In addition to skill, nerve and hard physical labour, it is a well known fact that winemaking requires patience or pazienza in Italian. This level of patience is perfectly demonstrated by Christoph Kuenzl of Le Piane with his recent release of a totally new wine from Boca: Plinius I.
This wine was born of somewhat accidental circumstance in 2007 with a fermenting, open steel tank of nebbiolo. After 4-5 days, the insulated tank reached temperatures of up to 38 degrees and fermentation stopped, leaving still 12 grams of residual sugar per litre.
What to do? Has he just lost 15 hectolitres (1500 litres) of precious wine? The yeasts are obviously dead. The wine is still sweet and tastes of cooked plum.
Christoph decided to do nothing. He was curious. And then, after a few days, slowly, very slowly, fermentation resumed and continued on until January when the wine was drawn off and put into large barrels of Slavonian oak.
After three years, when the wine is usually bottled, the wine was still not yet ready. Again, Christoph followed his instincts and left the wine another year. After the fourth year the wine was still ‘moving’ in the barrel, so he left it for yet another year.
Five years the wine spent in wood and then another two years in the bottle. Finally, in 2015 a new page in the history of Boca was written, ready to amaze the world.
Made of the same grapes as the classic Boca Le Piane – nebbiolo and a cut of vespolina – Plinius I is an entirely new wine, of only 1,998 bottles.
Energetic, crisp and clean, with aromas of herbs and hints of watermelon, peach, ripe vegetable and licorice, after a long wait, the wine is ready to communicate. Fruity, mineral and intensely saline, it is a wine of completeness and wealth of detail.
The name, ‘Plinius’, is a tribute to Pliny the Elder (23-79 AC) who referred to the wines of the area as too harsh for the soft palates of the Romans of that time. The ‘I’ hopefully refers to the first in a series of more of this wine to come, when the terroir of Boca decides to reveal yet another test of character.
Christoph summed up in three words the story of Plinius I: respect, project, patience.
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