Jason Boudville talks to Baldo Lucaroni of Montefalco
Jason Boudville talks to Baldo Lucaroni of Montefalco about the Porongurups and the future.
1) Why did you decide the Porongurups for a vineyard location?
Baldo Lucaroni: “My long-time friend Thierry Faiveley [from Domaine Faiveley, Nuits- Saint-Georges, Burgundy] was visiting WA and tasting various wines from different areas. His conclusion was that the Porongurup sub-region had the closest grape growing conditions to Europe with a longer growing season. This allows a more balanced ripening and producing a more complete wine, as far as flavour complexity and tannin structure goes. His comments influenced my decision to purchase land here and plant vines.
2) What are the greatest growing challenges (chief viticultural hazard)?
Baldo Lucaroni: “I wouldn’t know where to start [laughs]. First I learnt that kangaroos love eating young vine leaves so fencing off the entire vineyard was a solution. Then, as we decided not to use chemicals of any sort, controlling weeds was a problem until we started using the old method of thermal weed control using steam. Then, a few copper and sulphur applications (especially in a dust form) help save the vineyard from mildew. Then there is the bird challenge. If I had known before planting my vineyard, that unless I cover all the vines with nets that I wouldn’t have a crop, I wouldn’t have planted any vines! I hate bird netting.”
3) What impact do you think climate change will have on the Porongurups?
Baldo Lucaroni: “We can already see the effects of climate change. Lately our main rainfalls are in summer and not in winter [as it used to be]. Because of humid conditions it will be more difficult to control powdery and downy mildew, botrytis etc. Also persisting rains and clouds may influence ripening. It may be still too early to quantify the full impact of this ‘global warming’ and climate changes…”pristine and natural environment of the area. The ethos of Montefalco is to produce ‘naturalwine’ with methods that are sustainable and organic, so it was a logical choice to plant the vineyard.”
Sulphur dioxide added in the wine making process has been attributed to worse- than-normal hangovers and allergic reactions. Removing it comes at a cost though; preservative-free wines run the risk of microbial spoilage, oxidation and accelerated aging. But ably surviving the scrutiny of the panel, the Cab Sangio is a bright feather in the cap for wine maker Baldo. The deep amber hued wine was “an earthy score moving towards herbal cherry” as MT put it, with “bright juicy plums.” AM had “a bit one dimensional, flat finish and broad,” while I had notes comparable to MT’s: herbal juicy-suppleness, round and giving good balance to acid. An impressive preservative-free wine; we scrawled our notes in ink and archived it in red.
We all looked at each other and gave a consensual nod to the overall impression of this wine. The blood-red coloured wine had such a “cherry aroma” that all panel members bar me had it down as their primary descriptor. “Pruney red fruits.” There are lots of creases and crevices this wine could flow into: “lifted red currant and cherries – rich ripe and multifaceted” wrote MT. AM thought “complex savoury dark cherry – attractive but simple.” There is a slight CO2 spritz on the palate, but other than that, it’s varietal, plush, round and the savoury characters dance on the horizon of your palate.
Spice Magazine Autumn 2011