Return to the Vineyard: Vineyard Tour with Giulio Armani at Denavolo 2020

Travo
December 2020

What could be better than a picture of our friend Giulio Armani in action in the vineyard.

He, who this year celebrated his 40th harvest!

It all started in 1980 when he started making wine at La Stoppa alongside Rafael Pantaleoni, then with Elena Pantaleoni, his daughter. More recently, in 2005, Giulio moved to his Denavolo estate on the heights of the Colli Piacentini to make his wines in addition to his activity as an oenologist at La Stoppa.

Anyone who knows him will tell you: he never tires of being in his vineyards in Val Trebbia and it is there that he is the happiest …


SUMMARY

In this report you will read :

  • Mansano 2019 is ready
  • Dinavolo 2019, an exceptional vintage will be bottled soon
  • Dinavolo vs Dinavolino
  • Review of Vintage 2020
  • Harvest Report
  • Range of Wines
A Happy Man,
a glass of skin-contact macération wine in his hand,
in his vines at Denavolo!

Mansano 2019 is ready 

A new addition to the family of Denavolo wines!

This cuvée comes from Sauvignon Blanc vines planted in 1989 on clay-limestone soils.
This parcel is located on the same hillside as Denavolo but on the opposite slope. All the work in the vineyard is done under the guidance of Giulio and the harvest is done by the Denavolo team.

The harvest took place at the beginning of September 2019. The grapes, hand picked and destemmed, were fermented/macerated in stainless steel tanks. The pomace remained in contact with the wine until the beginning of July, when the first racking took place.  It is a very limited production.

The wine was bottled on July 24, 2020.

On the nose, the notes of flowers and thiols are light and elegant. On the palate, a fresh and salty acidity gives way to very fine but marked tannins.  The Sauvignon Blanc of skin-contact / masceration dreams.

Dinavolo 2019, an exceptional vintage, soon in bottle!

As was done for 2017, the 2019 vintage was aged in wooden barrels.

60% of the Dinavolo 2019 was racked after a month of maceration to be aged in 500-liter acacia wood barrels; the remaining 40% continued its maceration under skin in tank until March 2020.

The wine was very recently racked and blended for bottling within 2 weeks.

According to Giulio, this is probably the best vintage he has ever vinified since he started his winery Denavolo. The ageing in wood brings roundness and complexity to the wine, which is perfectly balanced with the freshness typical of the 2019 vintage.

The winemaker is satisfied 🙂

A small production that we will share … soon.

Spring 2020 – just after Budburst in May

Dinavolo vs Dinavolino: A Refresher

We are often asked the question: What is the difference between Dinavolo vs Dinavolino?  And why is it the cuvée not called Denavolo?  

So let’s start from the beginning.  Created in 2006, Denavolo is the name of the winery, the name linked to the mountain surrounding the estate and the locality where the vines of Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Ortrugo, Marsanne, and an old and local unknown grape, are planted on clay limestone soil (planted in 1975).  

The first Denavolo cuvée was produced in 2005 from the entire 2.5 hectare plot of Débé, located on a hillside at an altitude of 350 meters. Giulio wanted to call his wine “Dinavolo” as a reminder that it is linked to his estate and expresses the terroir of this locality and this mountain “Denavolo”.

After several harvests and observation, in 2009, Giulio decided to make a test by separating the harvest in two: the grapes from the top of the hillside of this Débé plot, and those from the bottom of the hillside. Vinified in the same way, from the same plot, the two vintages were very different.

The shallow-rooted vines planted at the top of Débé were on thin calcaire-rich soil and produced small, not very juicy, concentrated berries, contributing to a high ratio of skin-to-must contact ratio. The “Dinavolo” cuvée has evolved and is now made only from grapes from this parcel selection. It is the estate’s reserve cuvée, a concentrated, tannic and ageable cuvée. 

