Azienda Vitivinicola Pantaleone, organic estate in Colonnata Alta, a ‘frazione‘ in the municipality of Ascoli Piceno, 3.1 miles (5km) from the city centre itself, in Ascoli Piceno province in the southern part of the Le Marche, a region on Italy’s Adriatic coast.
Owner | Family-owned. The estate was created by Nazzareno Pantaloni, who was born in 1948. Nazzareno worked in the local factory and on the land as a sharecropper (‘mezzadro’) for it’s elderly owner until the latter sold Nazzareno the land in the 1980s. Nazzareno started by farming grains. From 2000, when the factory started laying off its workers, bit by bit, Nazzareno prepared for the inevitable by planting vineyards, even if wine grapes were much more work compared to grains, especially since and he still had the day-job in the local factory. Nazzareno’s grapes were certified organic, and hand harvested in boxes and protected from the rain; but when Nazzareno saw his grapes being mixed up with other grapes that had been far less well cared for when taking them to the local wine co-operative he decided to create a winery and estate bottle. In 2005 and with the help of his daughters Francesca (b.1974, a graduate in economics) and Federica (b.1974, graphic designer) the first wines were made from 5ha of vines planted in 2000. Francesca’s husband Giuseppe Infriccioli, an oenologist, advised.
The name | The vineyards are arranged like an amphitheatre in a valley at the foot of which runs a moat (‘fossato’) called “Pantaleone”. This runs at the foot of the valley in Colonnata Alta, 5 km from Ascoli Piceno. Pantaleone derives from the Greek παν ie all and λέων meaning ‘lion’ or ‘strength’. It dates back to a local legend which suggests the land here produced notably robust and reviving crops (fruits, cereals, olives).
Vineyards | 50 hectares of land in Colonnata Alta, on the Ascoli hills, among the luxuriant woods that face Monte Ascensione (Ascension mountain). Of this 16ha are vineyards. Main grapes: Pecorino, Passerina, Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Bordò (which may be a biotype of Grenache noir). The oldest vines are Sangiovese planted in 2000. | Terroir The vines face south-east, and lie in an amphitheatre-like valley or ravine at around 450m asl. All vines are on slopes. | Mesoclimate | Day-time temperatures are around 25º C but drop to 12ºC at night. | Soils Loamy-clay, calcareous-clay and pure clay soil. Rich in potassium (a key element for overall vine health and yield). The potassium may come from the soil, or from water made salty due to the presence of a nearby wood. In the 1940s Federica’s grandmother would take the salty water from here when boiling pasta. The soil also contains some sandstone which is compact. | Yields | Low yields. 4 tons per ha for Montepulciano, 6 tons/ha max for Passerina, 5 tons/ha max for Pecorino, and 6 tons/ha max for Sangiovese.
Organic certification | 1998 First vintage with fill organic certification.
Biodiversity | 2019 Two cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs, sheep, ducks.
Winemaking | 100% hand picked. All wines ferment 100% in stainless steel. Anaerobic. 50hl. Non-vigorous clonal material.
Brut Chicca | Vino Spumante Brut Passerina. Made from Passerina.
Marche Passerina, Chicca | 2018 100% Passerina. Fermented in stainless steel. 13%. 20,000 bottles. Nice soft tropical salty apricots, mid-weight, at the estate 11 June 2019.
Onirocep, Falerio DOC Pecorino | Onirocep is the backwards spelling of Pecorino the name of the grape from which the wine is made. When this was bottled as an IGT varietal labelling was not allowed. This changed in 2012 when the IGT was upgraded to the Falerio Pecorino DOC. The vineyard is at 450m on clay and tuffeau (not volcanic) soils. It was planted in 2004 using budwood which Nazzareno culled from biotypes of Pecorino, so he could avoid clones. His source was an old farmer with vines between Offida and Arquata del Tronto. Their high altitude of 800m (2,624 feet) meant the Pecorino vines produced grapes with thick skins. They ripen late and have good levels of acidity. ‘Aspro-lama’. Best drunk after two years in bottle Federica told me. | 2008 Debut. As a Marche Bianco. | 2017 Tough vintage, wet. Salty savoury, nice. 14% alc. | 2018 14%. 22ppm sulfites. Balanced season. Not too hot. The right amount of rain at the right time. Picked early Sept. Later than usual. More vivacious than the 2017. Gets more complex as it ages, like the salty brightness (visit June 2019).
Pivuan | Peony, maybe poppy (deo Pivoine in French it says on the label). | 2018 13.5% Montepulciano. Picked 10 days early. Pressed. Salty, crunch, nice line through it. Balanced and well made (visit June 2019).
Atto Uno | Marche Sangiovese.
Atto 1 | Sangiovese. Planted in 2000. Compact, small bunches. So with rain a severe selection is needed. | 2016 Marche Sangiovese. 14%. Wet vintage. Nice crunchy structure, very distinct, light sourness but pure and wild with no fat on the bone and the right amount of fruit (visit June 2019).
Sipario | Marche Rosso. The lighter of two Montepulciano reds (the other is Boccascena, below). 100% stainless steel. Aged in botti grande. Wants it to be able to breathe. | 2015 Hot year, and do get that heat amongst some deep, focussed fruit. Plenty to get your teeth into (visit June 2019).
Boccascena | Marche Rosso. Montepulciano on a steep slope across the valley from the winery. NE facing. Planted 2007. | 2015 18m in barrels. Very clear black but not fully black fruit, dark red fruit with lovely wildness to it, vibrant tannin, very pure and bright (visit June 2019).
La Ribalta | Bordò (Grenache Noir). 18m in barrels. In time turns rusty in colour. The La Ribalta name refers to the theatre. | 2010 Slight TCA. Ageing well, pepper and spice, smoothed well by oak, well integrated alcohol. | 2014 Not made. | 2015 15% alc. Quite exotic. Aged in oak. Rich, quite powerful underneath. Soft-centred.
Visit to the winery Tuesday evening 11 June 2019.
Azienda Vitivinicola Pantaleone
Fraz. Colonnata Alta, 118
I-63100 Ascoli Piceno (AP), Italy
So when when he left fabb he could do monre time on vines. Vines, Bio. 1998 BIO wen more cereals. Planted vines.