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Selvadolce | Aris Blancardi
'Nature gives itself what it needs. That is what’s so terrifying about GMO in the plant world. Us humans, we use technology and software. If a program fails, we can start again — we can reboot the computer. But if we permanently modify something in a plant and it doesn’t work, nature’s answer is evolution, and that can take millions of years.'
We first came across the wines from Selvadolce, a small biodynamic farm in Bordighera on the coast of Liguria, in 2013 at a tasting in Champagne, and have been fans of the work of Aris Blancardi ever since. Selvadolce is a family legacy – a flower farm that has been around for more than a century on the Bordighera Hills. After working as a horse veterinarian, Aris came back to the family business, taking over his father’s work and improved the farming practices by looking for alternative ways to grow flowers. He first learnt the basics of biodynamic farming in Langhe, then followed up with a course led by Nicholas Joly that convinced him to start making wine at Selvadolce.
Aris’ grandfather had planted vineyards using local grape varieties such as Pigato and Vermentino. The first vintage with these grapes was released in 2007. Having no experts around him Aris was forced to learn how to be observant in the cellar, letting nature be the guide, and as a result he produced what we now call “natural wine” from the very beginning.
Aris looks after 7 hectare of vineyards that are strongly influenced by the sea and the powerful mistral winds. The vines are comprised of a few young vineyards of Pigato, Vermentino, plus some splendid vineyards of Rossese that he planted at 600m altitude on sandy soil, close to the inland village of Dolceacqua. For most of the wines, fermentation happens naturally in wooden vats. Some stirring of the lees is done to give a little boost for the yeast to finish fermentation, as Aris picks grapes with high alcohol potential which always magically turn into fresh and vibrant wines. Aris also experiments with a few skin maceration whites made from the old vines his grandfather planted. These superb wines are truly inspiring and nothing like we've come across before.