Le Chiusure winery is situated in San Felice del Benaco, on the hills of Valtènesi, a few hundred metres from Lake Garda. We grow four hectares of vines and two hectares of olive trees in the countryside of Portese, a small village overlooking the gulf of Salò. We have been producing wines and extra virgin olive oil with the greatest care and attention for over 30 years. As well as producing wine and olive oil, we also work on conservation, culture and identity.
A hundred years ago
the land of Portese was covered with vines
The wines of Valtènesi were then “highly sought-after in Brescia and out of the province” and they played a decisive role in the local economy.
The vines, together with the olive trees,
shaped the Garda landscape
Today it is no longer so. Agriculture – and in particular vine-growing – are marginal. The landowners around the biggest and most beautiful lake in Italy have another objective – land for building. Our work goes against this trend.
We want to see the vineyards
flourish in Valtènesi once more
Our objective is to continually improve the quality of our products, and the ensuing results. By improving the wine we give the vineyard a future as a way of using the landed property and, ultimately, protecting the environment and the landscape.
Born in Brescia, I graduated in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florence, but felt unhappy with theory and lectures that never took us out of the classroom and into the fields. I later found that working in the vineyard explained to me why I had thought of studying agriculture in the first place: working in the field was much more satisfying.
PAIRING FOOD AND WINE
In 1989, the year of our first harvest, I moved to Portese where my wife Paola reached me a year later. After some time, besides the wine and olive oil production we opened a small country restaurant and two comfortable farmhouse holidays apartments. For a few years Paola's simple but distinguished cuisine, carefully matched to our wines, proved an excellent marketing tool for our name. In 2001 we decided to transform the kitchen into a third apartment, thus ending an activity that was very satisfying but too labour-intensive to manage on our own as we had planned.
A FAMILY RUN BUSINESS
Today we have about four hectares of vineyards and two of olive groves, producing around 25,000 bottles of wine and 1,000 of extra-virgin olive oil each year. The small size of our farm and the high value of the land in our area mean we are always striving to improve our products, adding value to everyday work and personal satisfaction, which makes us appreciate what we do far more than profit alone.
There is constant debate over the meaning of this term between those who want to limit it to the interaction between the vine and the environmental factors (climate, soils) which characterize a determined territory, and, on the other hand, those who include human intervention as an expression of local traditions and cultures with their personal interpretative experience of the latter which are then transferred onto and influence the final result, that is the wine. In France, where this concept was formed, they lean towards this broader meaning which is also the one we prefer.
Wine itself does not exist in nature,
it is a product of human culture
CLASSIC AND TIMELESS
We aspire to make wines which have a clear personality and do not cater for the average customer's taste.
The small size of our business
allows us to be free from changing tastes,
which are often tied to passing trends
We think of the flavoursome wines that our land can produce, wines that are persistent and recognizable across vintages, wines that do not bend to fashion but want to become classics in their field.
While we recognise the quality of the product as the prime objective of our work, the responsibility we wish to assume in these years is to make our voice heard in defence of the landscape and of nature, not only for aesthetic and cultural reasons but as a vital necessity for us and our descendants.
Responsibility towards our area is part of a wider responsibility which we feel towards the planet in these years of global warming and environmental emergency
The ways of working which we adopt guarantee continuity over time to the productive process on our lands; keeping the earth fertile, search for minimal impact on the natural balance and respect for the surrounding environment are part of a sustainable approach to the practice of vine growing. An approach which is based on sound principles which can be scientifically demonstrated.
Once a wine was the result of chance. Good and bad harvests as God sent them to earth. Then along came industrial wine, the result of the standardisation of the process. Now it is time for a reasoned return to nature, but not by chance. There are today, and we are among them, numerous producers who work hard in their vineyards and cellars so that the result of their effort is adjusted as little as possible by chemicals or any “ingredient” which is not grapes.
There is no need for fertilisers, herbicides
and oenological supplements
to produce wines of exceptional quality
In the vineyard they respect life, the soil and the plants, looking for perfect ripening and healthy fruit. In the cellar they accompany the life of the wines with the objective of eliminating or reducing the use of substances extraneous to their natural composition. Their culture tends towards the respect of natural processes, interventions with minimum environmental impact, towards making the most of diversity.
The result of this way of thinking is natural wine
Since 2019, after three years of conversion,
our wines and our extra-virgin olive oil
are now certified organic
We are happy to announce this new development to all those who know and enjoy our products, but at the same time, we wish to reassure that
nothing has changed
in terms of our previous methods of production
As we have said for quite some time, we believe ourselves to be culturally organic. One of the main motivations behind not certifying our products from the onset is because in its early years the organic movement was pushed by a strong sense of idealism, but in many cases a lack of professional approach and which was detrimental to the quality of the product.
