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Sunday, 11 September 2016 20:36

Winery update

We are finishing up the '16 growing season which has been really difficult for us with devastating damage from mildew from a very rainy and humid late Spring and early Summer.  The Merlot is wiped out, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Montepulciano will be about 1/3 of normal and the Bruni 54, which we have already harvested yielded only about 300 liters instead of the almost 2,000 of last year.  I learned some new things about controlling the Peronospora if another similar year arrives, but the school of hard knocks was brutal this year.

After the unusual humid period, we have been almost completely without rain and with moderate temperatures leading to what should be good ripeness for all that's left.  Quality should be above average to excellent as the vines had very few grapes using their photosynthetic energy.

The 2015's are all showing quite well in barrel tastings and as the year was so special, the wines will remain in barrel for 18-24 months instead of the usual 12 for our bordeaux varieties.  The Bruni from 2015 is bottled and ready for sale and is really interesting as it underwent a malolactic fermentation and spontaneous alcohol fermentation at the same time.  It is really something to try!  The other 2015's in bottle are the Thalia which won't be released until 2018 and the Aurai which we will hide until late this year or early next year.  Thank God for 2015, our best year ever and one to be thankful for!

For 2014, we have only released the Aurai which keeps getting better and is a very nice, typical Pecorino and the Bruni 54, which is sold out.  The Montepulciano and Syrah are still in barrel and our bordeaux varieties are bottled and will certainly appeal to those who like light bodied, fruit forward wines which is the main characteristic of the reds from this very cold, rainy growing season.

From 2013 we have the Thalia available, which is coming into its own.  Its predecessor reached its potential in January of this year and I expect this one to continue to improve for another year.  The small percentage of Petit Verdot in the blend sets it apart from our previous incarnations of Thalia, which is not barrel aged, has a great nose, medium body and moderate tannins which are softening.  The Syrah which I tasted from the barrel before bottling was truly a gem and may rival or surpass our '11 which was a gold medal winner at the Merano wine festival.  It was bottled just under 2 months ago and is now for sale.  Syrah from the Piceno will someday be famous, I predict, as 3 wineries in the area have recently planted it.  

2012's available now are the Petit Verdot which is drinking very nicely, as is the Cabernet Franc.  This was a very hot year which robbed the wines of some of their acidity, but has made them rounder, softer and more accessible early.  Soon to follow will be the Cabernet Sauvignon and later yet, the Baccofino and Confusion.  Thalia, Aurai and Syrah are sold out.

2011- We still have a few bottles left of Merlot and CS which are really showing well now.  Having been released later, the Confusion and Baccofino are still evolving and are fabulous.  The Baccofino has been our most awarded wine, garnering 94 points from Veronelli and 92 from Decanter magazine who thinks it will be best after 2018 (it is really great now).  The Confusion was one point behind and has evolved into a wonderfully balanced red with 40% CS, and 20% each of CF, M, and PV.  It's hard to say which I like better!   Thalia, Aurai, PV, CF and the Syrah are sold out.

2010's are all sold out and if you have any bottles, they are all ready to drink.  The Aurai and Thalia, being from 3 year old vines are fully mature, while the Baccofino and bordeaux varieties should continue to hold for a few more years.  

As always, everyone is welcome to come visit us, we just need a day's notice to set up a tasting and as those famous gentlemen said back in the last century "Thanks for your support"!

Published in Blog
Thursday, 02 May 2013 07:32

Newest releases: 2012 Aurai and Thalia

2 May, 2013

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Thalia 2012

Thalia, our Igt red is our international red blend.  It is named after the god of comedy as I think we all take wine just a bit too seriously and it should inspire laughter instead of wrinkles on our forehead from over thinking.  This year, as in 2011, it is made up of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah and 8% Merlot.  I know it sounds more challenging to make up a new blend each year, but I started out our tasting with the same percentages and it seemed just right, so why mess with success?  After reading about our Aurai from the same year, you have an idea about the difficulty of the growing season; now comes the rest of the story.  After the Pecorino and Merlot harvests in August with both of those wines well above 16% alcohol, we got some really nice rain which refilled the other varieties' tanks, so we were able to postpone the other harvests until the more traditional time in mid to late September.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were perfectly ripe and healthy with lower sugar levels so Thalia comes in at 14.5% alcohol.  That may still seem high to the world market, but with our vineyard's exposition, that is about normal for us and the wine is well balanced with typical notes of fully ripe Cabernet fruit, a bit of spice from the Syrah and a bit of rich softness from the Merlot.  This is a wine which will drink well now, but will age well for at least several years and should improve after a longer time in bottle.  Each wine was vinified separately  and stored in stainless steel for 8 months before blending and bottling.  A very light clarification with bentonite was done followed by sterile filtering at bottling.  It is a great wine for daily drinking, with pizza, antipasti, pasta, grilled vegetables and whatever else you like.  Price in the winery will be 10 euros and as always, our B&B guests and our fb friends are entitled to a discount.

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This is our Docg Pecorino wine named after the goddess of the cool wind which we are lucky enough to experience most days.  2012 was a wild and crazy year starting with an Easter freeze which wiped out about 40% of our Pecorino buds and followed with 8 "anticyclones" affecting our weather during the summer, arriving from Africa.  This meant a hot and dry summer with just 2 rains during the growing season, just enough to keep the vines alive, although in the heat we had, the vines shut down as a protection against water loss.  The Pecorino grapes were coming along fine, although as usual they were quite small, and the first few sugar analyses showed they were almost ready to pick around the 20th of August, but they didn't taste just right yet, so I waited.  4 days of 100 degree weather later, the sugar level had jumped 4 points and so there was no choice but to harvest on August 27, almost 3 weeks before the Pecorino harvest in 2010.  Those extra days gave the grapes more balanced flavor when we picked however.  Now what happens when you have high sugar in the grapes?  You either get a sweet wine if your yeast is unable to ferment the wine to dryness or you get a high alcohol wine, which was our case.  Luckily, the concentrated grapes with a high skin/juice ratio have made a very aromatic, racy wine with nice acidity which helps disguise the 16.5% alcohol content.  There are wonderful notes of tropical fruit and banana and it is not dissimilar to our 2011 Pecorino, so if you liked that wine, you should like our new model as well.  This wine has spent 8 months in stainless steel with a minimal fining with bentonite and sterile filtering during bottling.  Price is the same as 2011 at 10 euros a bottle with 3000 bottles available from a vineyard of 0.83 Hectares (very low yield due to the freeze damage).


A last note:  as I always have said, we make honest wines made from organically grown grapes, so while some may be distressed by the fact we fine and filter, I will say that both these wines were pretty stable before clarifying, so we used very little bentonite to stabilize the wine against certain precipitates. These wines don't have the time in oak as do our others and we want to make sure the wines you buy from us are free from defects.  That starts with careful work in the vineyard throughout the year to ensure only beautiful grapes arrive at the winery at harvest and continues through with our work in the winery such as racking and pumpovers to give us deeply colored wines which need very little manipulation other than small doses of sulfites to protect the wines for you, our consumers.  All our other wines have the advantage of oak aging which givies stability through oak exposure and more importantly time, so many of those are completely unfined and unfiltered and for those who like the term-natural.

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Paolini & Stanford Winery
Vinoffida srl Agricola

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