“I have a winery in Toscana, come visit me one day!” – said jewelry designer Suzanne Syz during the interview.
An article about wine producers, famous in first place for some other activity, had already been scheduled. For a lucky coincidence, Suzanne and her Fattoria di Caspri were exactly matching the case and thus the invitation was happily accepted.
Fattoria di Caspri is a living example of how generous nature can be if you treat it the right way: respecting the resources it offers, and not forcing it to give you more than it can.
Caspri is located on peaceful Tuscan hills not far from Arezzo. Its 9 hectares of vineyards give the biggest harvest and the best grapes in the area and are studied by students of agricultural universities as an example of a perfectly functioning natural ecosystem.
The director of Caspri is Bertrand Habsiger – an experienced sommelier from Alsace, or “just a farmer” as he introduced himself. For almost 14 years he’s been taking care of this land, bringing it back to life after the previous owner. “The soil was simply dead. It stank of ammonia and was just pressed dust. Completely exhausted” – recalled Bertrand.
What helped to revive the land was biodynamic. Getting ready for the visit, I read a lot about this method, and mostly the articles about it translated the idea of biodynamic as almost esoteric. And people, putting in practice biodynamic principles are seen as a kind of crazy shamans. So I was ready for anything.
Jokes apart, the biodynamic system is the most natural thing one can imagine. Its principles are simple: give the land what it needs and no more. Don’t squeeze it to have an extraordinary harvest for just several years, but study it and find the balance which will lead to a constant regular reproduction.
At Caspri they don’t use any pesticides or other chemicals. Instead, they give herbal teas on rainwater and decoctions of vegetable extracts to the soil and plants. “If you dig the ground and see a happy warm – that’s the sign of a healthy environment” – explained Bertrand.
Fattoria di Caspri pays tribute to the native grape varieties of the area, such as Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Ciliegiolo for red wines, and Trebbiano and Malvasia for whites. Along with them, there are non-local, but feeling very good on Tuscan land, Syrah, Grenache and Pinot Noir.
At the present day, Caspri produces 6 reds, 1 rose, and 1 white wine. All rustic, provocative, and honest. Unfined, unfiltered.
Reds are Tony, Syrah, Bella Vita, Poggio Cuccule, Rosso di Caspri, Ciliegiolo… The list can’t be over, as guys really like experimenting, and I have already seen one new label named after a girl working in the cantina.
If you don’t usually drink organic or biodynamic wines, their intensity can be surprising for you. It’s an explosion of bright scents and tastes, though smooth and pleasant to drink. All the wines are rich, yet soft, and simply delicious – that’s the exact word which comes to mind.
If I had to choose one of reds, I’d pick two – Tony (a blend of Sangiovese and Syrah) and Ciliegiolo, because I like the scent of berries and spices. My personal favorite of all the Caspri wines is the white one – Luna Blu, a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia. It is pure summer in a bottle, with its fresh citrus peel and resin notes. This wine takes me back to my childhood, to my grandma’s summer garden.
The methods applied at Fattoria di Caspri are controlled by Suolo e Salute – the first Inspection and Certification Body in Italy for organic certification. Recently the winery has been certified by Demeter – the largest certification organization for biodynamic agriculture. A couple of weeks before the visit, Caspri’s wines got high marks in James Suckling rate.
Fattoria di Caspri also has 7 hectares of olive groves and produces wonderful non-filtered oil.
By its example, Caspri demonstrates the privilege of their methods, based on principles of no harm, care, and respect for nature. Principles of sustainability and responsibility – the same principles, which Surreal Generation stands for.