Baldo’s Bold Red Vision

When colourful Italian immigrant Baldo Lucaroni decided to quit his homeland for WA in 1975, he did not expect to be pioneering the grape variety Sagrantino from his native Umbria. He plans to begin planting the old Italian variety on his 800-hectare mixed farm in the Great Southern Porongurup area as soon as the cuttings are released from quarantine and believes his move may lead to a new red wine for WA.

Sagrantino, mainly grown in Montefalco, produces a lively if at times tannic wine that sometimes is blended with sangiovese. But Baldo will have none of that. He reckons his Porongurup plateau, a cool 300m above sea level, will produce a dry red that many will enjoy. That assessment is based on 20 years of experience in the US as export director for his uncle’s Umbrian wine, Lungarotti.

Previously, the 61-year-old who studies Latin, ancient Greek, philosophy and law, grew and made wines for his family, learning from his grandfather. He chose WA because of the cleaner environment, much smaller population and cheaper land, planting sangiovese and nebbiolo as well. Each will be a different varietal, “Personally, in Australia, I believe the
grapes are harvested too late,” he says “The result is too much sugar and extremely high alcohol and low acidity. I believe in good barrels of acidity and sugar, rather than the other way around. You can acid adjust as much as you like but it is not the same.

“I think here in the Porongurup, we can get much closer to the Italian style yet still have a distinctive Australian wine that is not quite as tannic. It should be ideal with Italian food.”

~ by Mike Zekulich of Winestate Magazine - 2003


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