending hymn to the bright vinnaturist tradition of Emilia-Romagna, which has seen a splendid renaissance.
Author: Giovanni Segni ©