From Vine Farmer:
Aris Blancardi’s Selvadolce farm is endowed with breathtaking coastal vines: overlooking the sea and marked by the fierce Mistral winds that also define the Rhone Valley and nearby Provence. Seeing Selvadolce, smelling the complex mélange of plants and life mixed with a kiss of the sea and winds from the mountains, it all makes sense. This is complex land.
The reuslts at Selvadolce turn almost all popular wisdom about "natural" and "conventional" wines upside down. The wines are routinely opened days before tasting with no oxidation. They never re-ferment in bottle despite sometimes having residual sugar and no added sulfites. This is in sharp contrast to the mass of “natural” wines that barely make it to the next town with any vitality.
The secret is patience and not coercing the wines in any way. Wines are fermented and aged in old oak, on the fine lees, for as long as is needed – if a fermentation takes 3 years to finish, so be it. Aris explains that natural stability is always achieved when the wines are given the time and latitude to determine their own path. Paolo Bea and Nikolaihof in Austria achieve parallel results using similar methods.
For me, I cannot recall ever tasting such beautiful white wines with almost no fruit aromas. The aromas are of the land - rocks, salt, herbs, flowers - and perhaps some fruit. It simply works; the wines have soaring aromatics that pull the drinker in closer with each smell. A bottle here and there is typically all that can be found as most are snapped up quickly upon release by those in the know. Each bottle bears the number produced that vintage; a clear reminder that nature is in charge.
The Wine - Rucantu' is the only old vine selection of Pigato at Selvadolce. As with VB-1, extended skin contact, and primary fermentation, malolactic fermentation and aging all in old barrel, on the fine lees. Rucantu' is also allowed the latitude to be sweet or dry, depending on the conditions of the particular vintage.