Di Filippo is an organic estate in Cannara, a commune in Perugia province in Umbria in central Italy. Owners the di Filippo family describe their estate as a ‘Draft Horse’ winery due to its reliance on animal traction. It also uses Biodynamic practices. White wines are made under the Colli Martani DOC. Red wines are made under the Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG, plus the Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG Passito and Vernaccia di Cannara DOC (both dried grape wines).
Owner: Roberto di Filippo: Consultant: Emilio Falsini has consulted here almost from the start.
Horses & geese: The owners wanted to respect the environment, and combine the love for their work with quality production. They adopted low impact viticulture. Part of the vineyards see no machines, and almost all work is carried out with the help of animals. In 2009 draught horses were introduced to reduce soil compaction which inevitably destroys the soil structure and reduces its fertility. The use of fossil fuels is avoided, and work can be done in silence, unlike with tractors. From 2012 4ha was farmed as far as possible with horses. The chosen breeds were work horses such as the Italian Rapid Draft Farmhorse (TPR), the French Comptois or the Noriker (Norico). Also in 2010 geese were introduced to a few rows of vines to be weeded by geese. For a hectare of land, about 60 geese are needed. The geese run free and feed on the vegetation which grows wild between the rows of vines. Until July they are not interested in grapes, perhaps because they are too sour. In August they start to eat the lower bunches within easy reach. From then on it is better to move the geese elsewhere. Our geese have become part of the “Pollo Rurale” (Country Chicken) project, which was created by Professor Cesare Castellini in collaboration with the Faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Science at Perugia University. We all discovered that geese reared in this way provide a meat which is not only better and tastier, but also healthier: free range geese which are fed on grass rather than dry feed, have, above all, a perfect fatty acid content of essential Omega 3 and Omega 6.
Biodynamics: The estate ‘started experimenting with biodynamic preparations in 2008, because ‘we realized the need to increase fertility of the soil and to bring back the correct balance between soil, plants and productivity.’
Vineyards: 30 hectares (74 acres) of land.
Certification: 1997 First vintage with full organic certification.
Frizzante Secco: NV 13.0% vol on tiny front label. Not labelled as a Colli Martani. A white, fizzy white made from Sangiovese. Bottle given to me by Guelfo Magrini in Montegiovi on Sunday 2nd June 2008. Tasted soon afterwards: nice soft icing sugar texture and fruit, softly rolling mousse, crisp too.
Malafemmena: Bianco Frizzante dell’Umbria
Farandole: 2017 Bianco dell’Umbria. 13.5%. Juice spent a few hours on skins as this vintage gave wines with the potential for lots of colour. Nice creamy lemon and saltiness from Spoletino’s acidity (Anteprima 18 Feb 2019).
Grechetto | 2017 Bianco dell’Umbria IGT. Mix of early and later pickings. Lovely creamy yellow fruit (the Montefalco anteprima 18 Feb 2019). | 2019 Straw yellow. Plenty of texture. 30K. Fair bit of tannin (from skin contact I think and plenty of texture (visit, 2020).
Grechetto, Senza Solfiti | 2018 Bianco dell’Umbria IGT. No added sulfites. From the goose vineyard. 6,000 bottles. Still on lees, lovely clean, creamy fruit (Anteprima 18 Feb 2019).
Grechetto, Sassi d’Arenaria: Colli Martani DOC.
Villa Conversino: Bianco dell’Umbria IGT
Spoletino, IGT Umbria Bianco: Trebbiano Spoletino. | 2018 Fermented in stainless steel. 6m on lees. 13.5% alc. Plenty of texture again. Tannin and inner freshness (visit, 2020).
Villa Conversino Rosato: Rosato dell’Umbria IGT.
Sangiovese Senza Solfiti, Rosso dell’Umbria IGT
Sangiovese, Rosso dell’Umbria IGT
Colli Martani DOC Riserva Sangiovese, Properzio | 2015 100% Sangiovese. 12 months in oak. Light crimson. Little bit reductive (visit, 2020). 6,000 bottles.
Terre di San Nicola: Rosso dell’Umbria IGT. | 2017 Good level of concentration, peppery darkish cherry fruit. Still a little angular (visit, 2020).
Villa Conversino Rosso: Rosso dell’Umbria IGT.
Montefalco Rosso DOC: 2012 60% Sangiovese, 25% Barbera, 15% Sagrantino. Aged 50% in barrels and 50% in larger oak. Bright brambly nose, soft and inviting with the wood as underlay (visit, 2020). | 2016 Sangiovese, Barbera, Sagrantino. Unoaked. Lovely savoury clear fruit, can drink it now (Anteprima 2019).
Montefalco Rosso DOC, Sallustio: Sangiovese 60%, Barbera 25%, Sagrantino 15%. | 2012 60% Sangiovese, 25% Barbera, 15% Sagrantino. Aged 50% in barrels and 50% in larger oak. Bright brambly nose, soft and inviting with the wood as underlay (Visit 2020). | 2015 14.5%. Clean, crunchy, youthful red cherry fruit (Anteprima 2019). |
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG, Etnico: 2009 16.5%. | 2014 Sagrantino. Clear, focused, nice crunch (one part spends only a short time on skins) and depth (Anteprima 2019). | 2015 Lovely wild flavours, small dark red berries. Well structured, juicy-sappy, not yet knit on the palate, plenty yo get your teeth into. Part has only a short skin contact to lighten it (visit, 2020).
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG, Di Filippo | 2007 15.5%. | 2012 100% Sagrantino. Very young and deep, tannic but ripe spicey berries (Millésime Bio 2015). 2015 Vat sample: youthful, ripe-tasting fruit, crisp and dense without being abrasive or heavy (Anteprima 2019). | 2015 Warm smooth fruit, tannins kick in at the end with plenty of juicy-sappy fruit in the middle. Gives it a nice round shape. Still a little angular internally for now but all the elements are there (visit, 2020).
Dried grape wines
Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG Passito: 2015 16.5% alc. Soft nose, that slightly muffled aroma beneath which lies beautifully wild red fruit with delicious sweetness and glycerol (check) richness. Plenty of tannin but this is amortised thanks to both the natural sweetness and the careful level of extraction (visit, 2020).
Colli Martani DOC, Vernaccia di Cannara: Vino passito made from the Cornetta (Vernaccia Nera) grape. | 2017 Sloe berry nose, very dense, a wall of aroma. Soft palate, plenty of texture, really juicy dried fruit–a winning contrast (visit, 2020).
Vocabolo Conversino, 153
I-06033 Cannara (PG), Italy
Tel+39 0742 | Website: www.vinidifilippo.com/en
Visit to di Filippo Sunday 03rd Feb 2020.
My podcast with Roberto di di Filippo.