And so in 2009 Dinavolino was born, a juicier and fresher wine, less concentrated than Dinavolo.
Dinavolino, which means “little Dinavolo” in Italian, always comes from the parcel selection of the lower part of the Débé hillside, because the deep-rooted vines planted at the bottom of it produce plump and juicy berries.

Giulio’s illustration below very simply explains this.

Giulio’s drawing of the parcel Débé.
Dinavolo on the left at the top of the hill with small concentrated grapes.
Dinavolino at the bottom of the hill with juicy, plump grapes.

Report on Vintage 2020

This year, the harvest went well.  The harvest was rather generous and qualitative. The 2020 vintage should allow the production of all the Catavela, Dinavolino, Dinavolo and Mansano cuvées.  It is a more concentrated vintage than 2019 which should produce complex and elegant wines. 

Generally speaking, the winter was mild, with some negative temperatures around -5° in January (the coldest). The bud-break occurred in March, the normal date for the domain. 

March and April were rather sunny with a beautiful and warm weather. The vines had a rapid vegetative development during this period and the first trimming was done at the end of April (very early compared to the reference years).

The early flowering in 2020 which took place in good conditions around May 30.

The months of May and June brought rain and heat, perfect conditions for the development of Mildew. The vineyard was therefore under increased surveillance.

All the momentum of the Spring vine development slowed down considerably during the months of June and July which were globally two cool months. Leaf thinning was carried out to leave the grapes better exposed to the sun.

The summer of 2020 did not experience temperatures above 30°C, which had not been seen for more than 15 years.

Veraison was late and slow, starting on July 31 (the date on which it is normally completed).

The month of August, while being a little warmer, continued to keep cool temperatures in the evening. 

View from the opposite valley identifying the different Denavolo parcels

Harvest 2020

The team started on August 27th this year with the Sauvignon Blanc that will be used to produce Mansano. Then Marsanne followed closely on the plot of young vines of Cassinera on September 1st.

The last grape variety to be harvested was Malvasia di Candia Aromatica on Campo Rotonde, which remains the highest planted plot on the estate (between 500 and 600 meters). 

Three weeks of harvest for this year (from August 27th to September 18th) and a quality harvest, the first wines already show more structured wines than in 2019.

Good news for wine lovers, there will be Dinavolo in 2020! 

The Maestro…
… and the harvest helpers

Range of Wines 

Catavela 2019 – Young vines planted between 500 to 600 meters elevation, grapes: Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Ortrugo, Marsanne and Trebbiano
Maceration time: 50% directly press and 50% 6 days of skin contact

Aromas of apricot and honeysuckle.  Light wine in the mouth, with a delicate nose and medium intensity, notes of orange peel, honeysuckle. In the mouth, clean, fresh, salty acidity, beautiful minerality, this wine makes you salivate. 

Dinavolino 2019 – Parcel selection of old vines planted in 1975 starting at 350 metres of altitude, deep soil, grapes: Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Ortrugo, Marsanne and a local grape
Maceration time: 8-9 months – bottled in June 2020

Wine with a volatile presence on the nose and in the mouth, and a very slight sparkling on opening. Classic aromatics of this cuvée: cedar, bitter orange peel, pine, resin. Tannic on the palate yet balanced by the zesty acidity.

Dinavolo 2018 – Parcel selection of old vines planted in 1975 starting at 350 metres of altitude, shallow rootstock soil full of calcaire rocks, grapes: Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Ortrugo, Marsanne and a local grape.
Maceration time: 8-9 months – bottled in June 2019

Wine with a present but well integrated volatile, distinguished but fine tannins, typical aromatic of pine trees, bitter orange, cedar, camphor, good length.  Can age for years.

Mansano 2019 – Old-Vine Sauvignon Blanc planted on agrilo-calcaire at 350 meters election. 
10 month Maceration

The wine has a very slight effervescence.
On the nose, the notes of exotic flowers and thistles are delicate and elegant. On the palate, a fresh and salty acidity gives way to fine but marked tannins.

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