Our visit to Salcheto or Italy Part 2!

SalchetoThis is just an excuse to remember the summer and our trip to Tuscany before the autumn finally arrives. One of the highlights was our visit to the Salcheto Vineyards, near Montepulciano. This vineyard has completely reinvented itself in the last 5 years and this has had an amazing effect on the wines that they make.

Salcheto devotes itself to organic and sustainable methods of making wine. General Manager, Mario Turrini came to the vineyard with a mission to adopt sustainable practices and it has taken 5 years to do so, not to mention considerable investment and a bit of ingenuity. Many of the methods now employed at Salcheto are new and revolutionary. A great deal of thought was employed to maximise sustainability. The three storey winery is sympathetically built into the hillside and all of the lighting is provided through light tubes, no additional lighting is provided in the lower areas. Incidentally at harvest time the patio area is used to sort the grapes and start the pressing process. The grape juice is then passed down pipes that are fed through the light tubes. The pipes then fill the vats below. The vines are grown under bio-diverse conditions and they even have their own bees to help pollination and to make honey of course. Heating is provided sustainably by using the cuttings from the vines. Mario Turrini is also very realistic and states ‘Sustainability starts with a quality product that is sold at the right price. If the vineyard is not profitable it is not sustainable’. Salcheto wines offer great quality and great value.Salcheto

Salco means the willow tree in the ancient Tuscan language. An important plant for wine territories as throughout history its branches were used to bind the vines. Salcheto (Sal-k-et-o) is the name of the stream that winds through a valley and is the boundary of the estate. The vineyard is rooted in the historic district of Vino Nobile, in the southeast of the Siena province of Tuscany. The willow tree also contributes to the winery’s energy independence and is today prominently represented in their logo as part of the commitment to environmental sustainability.

That now leaves us to look at the wines. Three of the Salcheto wines are currently imported into the UK. A Chianti, a Vino Noble di Montepulciano and a very special version of the Vino Noble which they affectionately refer to as the ‘Salco’ and comes from a specific area of the vineyard. The vineyard and wines enjoy the DOCG classification.

The Salcheto Chianti Colli Senesi is a fantastic wine and priced at under a tenner this is stunning value. Chianti is currently unfashionable and therefore the makers need to work much harder to get a following, it is for this reason that I love unfashionable wines! The Chianti is a dark ruby in colour. On the nose cherries, red berry and spicy notes. These flavours blossom on the palate along with notes of liquorice, and it is very smooth. A long elegant finish. This is a very easy drinking wine. It is to be drunk young, drinking well now or over the next  2-3 years. Predominantly the Sangiovese Grape it goes very well with lamb or beef, also great with pasta and tomato bases sauces.

Salcheto also produce a range of phosphate free wines, if this is something you would be interested in please let us know.


Whats Happening in the Wine World

As I sat down to write this weeks blog it occurred to me that over the last few weeks I have been bombarded with all sorts of changes about the wine business, some of these are good and some are not so good for those involved. Nevertheless this could be really good for the consumer and provide some great variety.

Wine World
Wine in Oak Barrels

The worst news is for the poor old French and the weather, worse than ours! The French Ministry of Agriculture have announced a loss of crops due to the weather conditions. This is at a time when French wine production was due to hit a record 44.1 million hectolitres (around 60 million bottles) per annum. Despite this some regions have been severely affected. This has been caused by frost in Champagne which has been followed by mildew (down 32%). The same for the Loire Valley with a further 32% loss. This has affected our Pouilly Fume and Coteaux du Giennois. Burgundy and Beaujolais have been hit by frost but avoided the mildew, down 23%. Bordeaux and the Languadoc-Roussillion fared much better with a 1% reduction in their crops. A bad year for the French, I feel that this may see a price hike for specific wines but I think there will be enough in the rest of the world!

Great news for English Sparkling Wine as it hits £1 billion in sales and is due to overtake Champagne in volume and with the quality right up there this is great news for the English and more bad news for the French. There are also around 5,000 hectares available for planting more vines, which bodes well for the future. We know from our own sales that the Winbirri Vintage Reserve Brut far outsells the Gosset Brut Excellence Champagne, both are really excellent and Gosset has a really good following in France but of course is much more expensive.

Some good news for the Austrians as the spotlight is on these vineyards as judging for the European awards in underway. The first issue for the consumer, is getting our tongues around new grape varieties like Zweigelt, Rotgifler and Gumpoldskirchner. The335951337 second is that the new Austrian Winemakers have some great new ideas. We have a stunning Merlot Eiswein and other wines coming to our website soon from Johanneshof Reinisch Vineyard in the Thermenregion of Austria so keep an eye on the web site!

The elephant in the room in any wine company or at any event is Brexit.  It is just a big unknown at the moment and is likely to have a major impact on the cost. The pound is down against most currencies by around 10%, and whilst some suppliers have passed the additional costs onto the consumer most have not done so yet and are hoping to keep prices at their current level until after Christmas. It is far to early to speculate on what trading will look like in the future but one thing is certain, there are so many great wine producers in the world that Warlingham Wines will be featuring great wines in the future and at great prices, remember ‘We do not sell cheap wine, we sell great wine cheaply”.