Moroder, family-owned organic estate in the Marche region of Italy producing red wines under the Rosso Cònero DOC and Cònero DOCG. Its speciality is red wine from the Montepulciano grape, Alessandro Moroder told me at the estate in 2019. White wines are also made under the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico denomination.

Owners | Alessandro Moroder (1951) and his wife Serenella (1959) = 7th generation. Their sons Marco (b.1984. Speaks English. Loves motocross. His dad taught him to ride.) and Mattia (b.1989. Speaks English) are fully involved in the business (8th generation). The farm has been owned by the Moroder family since the late 1700’s, when an enterprising forefather moved to Ancona from the Val Gardena (Trentino) and built his fortune by trading handmade wooden madonnas (‘arte sacra’). He subsequently decided to transform the old farm, so that since 1837 agriculture has been the family’s main occupation. He did a bit of wine with other crops. Then the family moved to Rome in 1915ish. In 1980 Serenella and Alessandro Moroder decided take over the estate, to move here, and to focus on wine. This was in the wake of Italy’s methanol scandal. The couple wanted to focus on quality, exploiting the area’s already strong vocation for red wine. They believed in the potential of Rosso Cònero, the first DOC wine of the Marche region.

Staff | Franco Bernabei consulted until 2010. He was followed by Roberto Cantori (who now has his own winery) who was cellar master and oenologist from 2011-2014. From 2016 Marco Gozzi, a local oenologist has made regular visits to the estate.

Vineyards | 50ha of land. The vineyards comprise 32ha. Of this 22ha are Montepulciano, of which many old vines. The Montepulciano is trained to double guyot or doppio capovolto because ‘this is the best way to avoid green pips’, Alessandro Moroder told me at the winery in 2019. Montepulciano ripens late. The windy conditions (at night) and salty sea air helps reduce disease pressure on the Montepulciano. The remaining portion of vineyards range between 15 and 25 years and cover several varieties: from the local Malvasia di Candia, Verdicchio and Moscato to the international Merlot and Syrah. Usually yields range between 2,500 and 3500 kilos per acre, depending on several factors such as the age of the vineyards and their exposition. Sangiovese is also grown but is more vigorous than Montepulciano and can produce higher yields if encouraged to do so (which is not the case here).

Terroir | The vineyards are situated on the edge of Ancona within the Monte Cònero Nature Reserve. This was established to preserve the area’s unique Mediterranean flora and fauna. No pesticides or chemicals are used because the vineyards are in the nature reserve. The vines are in Montacuto, a small hamlet in the municipality of Ancona, less than a kilometre from the sea, as the crow flies. The vineyards occupy a narrow strip of hilly land at 200-250 metres (600-750 feet), overlooking the Adriatic sea (which surrounds the vines for 180 degrees). South and south-east exposition. Neutral soil ph (8.0). Salty air. The wind is OK for organics. No stagnant air. Calcareous-clay soils (clay = holds water). No sandy soils. 

Organic certification | IPM for 20 years until 2011 when they went organic. | 2011 First vintage with full organic certification. | 2019 Still certified organic.

Sustainability | Solar panels on the roof of the car park. Underground cellar with no need for chilling.

Winery | The winery is located on the ground floor of an 18th-century old farmhouse. Large French-oak and Slavonian-oak varrels and vats. A vault-like cave, partially dug into the underlying clay, was used as an ice-store. The snow was pressed with straw. It now serves as a cellar for barriques and tonneaux, As the winery grew, the cellar was expanded. The new facility has been entirely built underground. It includes space intended for wine production and storage, the tasting room and the barrique cellar. This space is designed to age and mature wines and it is characterized by the unique terracotta vaults and the oak wall-cladding.

Winemaking | Alessandro Moroder told me he favours longer, slower ferments for Montepulciano (25-28°C). Wants a wine which holds its fruit. MLF post-alcoholic fermentation.

Wine production | About 140,000 bottles per year.

Sparkling wines – White

Biancònero | The name is a play on words: a ‘bianco’ or white from the Cònero massif made from both white and red (‘nero’) varieties. Also, the Juventus football team’s supporters are called the ‘BiancoNeri’ or the ‘black and whites’ after the colour of the team’s home shirt. | 2018 90% Moscato, 10% Alicante Nero. 10,000 bottles. Fermentation stopped by chilling. 6.5% alcohol.

Moroder Extra Dry | 2018 100% Montepulciano. Charmat method. 11.5% alc.

Sparkling wines–Pink

Moroder Rosé | 2018 50% Merlot & Syrah. Charmat method. 12% alc.

White wines

Candiano | 2017 Marche Bianco. 80% Trebbiano, 20% Malvasia di Candia. Hand picked. Fermented in stainless steel. 5m in steel. Bottled. 12% alc. 5,000 bottles.

Malvasia | 2017 Marche Bianco. 100% Malvasia di Candia. 5,000 bottles. Hand picked. Pressed chilled (dry ice). Fermented in stainless steel. 6m in steel. Bottled. 12% alc. 5,000 bottles.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico | 2017 7,000 bottles. Fermented in steel. 6m on fine lees in steel tanks. Unoaked. 13.5% alc.

