Smoked VinosantoSmoked Vinosanto from the Upper Tiber Valley
Smoked Vinosanto from the Upper Tiber Valley is an amber-colored sweet wine, with a very ancient and peculiar tradition rooted in the most true and genuine rural life.
This wine – characterized by an additional strong aroma and a unique smoked flavour – has always been considered a wine for special occasions by the farmers, a wine to offer to relatives and friends on certain celebrations.
Now as then, Smoked Vinosanto is solely produced by white grapes, above all Trebbiano grapes, but also by other vines such as Malvasia and Malfiore. The latter is a typical and almost disappeared vine from the Upper Tiber Valley; nevertheless, thanks to the preservation of this wine’s tradition, it is being recovered and saved from extinction.
Our company is one of the few keepers of this vine.
The grape harvest used to start in early October and Vinosanto grapes were the first ones to be gathered: the healthiest bunches were selected in the plant and then brought to farmhouses, where they would be hung through couples of cotton strings (coppiole) in the kitchens or in the attics and they were let dry until the end of February.
During the drying period, the grapes indirectly absorbed the smoke coming from stoves or fireplaces, so that they got smoked in their turn.
Once the must was obtained from the pressing, Vinosanto was transferred into oak barrels with the mother, where it would be kept for many years… not surprisingly, the farmers told this about Vinosanto: ‘make it and forget about it’.
The mother, passed down from generation to generation, could be considered the secret ingredient discerning different Vinosanto families. The production methods of this sweet wine are all the same in the Upper Tiber Valley: what makes it peculiar and distinguishable are the taste, the scent and the colour given by the mother of every producing family.
Still today, we make Vinosanto according to tradition. The grapes are dried in a suitable environment, the Vinsantaia, a unique place where history, tradition and passion meet to keep producing this wine that now just a few families continue making.
Precisely in order to preserve tradition and this ancient agricultural and wine-producing practice, Slow Food – the huge association committed to the protection and maintenance of ‘good, clean and fair’ food – found that the project of keeping, safeguarding and handing down the tradition of Smoked Vinosanto was a valuable one to support and enhance.
Since 2014, Smoked Vinosanto from the Upper Tiber Valley has been one of the two Slow Food presidi (protected products) in this area. It is a unique wine in Italy and all around the world!
We are working hard to maintain vegetal biodiversity by protecting some endangered plants of a white grape’s variety, Malfiore, that we have on our vineyards. Malfiore is a local variety which is also used to produce Smoked Vinosanto from he Upper Tiber Valley, a Slow Food presidia from Umbria.
We also grow ancient varieties of fruit trees that we could obtain by an accurate research of the most reliable keepers of these ancient trees. That’s another way we are trying to preserve vegetal biodiversity and to maintain ancient food traditions.