Wine Without Walls, the natural wines section of the 5StarWines selection, saw 24 Italian wines making it through the grand tasting. Chaired by Monty Waldin for the first time, the selection once again confirmed Italy’s primacy on organic wine-growing.
Italy is in pole position for organic, natural and biodynamic wine-growing. The country also has the largest surface area of vines under certified organic management worldwide, ahead of both Spain in second place and France in third. In light of this important reality, Vinitaly International added the “Wine Without Walls” section to its annual wine selection 5StarWines. Held April 11th to the 13th 2018 in Verona, the third edition of 5StarWines welcomed over 2,700 wines from around the world and showcased 45 bottles in Wine Without Walls. Chaired by biodynamic wine expert Monty Waldin, Wine Without Walls gives recognition to the ever-present growing importance and relevance of natural wines. The section is solely dedicated to wines either without added sulphites or wines with total quantity of sulphites (naturally produced and added ones) not higher than 50mg/l. During the last edition, 24 Italian wines made it through the selection, once again proving Italy as prime location for organic wine growing. The selected organic wines will be published on the 5StarWines – the Book, which will be available from July 2018.
During the first two editions of Wine Without Walls former Chairperson Alice Feiring devised criteria for judging to include the descriptors: ‘liveliness’, ‘evolution’, ‘balance’, ‘drinkability’, ‘savoriness’, ‘sense of place’, ‘emotional impact’, and ‘transparency’. Based off these editions, Monty Waldin decided to use and adapt six of the descriptors, changing ‘emotional impact’ with ‘individuality’ and ‘transparency’ with ‘clarity.’
Waldin chose ‘individuality’ to represent the individuality of a wine that can only come from vineyards and each individual vine transmitted from its particular piece of terroir: the exact type of soil and sub-soil it is on, the exact part of the slope, the exact amount of sun, rain, and wind that it gets. Individuality also stems from the human factor, i.e. how the vines were planted, picked, and pruned. These aspects, combined, affect how each berry will taste and how they are measured; whereas descriptors such as ‘emotional impact’ are less
measurable and therefore more subjective.
Substituting ‘transparency’ with ‘clarity’, Waldin sees that clarity in wine not only comes from the winemaker, but also from the grapes themselves. A wine embodying clarity shows that the winemaker has a clear vision of how the wine will be made. Winemakers whose aim is to make wine as naturally as possible, must guide every step of the winemaking process with their mastery, skills and knowledge to include—date of harvest, choice of fermentation vessel, choice of bottling date—in such a way that the wine clearly expresses the terroir, grape and human touch. A wine with clarity will always be transparent, from the beginning to the end.
On the the experience, Monty Waldin commented “One of the delights of judging wines made by people working in tune with nature, rather than working against it, is that the wines show a brightness and levity which makes wine tasting a joy rather than a chore. We all felt refreshed at the end of the day’s judging as these natural, organic and Biodynamic wines tend to have lower levels of alcohol compared to conventional wines because the vines are in balance.”
Accompanying Monty Waldin in this year’s tasting, Wine Without Walls included 4 natural wine connoisseurs. Regine Lee, Christopher Barnes, Richard Kershaw MW and Gill Gordon Smith, all coming from various countries around the world, joined together at wine2digital. The panel agreed, at the end of the selection, that the wines far exceeded their expectations in terms of quality, complexity and, most importantly, value. Furthermore, the judges were pleased to see that the wines came from not only from small, artisan producers but also from medium to large scale producers. Despite their size, they showed that they are well organised and fully capable of bringing grapes into the winery at optimal ripeness and with diverting flavours.
Here’s the list of the Wine Without Walls selected wines:
ADRIANO GRASSO with BARBERA D’ASTI DOCG
CANTINA ALDENO S.C.A. with TRENTINO DOC GEWURZTRAMINER VINO BIOLOGICO
AZIENDA VINICOLA ATTILIO CONTINI S.P.A. with CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA DOC VINO BIOLOGICO
SOCIETÀ AGRICOLA TENUTA MARA SRL with RUBICONE IGP SANGIOVESE VINO BIOLOGICO
AZIENDA AGRICOLA LUSENTI DI LODOVICA LUSENTI with COLLI PIACENTINI DOC MALVASIA
BORTOLIN F.LLI SRL with VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO DOCG SUPERIORE SPUMANTE BRUT
TENUTE DEL GARDA SRL with VINO SPUMANTE EXTRA BRUT
PIEVALTA SOC. AGR.R.L. with VERDICCHIO DEI CASTELLI DI JESI DOC CLASSICO SUPERIORE VINO BIOLOGICO and CASTELLI DI JESI VERDICCHIO RISERVA DOCG CLASSICO VINO BIOLOGICO
OLIS SOCIETÀ AGRICOLA SRL (FATTORIA LA MALIOSA) with TOSCANA IGT BIANCO VINO BIOLOGICO
AZ. AGR. LE CARLINE DI PICCININ DANIELE with VENEZIA DOC PINOT GRIGIO VINO BIOLOGICO and LISON PRAMAGGIORE DOC REFOSCO DAL PEDUNCOLO ROSSO VINO BIOLOGICO
AZ. AGR. CARLO TABARRINI “CANTINA MARGÒ” with UMBRIA IGT BIANCO
CASCINA DEL COLLE DI D’ONOFRIO A. & C. S.S. with ABRUZZO DOC BIANCO VINO BIOLOGICO and ABRUZZO DOC ROSSO VINO BIOLOGICO
LA CAPPUCCINA SOCIETÀ AGRICOLA S.S. with SOAVE DOC VINO BIOLOGICO
POSSENTE SOCIETÀ COOPERATIVA AGRICOLA with SICILIA DOC GRILLO VINO BIOLOGICO and TERRE SICILIANE IGP CATARRATTO VINO BIOLOGICO
FOLICELLO SOCIETÀ AGRICOLA S.S. with PIGNOLETTO DOC FRIZZANTE VINO BIOLOGICO
MARCHISIO FAMILY ORGANIC ESTATE S.S.A. with ROERO DOCG ARNEIS VINO BIOLOGICO and LANGHE DOC NEBBIOLO VINO BIOLOGICO
AVIGNONESI SRL with ROSSO DI MONTEPULCIANO DOC VINO BIOLOGICO and TOSCANA IGT ROSSO VINO BIOLOGICO
ERNST TRIEBAUMER with BURGENLAND QUALITÄTSWEIN BLAUFRÄNKISCH