giovedì 10 luglio 2014

A strong woman, a great wine: Ida Agnoletti

I have met few times in different fairs Ida Agnoletti and the impression I got has always been the same: a strong woman, with a strong character and clear ideas. She firmly supports her choices and she won’t change her mind easily. At a first glance I understood she is a woman to admire. A woman that makes you think that “you can do everything” if you believe in something.

Her wines are produced in Selva del Montello, in the hills surrounding the Treviso area. She is in love with her place, as much as she is in love with her wine and her job.
She is one of the first women who achieved the diploma at the Enological School of Conegliano, at that times a quite rare event I have to say. 
Starting to work in a world definitely “male chauvinist ” has not been easy for her. She encountered the first barriers when she started her career as enologist, a profession on which she spent 8 years. When she started to look for a new job it looks like nobody wanted to recruit her, despite the extensive “enological” experience matured beforehand. 
Honestly this doesn’t surprise me. The world of wine is not so “closed” as some years ago, but it’s still quite difficult to approach for a woman like me, like Ida and like many others women. There are still many prejudices difficult to overcome. 
Just think how many times you hear the following sentence: “this wine is quite soft/gentle/pander; I always serve it when there are women because I know they will like it”. Or, even worse, there is a common habit to associate sweet wine (or sparkling wines with a good % of residual sugar) to women tastes. 
OK: it’s true that those type of wines are very “easy” to be drunk and do not require a particular knowledge neither such a fine taste to be understood. But it’s also true that there is a universe of women who have a real passion for wines, aware of what they drink and with a very deep sensitivity that sometimes men lack of, which makes them more attentive and introspective in wine approaching.
Closing this bracket, I start from where I opened it. Ida was refused and so she decided to go ahead independently from prejudices : she started to produce wine on her own. Obstinate, brave, crazy? Passionate I would say.
She is doing everything: from the grape harvest (rigorously manual), up to the bottling and the packaging. Whatever activity needs to be done in the cellar in September she is involved in the first place. Basically she is on her own.
Ida produces mainly Incrocio Manzoni, Prosecco, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Anyway, her last bet has been the “Recantina”, an autochthonous grape not known out from the local territory. It was in the 17th Century under the names Recardina or Recandina. Through the Institute of Viticulture of Conegliano three varieties were identified; these are Recantina a Pecolo Scuro (dark stalk), Recantina a Pecolo Rosso (red handle) and the previously recorded in the official register of varieties Recantina Forner (according to the winery, where it was found )
Almost all Ida wines are not filtered and derive from indigenous yeasts; she uses new barriques and tonneaus, in order not to alter the original flavor of the grape. She is not supporting “trends”, “styles”, cliché and so on … She just follows her ideas and her principles.
Last week, I have tried her Prosecco made with Glera grape (the Selva 55) and I confirm that it’s different from the usual Prosecco, because of its milder sweetness and its stronger personality. It copes well alone, as aperitive, but also accompanying different type of meals, thanks to its degreasing properties. The residual sugar is only 3.5 g/l, almost a pas dosè., the reason why it doesn’t meet the taste of the crowd. 
The Seneca is a wine coming from the oldest vineyard (dating the ‘50s) and it’s made of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Ludwy is dedicated to her father, who used to sign with this name. It’s made of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Shiraz, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, a blend whose proportion can change depending on the year.
Last, but not least, the Follia, made of Incrocio Manzoni and for around 20% of Riesling Renano, bottled on its yeasts after max 3 “travasi. The Follia is produced only when Ida is convinced about it; when she is 100% sure that the conditions have been favorable. 
I still haven’t visited the Ida's cellar but I am so curious to discover with my eyes and breath with my nose the atmosphere that only a woman like her can transmit.


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