The Wine: Birbo New 2019
Farnea Birbo is a white skin contact (orange wine) natural wine from Veneto, Northern Italy, Birbo (the “rascal” in Italian) is a blend of Malvasia and Tocai. Fermented and aged in concrete vats, ten days of skin contact, unfiltered, and unfined. Birbo is crispy, fruity, and spiced.
The Winery: Farnea
Marco Buratti’s Azienda Agricola Farnea occupies around two hectares of vines and three hectares of woodlands in a beautiful part of the Colli Euganei National Park. The land here has been planted with grapes since the eighteenth century when the vignaioli were drawn to the area’s vibrant volcanic soils. Marco’s vines are worked by hand without the use of chemicals, a way of working he had decided on before clearing the forest to plant vines here in 2003.
The “cantina” consists of a small room at the edge of Marco’s house strewn with concrete and fiberglass vats, old barrels and not a lot else. These tools, along with the grapes, are all Marco uses to make what we consider to be perhaps the most drinkable wines we have found in Italy. Lifted, textured and true, once opened, a bottle of Marco’s wine does not last long. We only wish he made more.
The Region: Veneto
Veneto is one of the most important wine regions of Italy, located in the North Eastern corner of the Italian peninsula. It borders with Trentino-Alto Adige (north), Friuli-Venezia Giulia (north-east), Emilia-Romagna (south), and Lombardy (west).
The capital of Veneto is Venice, which is also its most populous city, followed by Verona, Padua, Vicenza, Treviso, and Rovigo. The east coast of Lake Garda, the biggest Italian lake, is part of Veneto and so is the tract of Alpine foothills called Venetian Prealps.
Veneto is the leading Italian region for the quantity of wine produced – even though wine-producing regions such as Piedmont, Tuscany, Lombardy, Puglia, and Sicily all have bigger territories.
Some of its most famous wines are Amarone della Valpolicella, Valpolicella, Soave, and of course Prosecco. Other less known but equally delicious wines are Recioto della Valpolicella, Recioto di Gambellara, Raboso del Piave, and Bardolino.
Veneto’s main characteristic is perhaps the great variety of wine types produced, obtained mostly from indigenous grape varietals – Corvina, Glera, and Garganega being the most common.
This is due as much to its specific geography and climate as it is to rather peculiar winemaking techniques such as the grape drying technique employed to make Amarone della Valpolicella, Veneto’s most famous red wine.