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San Cassiano

San Cassiano

The family farm of San Cassiano is located in the Italian province of Veneto in the famous Valpolicella. The grandfather of the farm's current owner, 40-year-old Mirko Sella, planted the first vines on the farm in 1959. The grandfather and later Mirko's father and his brothers cultivated grapes, but sold them on to the local cooperative. In 2002, Mirko, who previously studied law like his brother, got the crazy idea to start using the farm's grape harvest himself, abandoned his potential career as a lawyer, and started making wines under the farm's own name. In 2004, Mirko's uncle decided to sell his share of the stables to Mirko and his father, because without offspring he had no direct successor to his own work. Today, the farm has a total of 18 hectares of vines, of which 14 hectares are devoted to Valpolicella red varieties, 2 hectares to Garganega and 2 hectares to international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In traditional Italian fashion, the farm also produces excellent olive oil.

The plots of San Cassiano are located partly on calcareous soil, most likely on volcanic soil, which is also transmitted to the wines as the grapes ripen slowly. The farm's style can be characterized as fresh and balanced: San Cassiano's amarones are not extravagant frankenstein wines that taste like a mixture of milk chocolate and raisin soup, but vinous and rich in style, which also work excellently with food. Valpolicella's hectares are patchily divided into 22 different plots, which is why the farm has not been able to certify its paddocks for organic production, even though it works in the paddocks with ecological methods, using pheromones for pest control.

Since 2007, the farm's grape production has purposefully started to focus on quality instead of quantity. The harvests in the nurseries have been significantly reduced compared to the cooperative years, and nowadays half of the vines grow in the traditional pergola Veronese style, while the new nurseries have more modern rows of guyot vines. In nurseries, other vegetation grows between the rows of vines, enriching the soil. In the cellar, Mirko's most important trump cards are extreme cleanliness and temperature-controlled steel tanks, which help keep the fermentation temperatures low enough, which makes the wines aromatically fruity and fresh. The cellar spaces are currently being expanded to allow for new barrels and a larger bottle storage. Mirko does not have its own bottling line, so bottling takes place at a rented line and in a neighbor's cellar. The wines are filtered and clarified before bottling, but the entire production is vegan-friendly.

According to Mirko Sella, the hearty winemaker-owner of the estate, perfection is never in a hurry. This philosophy can be seen everywhere in the operation of the farm. The wines are not corked or forced in any direction: the winemaker tries to interfere with the process as little as possible. The end result is somehow a calm and quite balanced wine, whose effects on the drinker are in the same direction.

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