Pink wines

Rosa | Marca Rosato. Formerly called Rosa di Montacuto but the name of the Montacuto località is no longer allowed on the label. | 2017 60% Syrah, 20% each Alicante (Grenache Noir) and Montepulciano. Unoaked. 7,000 bottles.

Red wines

Rosso Conero DOC, Zero | Zero signified a wine made with no added sulphites. Add a tannin extracted from certified organic red wine marc called Epica (made by a Swiss company called Bioma). Add it after the end of alcoholic fermentation and MLF. | 2017 Debut. 100% Montepulciano. Not the best vineyard. 40hl as a trial. 14.5% alc. | 2018 100% Montepulciano. 14%. 8m in steel and glass lined cement. No added sulfites. 7,700 bottles. Sold locally to private clients and restaurants. Soft, slightly reduced initially but opened out nicely at the winery in 2019.

Rosso Conero DOC, Moroder | 1984 Debut. | 2001 100% Montepulciano. 80 quintals/ha. 80,000 bottles. Euros 4.30 ex cellars in 2003. Fermented in stainless steel, temperature control, selected yeast. Aged almost one year in Slavonian oak casks from 1100-1500 litres. Jet black, slightly baked nose, dense, some pepper (perhaps from the vats), not bad, elegant fruit masked by the older wood, when tasted at the Enoteca in Jesi on Thursday 5th June 2003. | 2013 Rosso Cònero DOC. 30,000 bottles. 100% Montepulciano. Hand picked. 12 days on skins. 24m in 27hl oak. 14%. This is bright, creamy and savoury/wild fruit. Well structured on Sunday 04th September 2016 at the Palazzo Honorati-Carotti in Jesi. | 2016 100% Montepulciano. Hand picked mid-October. 14%. 52hl/ha. Fermented in steel and cement. 10-12 days on skins with pump overs. Aged 18m in 27hl botti. 30,000 bottles. This was very smooth, dark, well put together.

Rosso Conero DOC, Aiòn | Around 30,000 bottles of Aiòn are made annually. The name is Greek (‘noia’ spelled backwards in Italy). Want a wine with varietal character, with no oak, and good for eg. pizza. | 2004 Debut vintage. | 2016 100% Montepulciano. Fruit-forward style when taste in the Marche 01st Sept 2017. Lovely. | 2017 85% Montepulciano, 15% Sangiovese. Hand picked early October. 57hl/ha. 4-5 days on on skins with pump over. Aged 10 months in steel and cement tanks. No oak. 13.5% alc. 35,000 bottles. | 2018 100% Montepulciano. This was very smooth, dark, well put together in the Marche in 2019.

Conero DOCG Riserva, Moroder | From 3ha of Montepulciano vines planted in 1997. South-east facing. Same soil, exposition and clone as the Dorico bottling (below). | 2015 100% Montepulciano. Hand picked. Cold soak for 3-5 days. 15-20 days on skins. MLF. 30 months in wood: 50% in tonneaux and barrels, 50% in 27hl oak vats. 14.5%. Very smooth, dark, well put together in the Marche in 2019. 13,000 bottles.

Conero DOCG Riserva, Dorico | 1959 Montepulciano vines. Biotypes. south-east facing. Unusual to find such a well-integrated oak aged Montepulciano from this area. Not made every year. A selection of the best grapes. | 2011 100% Montepulciano. 8,000 bottles. 25 days on skins. 36m in barrels. 14.5%. Rich, bit short maybe, wild black berry fruit, almost pruney. Wants a bit more elegance on Sunday 04th September 2016 at the Palazzo Honorati-Carotti in Jesi. | 2013 100% Montepulciano. 14.5%. A selection. Big, super-ripe, picked late in the Marche 01st Sept 2017. | 2015 100% Montepulciano. Picked mid-October. 30hl/ha. 14.5% alc. Cold soak for 3-5 days. 20 days on skins with pump overs. MLF in barrel. 30 months in barriques. 10,000 bottles. 14.5% alc. Very smooth, dark, well put together in the Marche in 2019. 

Sweet white wines

Passito, Oro | 2013 Moscato Bianco. Barrel fermented. 14m in barrel. 2,500 bottles. 14.5%.

Other products

Vino e Visciole | NV 50% Montepulciano, 50% cherry from the Visciolo (Prunus cerasus) or the sour cherry tree which grows on the estate.

Other Crops

Grappa di Rosso Cònero. Grappa Dorico (aged in barrique).

Olio Extra Virgine d’Oliva made from Leccino, Frantoio and Raggia; hand picked and cold pressed.

Other farmland too.

Restaurant

The estate has its own restaurant called Aiòn. It is located in an 18th-century farmhouse in the vineyards. It has a huge open fireplace. It takes its name from the Greek God of time. Vegetables, meat, chickpeas, lentils, beans, and barley are sourced from the estate itself.

Contact

Moroder

Via Montacuto, 112 | I-60129 Ancona, Italy

Tel+39 071.898232 | www.moroder.wine

Directions | From Ancona head to Baia di Portonovo, turn for Montacuto. From the A14: Take the Ancona Sud exit, follow signs for Stadio.

Bibliography

Visit to the winery 13th June 2019.