Sunday evening I was totally wiped out from being up all night in Modena and then running the hills around Florence. It was a huge relief to get out into the hills behind Arezzo and arrive at Paterna.
Paterna was originally a family farm, but in December 1978 it was turned into a small commune by a group of friends that wanted to go back to traditional Tuscan farming and get out of Florence.
A busy afternoon at Paterna
Looking up into the foothills of the Appenines above the vineyard. Paterna is on some of the highest land in Chianti so they have more wind and it's colder. They call the wind the Tramontina and it was blowing down out of the mountains the whole time we were there.
Claudia (pictured on the left) was a student of one of the members Marco, one of the members of the commune who is also a professor, back in 1996. She was studying traditional farming and products of Tuscany and ended up working on the farm. She now does most of the vineyard management and wine making.
Claudia talking about pruning the vines very close to limit vigor and tying the vines in the old way with the cuttings from the previous vintage.
Pugnitello vines. Paterna works with exclusively old Local Tuscan grape varieties like Canaiolo, Colorino, Ciliegiolo, Pugnitello, and Sangiovese. Pugnitello is an old very powerful variety that's thick skinned and low yielding. It makes "punchy" wine that huts you in the face and the root word of the name is the Italian word for Fist. They have about .8 of a hectare. Only 15 producers are growing Pugnitello.
Classic dense dry clay based Tuscan soil. There's some sand mixed in so it's not rock hard or as dense as clay based soils can be.
Walking back talking about the difficulty of growing grapes totally naturally. She said she envies her neighbor who sometimes has twice as many grapes by farming conventionally, but she believes in her wines, their liveliness, the life in her vineyards, and the generations old wine making techniques.
The old school cantina at Paterna. Fermentation happens in the stainless steel and then pretty much everything goes into cement to rest. The Il Rosso and Terraio don't spend any time in the oak casks (none are new) while the older vine cuvees like Pugnitello and Vignanova spend varying amounts of time in barrel.
Tasting the newly bottled wines and talking with Claudia about how she's excited to try the biodynamic treatment 500 to stimulate microbial life in the soil. She had it stored in the clay pot in front of her.
An old over grown stream bed next to a vineyard at Paterna. Their vineyards are broken up into lots of little plots to make it easier to tailor their farming methods the each particular situation but also to leave wild space like this providing room for birds, animals, and insects that balance the overall ecosystem. The bird song at sunrise the next morning was awesome and a clear demonstration of how alive their vineyards are.