In Riparbella, Tuscan Maremma, Caiarossa has combined the principles of geodynamics and feng shui (in the cellar) with those of biodynamic agriculture for the cultivation of their vineyards since 1998.
Feng shui literally means “wind and water”. This is an ancient Chinese art that studies how the vital energy of the sky and earth (Chi or Oi) influences and interacts with human beings to create environments based on wellbeing, balance and harmony. It therefore does not address an architectural style, but rather a lifestyle, as a set of practices and interpretations of the landscape, materials, colors, shapes, constructions and spaces. The goal is to improve the energies of a place through the pursuit of balance, thus building a healthy and serene environment. There is no scientific evidence on the effectiveness of feng shui. It is a rather widespread practice in Chine, while it is not in Italy, but those who follow those principles assure that they could no longer do without it.
Caiarossa, located near the sea in the area of Pisa, covers 110 hectares, of which about 38 consist of a mosaic of vineyards with ten different varieties, selected to best interpret the heterogeneity of the soils. The rest is used for olive groves and woodland. This name was coined to honor the soil, which is characterized by jasper, a combination of rocks and gravel with a deep red color.
While biodynamics reigns among rows of vines, the winery inspiration comes from geo-biological architecture and the discipline of feng shui, which define shapes, colors, lights, materials and even orientation. Created in 2001 by Isabella Monteforte with Michaël Bolle, expert in geo-dynamics and feng shui, the spatial composition was carried out in accordance with the architectural principles of Tuscan style, whose essential lines recall the simplicity and austerity that well represent the rural buildings of the place.
“Wine is a living matter, benefiting from the energies of those who handle it”
“The decision to adhere to feng shui principles was taken to create a healthy and positive environment for those who work here. We are confident that this is also conveyed through the final product. Wine is a living matter, benefiting from the energies of those who handle it, from the winemaker to the cellarman to all the workers, from the vineyard to the barrel room”, says Alexander van Beek, general manager of Caiarossa.
The building is oriented from northeast to southwest, has a rectangular shape and is spread over four levels, with a total area of about 2,500 square meters. It was designed by taking advantage of the natural slope of the hillside and in accordance with the gravity-based production cycle, which involves the positioning of the various stages of winemaking on four floors and at different heights; in this way, the grapes enter the cellar on the upper floor where, after careful selection, they fill the concrete and wooden tanks by gravity, through the mouths located on the balcony. At the end of alcoholic fermentation, the wines, again by gravity, are moved to the basement level, where the barrique cellar is located.
The materials used for the construction are mainly wood, in the structure of the gabled roof, and concrete, in the tanks in the winemaking area, where light enters naturally through great windows to the north and south.
Caiarossa, “the winery of colors”
The colors play a key role in the aesthetics of the winery. Yellow enhances the brightness of the interior spaces while the red of the exterior, recalling the typical shade of the cellar houses and the hue of the land, balances its complementary, with the green of the vineyards and the forest all around.
Calling Caiarossa “the winery of colors” is no exaggeration, between the blue of the nearby sea, the red of the winery outside, the green of the surrounding vineyards and the surprise of the yellow inside, a dense colour that, in the winemaking area, runs over all the surfaces of the concrete tanks and conveys a sense of vital energy.
How the vineyard works
The cellar is built precisely according to the harvest process. It is a double volume that works as a room for the arrival of the grapes on the upper level (as a large gallery), sorting and destemming of the berries, which are then transferred to the lower level, where the vinification begins in tanks of various sizes, separated by grape variety and parcel. The first thing is to make the grapes reach perfect ripeness, which is why the harvest is organized vineyard by vineyard, variety by variety. Each grape is vinified separately, so they require a large number of jars, even small ones.
In winemaking, natural light is provided throughout the day by great windows on the north and south sides of the structure. This is not just a common sense choice, but it combines with the criteria of feng shui and geobiological architecture, that can generate positive energies. It is about natural light, shapes, colors, materials.
“Caiarossa’s labels are not just for wine lovers, but for all those who seek beauty in life”
In the maturation cellar, on the lower floor, this philosophy finds new implications: in order not to waste the energy of the subsoil, a copper probe, a tip of which is visible in the room, is driven into the ground for meters, in search of the life force of the earth. On the oenological side, controlled temperature and constantly monitored humidity levels accompany the long maturation of the wines in wood, tonneaux (500-liter), barriques (225-liter) and even smaller barrels.
The Tuscan winery looks differently at the world of wine, and not only that. “Caiarossa’s labels”, says van Beek, “are not just for wine lovers, but for all those who seek beauty in life. To women and men fascinated by what is unique, be it a glass of wine, an object of art or the peak of a mountain. What the Albada Jelgersma family wants is to offer the pure energy of nature in a glass, with the help of human beings”.
Caiarossa’s wines embrace a range of labels that faithfully reflect the landscape.
Caiarossa Bianco is an elegant and balanced wine, with the breath of the sea looking over the vines. It interprets the Viognier and Chardonnay varieties, grown on the most calcareous areas of the estate.
Pergolaia is a modern interpretation of a Tuscan tradition through its main grape variety: Sangiovese.
Aria di Caiarossa is the best expression of the estate’s young vineyards, located in the Nocolino vineyard. The name draws inspiration from the opera, a prelude to the Opera Maestra Caiarossa.
Caiarossa is the perfect expression of the complexity of this fascinating area. An original blend, with a selection of the seven varieties originally grown.
Opening image: interior of the cellar and barrique cellar at Caiarossa
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