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The Podere Forte, the star of the Val d’Orcia

The estate of an engineer – farmer

In an ancient Tuscan village an engineer-farmer runs a farm that covers 500 hectares, in the Val d’Orcia (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004), in the hills of Siena. His name is Pasquale Forte and he defines himself as “conductor”. His “musicians” primarily produce fine wines and take care of the vineyards, the olive groves, the botanical garden, the breeding of Cinta Senese pigs (from which they obtain precious cold cuts), the flock of sheep, the herd of Chianina breed cows, the farmyard animals, the pigeon farm, chicken breeding, and the fields of wheat, cereals and fodder.

It all began in the mid-Nineties, when the engineer visited the area of Castiglione d’Orcia and fell in love with it. In 1997, he decided to set up the farm that bears his name and at the same time discovered a place with a century-old history: Podere Petrucci, in a state of disrepair. It was to become the place of choice to recover the agricultural tradition and wines of the Val d’Orcia. From this encounter, a new and ancient entity was born, ready to inherit the commitment of peasant generations refined by a wealth of contemporary experiences.

This is Podere Forte.

The “biodynamic” choice

Respect for the environment is not only an investment in quality and health, but also a guarantee for the future and a factor of sustainability for the generations to come. The aim is to create products based on a balanced relationship for every living being affected by the work cycle. For this reason and in accordance with these aims, the company has undertaken a conversion in two phases: the first, begun in 2004, with which it obtained organic certification in 2008; the second, immediately after, resulted in Podere Forte obtaining international recognition for biodynamic agriculture certified by Demeter.

Biodynamic certification also translates into an absolute ban on the use of synthetic products in vine management. The only exceptions are the use of sulphur and copper as fungicides, supported by homeopathic preparations to combat plant diseases. The environment where the grapes grow respects biodiversity thanks to the proximal cultivation of olive groves, cereals and the presence of woodland, pastures and beehives for beekeeping that ensure the pollination of flowers and the migration of native leavenings on the skins of the grapes.

Podere Forte is also experimenting the use of drones for biodynamic treatments (valerian, grapefruit seed oil, nettles). Micro diffused treatments (the drone can transport up to 7.5 litres of liquid) without direct contact with the ground, thus totally eliminating any damage to crops and environmental impact, and increasing operator safety and application speed and care. 

Biodiversity

To preserve biodiversity, Podere Forte has recreated in its land plots the ancient idea of Roman cortes: the multifunctional farm where man, plants and animals contribute to creating an integrated, self-sufficient and sustainable macrocosm. It produces wines, extra virgin olive oil, honey and wheat. To complete biodiversity, the farm has introduced the breeding of Cinte Senesi (typical Tuscan pig), Chianine Cows, Suffolk sheep, as well as various species of farmyard animals, all fed with fodder and seeds of biodynamic origin.

The wines, true masterpieces of the Podere

But the real wager regards wines. And above all, the production of fine wines of the territory. Vineyard research and soil preparation has therefore been based on a recovery of the essence of Tuscany, enhancing the millenary oenological practices of the region and raising to heights of excellence the native grape variety of the Val d’Orcia: Sangiovese.

The Prince of Tuscany, this variety has found its highest expression at Podere Forte, becoming the “father” of Petrucci. Being a producer in Tuscany, however, means trying your hand, in an unbiased way, at the great Bordeaux blends which, with the name of Super Tuscan, are now firmly part of the wine production of the region.

The Winery

The winery and the entire winemaking process have been studied in full respect of the vital energies expressed by the vine and its terroir.

The winery, which has been tailor designed together with the machines and vats, is a one-of-a-kind environment. Built on five floors, of which only two are entirely above ground, the structure permits managing gravity flows thanks to the sumps which link the different floors. This way, the use of pumps is avoided, and grapes, musts and wine are allowed to flow towards bottling, thereby minimizing mechanical stress.

Great wines:

  • Petrucci Anfiteatro Orcia D.O.C. – Vigna Anfiteatro was born in 2008, carefully selected into the property for its great and unique pedological and microclimate features. Studies and research have declared Petrucci Anfiteatro, authentic expression of Sangiovese. The vineyard is planted with 7.800 vines per hectare, biological and biodynamically runed. It is vinified as a single Cru in a French oak vat of 110q.li studied for Vigna Anfiteatro. “Demeter” biodynamic certified, its production is of 6000 bottles. Ageing in French oak barriques of 228 lt and tonneau of 600 lt, of first and second hands for almost 18 – 20 months. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation (refinement in bottles of minimum12 months).

  • Petrucci Melo Orcia D.O.C. –Vigna Melo was born in 2003, it overlooks and dominates the entire property. This vineyard has a unique terroir and microclimates, and it has been created with of every details. Petrucci Melo is 100% Sangiovese. The vineyard is planted with 6.250 800 vines per hectare, biological and biodynamically runed. It is vinified as a single Cru. Ageing in French oak barriques of 228 lt and tonneau of 600 lt of first and second hands for almost 18 – 20 months. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation (refinement in bottles of minimum 12 months). “Demeter” biodynamic certified, its production is of 4000 bottles.

  • Guardavigna Toscana I.G.T. organic and biodynamic, “Demeter” biodynamic certified since 2011, production 5-6,000 bottles together with rare and precious large, numbered sizes. It is the expression of the best terroirs of Podere Forte, in a fine cuvée which combines with the dense texture and structure of Cabernet Franc, completed, in a small percentage, by the strength and gentleness of Merlot together with the complexity and persistence of Petit Verdot. The result is a red wine of great balance, sublime elegance and refined finesse. After the careful manual selection of the grapes, fermentation occurs with native leavenings separated for each plot/variety, the assembly of which takes place only after 18 months’ ageing in a combination, depending on the vintage, of different woods: French oak barriques, tonneaux and barrels. A further 15 months in the bottle complete élevage and are followed by release on the various markets on 1 October. Guardiavigna is the name of the small watchtower located in the most panoramic point of the Podere. Careful studies on the soils of the farm, whose calcareous-clayey characteristics meet the needs of Cabernet Franc, have prompted the testing of a single-variety wine; since 2016 the farm has concretized these studies with the production of Guardiavigna 100% Cabernet Franc.

  • Petruccino Orcia D.O.C. organic and biodynamic, produced with the same philosophy as Petrucci, ages in barriques. 20-25,000 bottles are produced. Born in 2002, it comes mainly from the younger vineyards and is a very pleasant red wine that fully expresses the character and fresh vivacity of pure Sangiovese. Produced with the same quality philosophy as Petrucci both in the vineyard and in the winery, it matures in barriques, partially second passage, for 12 months and then completes ageing in bottles for a further 9 months.

  • Corfiero I.G.T. Toscana initiation into the Art of good drinking of the Podere Forte’s wine, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese from whose union are born intense ruby hues, a wine that inebriates with a bouquet of refined scents. Ageing in French oak barriques of 228 lt and tonneau of 600 lt, of first and second hands for almost 18 months. A further 6-8 months of refinement in bottles.

HIGHLIGHT

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