It is sadly quite rare to find true natural wineries, real ambassadors of tradition and terroir, in Veneto’s famed Valpolicella area. Although blessed with a vibrant land and an ancient history of viticulture, Valpolicella, world-famous for Amarone, has become a symbol of Parker-style oak-laden fruit-bombs.
Fortunately, some lone heroes do exist and of late the trend seems to be gradually reversing. One of the most ardent trailblazers of terroir-driven natural wines in Valpolicella is undoubtedly Monte dall’Ora. Monte dall’Ora is the creature of Carlo Venturini and his wife Alessandra Zantedeschi, both originating from vigneron families with a long history in Valpolicella, who decided in 1995 to embark on a new and pioneering project.
In the words of Carlo and Alessandra:
“Monte Dall’Ora, in the very heart of Valpolicella, is born out of a dream: to interpret nature without forcing it into any direction. When we envisioned what we wanted our wines to be we started from the idea of the overall environment rather than just the vineyard itself. A meeting between two kindred spirits, a shared daily life in the countryside and a similar set of instincts gave life to an exciting and ever-renewing adventure.
The great shared love for this land, the desire to express ourselves through wine and the openness to always be amazed by nature are the beacons guiding our choices every day. We don’t want to make just wine, we want to make “our” wine. Always in small quantities, our natural wines are the direct fruit of our feelings towards this terroir and our own hard work.
We are blessed with a land which we must let free to express its deep potential and this challenge gives us every day unending satisfaction. Agriculture is a practice with a deep spiritual impact, it’s an act that requires and demonstrates faith in our land, man’s efforts and time. It’s a daily challenge which we could not be happy without.”
Monte Dall’Ora vineyards are located in one of the most blessed areas for viticulture in the Classical Valpolicella area, on the Castelrotto hill, where vines have been farmed and wine made since the 5th century. Carlo has chosen to work with single crus as a symbol of his search for a precise identity and has recuperated old vines, and at time replanted, of the traditional autochthonous grapes Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and Oseleta.
Having worked organically since the estate’s birth in 1995, Carlo decided to convert to biodynamics in 2006. The unique soils are composed of a soft, porous substrate from which spikes rise from a deeper rocky base of calcareous rocks dating back to the Aeocenic age. These rocks are relatively porous as well and guarantee the draining of excess water, allowing the vine roots to penetrate deep in the rich subsoil. Here biodiversity is treasured: among and surrounding the vines we can find aromatic herbs, cherry trees, and olive groves.
Giving life to wines that are a mirror of terroir and vintage is the paramount guiding principle at Monte Dall'Ora, natural wines that are identifiable in heart and spirit but different every year. Every wine is crafted by hand and is a direct result of the dialogue between Carlo and Alessandra and each vineyard.
Author: Giovanni Segni ©