I had the pleasure of video chatting with the man behind part of the winemaking and most of the commercials at Antica Corte - Elia Bortoletti.
Elia is a young and ambitious winemaker who is passionate about his natural wines and hopes that one day you'll get to taste them.
Antica Corte is an emerging name in the natural wine word, how did it all start?
It all started in 2011, when my uncle Christian decided to start making Soave wine using ancient techniques and with respect towards the vineyard's natural cycles. He purchased a plot of land near Costeggiola (Soave/Verona) - an interesting area when it comes to grape growing thanks to its south-west facing position on a hill. Antica Corte represents the first winery in Soave to use a natural and low intervention approach both in the vineyard and in the winery.
Who are the people behind Antica Corte?
Myself and my uncle Christian are the winemakers at Antica Corte. We have a strong family relationship and work together to produce the wines that we love. We both have a background in agriculture from the University of Padua and we share a passion for the land and nature. Christian works primarily in the vineyard and in the winery, while I take care of the commercials, customer relationships, tastings and of promoting Antica Corte's values of love and respect towards nature.
Christian and Elia. Pictures courtesy of Antica Corte.
Tell me about your wines.
At Antica Corte, our philosophy is to make wines that are crips and easy drinking. We only produce two wines: Soave DOC and Rosso Veronese. Our Soave DOC is called Pressi which is the area where the vines grow on pink limestone soils that are unique to our "cru". The wine is crisp and easy drinking, ideal as a "by the glass" option and goes really well with aperitivo, pasta dishes and fish. It has a strong sapid and mineral component on the palate, which is given by the terroir. A small amount of sulfur is added when bottling (20mg/L). Our Rosso Veronese IGT Crearolo is a blend of 90% Corvina and 10% Merlot. It's a wild red. There is a centennial olive tree in the middle of the vineyard and in the wine you can find the intense fruit aromas that derive from it. Unfiltered and no added sulfur. Great for aperitivo and with dinner, perfect with cured meats and cheeses. It's the only red that is made in the Soave DOC area.
Tell me about your "cru".
The area where Antica Corte is located - Costeggiola - was recently awarded its own "cru" by the Consorzio, whose initiative was to reclassify the areas within Soave in 33 geographical units. Costeggiola 's own "cru" was given thanks to the unique type os soil that characterise the area - the pink limestone. This kind of soil allows our wines to achieve aromas that you wouldn't find in other Soave wines.
Our Soave is different as it presents a high sapidity that differs from the usual high acidity that Soave wines normally have. We are planning to add the Costeggiola denomination to our labels, to show that our wines benefit from this beautiful and unique terroir.
What does natural wine mean for Antica Corte?
It means growing grapes and making wine like our ancestors used to.
We choose quality over quantity and we believe in making wines that we love.
We are both winemakers and wine drinkers. Natural winemaking also means respecting our land and the natural cycles of the vineyard. Our vineyards are biodiverse to allow insects to thrive. We have hedges that protect our vineyards from external contamination by any pesticides and other chemicals that our neighbours may use.
The journey continues - let the wine tasting begin!