Filodivino Wine Resort
Filodivino Wine Resort
Filodivino Wine Resort, situated in the languidly undulating hills of the Marche countryside, is an example of a relatively new concept and although there are a growing number in Italy this is the first that we have had the opportunity to visit. Think of it as a vineyard and winery integrated with a health resort and spa. It really is very luxurious, featuring an infinity pool with semi-submerged loungers, set amongst the vineyards. It also features a restaurant with local culinary delicacies prepared by a team of expert chefs.
In this small area of the Marche there is an unusual grape variety called Lacrima or tear. Apparently it was given this name because of the propensity of the berries to burst and thus appear to be shedding tears. Nearby is the small town of Morro d’Alba that has lent its name to a very local wine, Lacrima di Morro d’Alba which was awarded DOC status in 1985. Alberto Gandolfi founded Filodivino in 2014 with the express intention of showcasing Lacrima and the other local vine, Verdicchio, and from the outset the vines have been cultivated organically. The immaculately manicured vineyards now extend to over 19 hectares of which 7 are planted with Lacrima vines. In total, in the whole of Italy, there are only 200 hectares of grapes for this DOC. By any standards this is a niche wine.
Annual production of all wines at Filodivino is only around 19,500 bottles because the emphasis here is on quality. The land here consists of gently rolling hills at about 200 metres above sea level and is about 20 kilometres from Senigallia and the Adriatic Sea.
The underground winery, with the tasting room above, is a very beautiful piece of modern architecture which has been skilfully integrated into this landscape. Combining steel, wood, and glass, the building is a work of art in its own right; the gentle low arch of the roof emerging from the grass echoes the soft curves of the surrounding countryside whilst the tasting room nestles comfortably underneath, protected from the worst excesses of the summer sun. Inside is a veritable temple to the production of wine. I particularly liked the two backlit terracotta amphorae on the lower level serving as a reminder of the thousands of years of history of wine-making and, at the same time, drawing attention to the latest use of these as fermentation vessels.
Returning to the upper level via the impressive external steel spiral staircase it was time to taste some wine. The philosophy underlying Filodivino is to celebrate the uniqueness of this part of the Marche and to do that they concentrate on the two native grapes, Verdicchio which is white, and the red Lacrima. Of the two, Verdicchio is by far the more common and so it was the wines made from the Lacrima grape on which I focussed my attention.
One of the major sources for the tannins that add a degree of astringency to wine is the skin, so given that Lacrima is known for its thin skin, it will come as no surprise to learn that the resultant wines are not rich in tannins and generally considered best drunk young. Filodivino have called the first of their wines Diana and it is made from grapes harvested from twelve-year-old vines that are then fermented and matured in steel to emphasise the natural qualities that Lacrima has to offer. I sampled the 2020 that had the full ruby colour that the skins of this grape give generously to the wine, as well as a hint of purple, indicating its youth. Low in sugar for freshness, the bouquet is of plums and cloves and on the palate the tannins are present but soft with a pleasant salinity and a touch of pepper. Try pairing this wine with a rack of lamb.
The other traditional Lacrima is a DOC Superiore called Soara. This is made from grapes selected from vines which are 12 and 20 years old. After fermentation in steel, 15% of the wine is matured in Austrian oak, which gives a little more tannins to the final result all whilst the majority remains in steel. I tried the 2019 and the wood has added a touch of vanilla to a bouquet of cherries and pink pepper. In the mouth the tannins are slightly enhanced over the previous wine and it has the taste of bitter cherries. This is a wine to enjoy with roast duck.
Filodivino is no slave to tradition and has also produced a spumante made with Lacrima as well as a rosato made with 50% Lacrima and Shiraz. They also have a range of wines made with Verdicchio and so a visit will be very rewarding.