La Biancara

Veneto (Gambellara), Italy
website

Angiolino Maule is one of the most potent forces in sustainable winemaking. He began his working life as a pizzaiolo. But he was drawn to winemaking and moved to the hills of Veneto, specifically Gambellara. Since the 1980s, Maule has led the way in natural farming and winemaking. Today he is joined by his sons Francesco and Alessandro.

Gambellara is essentially the extension of the Soave foothills in Veneto, which continue into Vicenza where the wine changes its name, but not its general composition. The principal white grape is Garganega, often blended with small amounts of Trebbiano. These hills are volcanic in origin, and have rich, dark mineral soils with good amounts of fine clay. They are south facing slopes that are protected from Alpine northern winds by the southern Dolomites. The altitude here is between 150 to 250 meters.

Angiolino’s estate, in the hamlet of Biancara, now covers about 9 ha. For more than 16 years he has plowed in his vines and not used any soil treatments, chemical or otherwise. Using biodynamic viticultural practices, Angiolino has created an organic, living soil and ecosystem to promote healthy vines and build their resistance to any form of malady. He is staunch in his belief that great wines are the result of healthy, beautiful, handpicked fruit, and the only way to achieve this is through natural processes. 

Furthermore, he believes that the work in the cellar -- vinification, aging and bottling --must be consistent with the work in the vines and involve no additives that compromise the natural fruit material, for better or worse. The vinifications are conducted without temperature control, the addition of sulfur, enzymes or yeast and without the use of fining or filtration. And the wines are stunning, pure expressions of Gambellara!