Avignonesi Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo

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In recent years, many of the top wine producers in Italy have been experimenting with organic and biodynamic growing efforts. Such techniques are reputed to create wines that are generally considered to be healthier due to the lack of man-made chemicals and pesticides that are used in their productions, plus many will make the argument that biodynamic techniques in particular strengthen the land on which the grapes are grown, giving wine a more mineral quality that is truly representative of the terroir, without all of the additives that come from non-biodynamic practices.

It certainly makes for an interesting time for the industry, especially as more producers start to adopt such techniques. However, it is important that we do not forget the contributions of those who brought such innovations to the fore, with many such companies still occupying niche areas of the market when some would argue that they deserve to have far bigger reputations due to the quality of the wine that they produce.

Avignonesi is one such producer. Founded with the principles of biodynamics in mind, this company has been working hard to craft truly spectacular wines for many years now, so this week we have decided to pay them their due by featuring the company on our blog and taking a look at one of their wines, which can be found in the vast Xtrawine catalogue.

The History

Though the Avignonesi winery has built its recent reputation on the work of one woman to transform to the wines that are produced at the estate, its history actually stretches back a little further than many people realize. In fact, the winery was actually named for the Avignonesi family, who founded the original estate and used it to craft wines of their own.

This family forged a reputation for creating quality wines through constant research and development, all of which was aimed towards getting the most out of their grapes and producing high-quality products that expressed the true qualities of the Montepulciano territory where the estate is located. Some would say that this earned the family a reputation as one of the flagship wine producers in Tuscany, though this is an arguable point.

What isn’t arguable is the rather dramatic shift that occurred in the estate’s focus once it has been purchased by Virginie Saverys. She acquired the winery from the Avignonesi family back in 2009 and has since worked tirelessly to introduce the concepts related to organic and biodynamic wine production to the territory.

Despite this, the goal of the estate is still the same as it has always been – to craft wines that are truly representative of the territory and to show people just how good both the grapes and the terroir of the Montepulciano region actually is. The main difference is in the way that the company goes about doing this. Since taking over, Virginie has introduced many new concepts and innovations that have resulted in the wines produced by the company changing in complexion, to the point where it could be argued that they are almost indistinguishable from some of the wines that the estate built its initial reputation on.

Furthermore, Virginie has also committed herself to expanding her philosophy throughout the region, purchasing a number of additional vineyards and creating a cutting edge winemaking facility in the Montepulciano region in the process.

All of this is done under the company’s belief that the true power of wine should be measured in how accurately it reflects the earth that birthed the grapes. The biodynamic concepts that have been introduced to the estate allow for the earth itself to be tended to a much higher degree of quality than it ever had before, allowing the terroir to express its uniqueness through the grapes that are produced by the land in the process.

This also means that each of the wines produced by the various vineyards that fall under the Avignonesi banner each have unique characteristics, even when using the same varieties of grapes. The company’s mission is to understand the land that it uses and, most importantly, how to take care of it properly, before crafting wines that are as distinctive and tasty as they are representative of the land that they came from.

Above all else, Virginie and her team have a deep respect for the land of Montepulciano, which means that all of their efforts are dedicated towards paying homage to the many Sangiovese and other wines that have been produced in the region in years gone past, while also building on this history with an eye to the future by trying to be the best producer that it can possibly be.

This dedication to quality and the company’s commitment to further building the already stellar reputation enjoyed by the Montepulciano region is why their wines have developed a reputation as being amongst the best that are made using organic and biodynamic methods in all of Italy. However, even with all of these modern production techniques coming to the fore, it is important to remember that there was a time when the estate was just as respected for its quality. With that in mind, we will now take a look at a wine that was first created in the year 2000 that only serves to enhance the reputation of the estate.

Avignonesi Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo 2000

Aged for more than a decade before it was introduced to the market, this wine is a throwback to the time before Virginie Saverys introduced new techniques and took the estate into a new direction.

Its quality cannot be denied, as it features a rich bouquet that offers scents of Mediterranean herbs, plums, citrus, star anise and, when introduced to the palette, an interesting nutty finish that we are sure connoisseurs will be more than keen to explore.

Aged to perfection, this is a wine that offers a wonderful experience with every single sip, with a sweetness that only serves to add an extra layer of complexity. It is amongst the best wines ever produced by the estate and it shows the dedication that the Avignonesi family had to their craft, long before the estate was purchased.

 

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