SELVADOLCE | BORDIGHERA | ITALY
Practising biodynamic since 2005.
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, wanting to take over his father’s work and improve the farming practices by looking for alternative ways to grow the plants. He first learnt the basics of biodynamic farming in Langhe, then followed up with a Nicholas Joly course that would ultimately shape his way of thinking, and convince him to start making wine at Selvadolce instead of continuing to grow flowers only.
Aris’s grandfather had planted vineyards in his younger years using local grape varieties such as Pigato and Vermentino. The first vintage with these grapes was released in 2007, and somehow became a bit of a life lesson for Aris as he had never made wine before, and barely drinks even to this day. Having no experts around him forced Aris to learn how to be observant in the cellar, letting nature be the guidance, and as a result he produced what we now call “natural wine” from the very beginning.
Aris is now looking after 7 ha. 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 on 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, and just like his unique self and taste, these superb wines are truly like nothing else we've come across before.