Now the standard of quality of organic wines has risen exponentially over the years and the risk of a low quality wine is now essentially non-existent. However, for many organic wine producers, entering the market is only a means to satisfy commercial objectives. This approach clearly lacks in ideals and ethics and is motivated by the desire of joining in a lucrative market.
How can we convey the complexity of our choice, between an idealism which considers quality to be an option, and an approach which is only cynical and greedy?
We wish to better tell you our reality
A reality based on idealism but which practices a professional approach. A reality that cultivates a niche market, where it is not the certification that generates confidence in the product, but the relationships of trust that have been built and solidified over time, and for which we are so grateful for. A reality that in a figurative sense adds hectares to the organic growing movement in Valtènesi. And that conclusively, has made visible, with the small European green leaf, something we always did from the start.
BON LIEU A VIGNES
We are keen to emphasize the ties between product and place. What the French call bon lieu à vignes - the proper place for a vineyard - must reflect on the product all its character.
The concept of ‘good place’, normally refers to a single vineyard, but can be extended to a specific area particularly suitable for vine growing. The right amount of fertility of the morenic hills and their glacial origin, their exposure from the early morning and the constant breeze from the lake, provide for optimal conditions for vine growing in Valtènesi in terms of health and ripeness.
Valtènesi is the historic name of the hilly territory west of Lake Garda and, since 2011, it has also become the name of the denomination of controlled origin (doc) of the wines of the area.
The area of production comprises the territory of the villages of the historic Valtènesi (San Felice, Puegnago, Manerba, Polpenazze, Moniga, Soiano, Padenghe) extended to the circle of morenic hills behind with terrains with similar soil conditions. To sum up: the hills between Salò and Desenzano.
THE PERFECT GRAPE
Every year, our objective is to harvest and thus introduce into our cellars perfect, healthy and ripe grapes. Overseeing the growth and ripening of these grapes to ensure a good vintage, as well as minimizing the effects of a difficult season, is a matter of detail. Throughout the years we have devoted great care and attention to refining and perfecting our methods. For those who are interested in our approach, we list them in greater detail below.
BLANC DE NOIR
Genuine, consistent, full of flavour,
with the scent of the hills of the Valtènesi,
and the light of Lake Garda.
Our wines are all the product of a different combination of the grapes we grow.
Four of them – two rosé and two reds – carry the name of the denomination of controlled origin Valtènesi, and are therefore territorial wines in which the native Groppello grape is prevalent. The Groppello grape makes up 50% of Valtènesi rosé, a pale pink, elegant and delicate wine. Roseti, produced only on select years, derives from the oldest of our vineyards at Le Chiusure and gives a nod to the longevity of a rosé wine.
Valtènesi and Campei are two diverse interpretations of the red wine of the territory: the former (70% Groppello) is fresh and fruity and it is bottled one year after harvesting;
the latter (50% Groppello) is more concentrated and complex; it matures in wooden barrels and is generally ready a year later, with a good potential for ageing.
Both wines also contain Barbera and Sangiovese grapes; Campei also contains a modest percentage of Rebo grapes.
The fifth wine – Malborghetto – on the other hand is a blend of Rebo and Merlot which deservedly follows in the wake of great Italian wines which can be aged.
Since the harvest of 2019, two new labels: Blanc de noir and Rosé. Groppello, the native grape, vinified in white for two méthode champenoise which we believe will add to the expressiveness of the territory.
a fragrant flowery bouquet
for a modern, elegant, delicate rosé
Valtènesi rosé comes from more than a century of tradition. At the same time, it is the wine which bring us in a European flavour search, in the world of the pale rosé of the South of France and, hopefully people will soon say, of Lake Garda: rosé wines which get pinker and paler, with a fragrance of flowers and fruit, elegant and delicate to the taste and finally capable of acquiring their own space among the images of those who love wine.
Full of flavour, fresh and fruity,
dominated by the character of Groppello,
the original local grape
Groppello, dominant in Valtènesi, is our root in the past, our link with these hills which overlook the lake from the west: the proof that we belong to the place, the starting point for everything we can say about the wine. If Valtènesi is authentic, from its colour, a red “that you can see through”, to the immediacy of its direct flavour, all our work has been worthwhile.
Flavoursome and lively
and at the same time
concentrated and complex,
a Valtènesi wine that improves with age
To understand Campei look at the label with its graphic design which is an enlargement of the stones of the wall surrounding our vineyard. The stones are the nobility of the vineyards, the mineral origin from which the land derives and therefore the character of the wines which come from it. In our imagination Campei has its roots among the stones of the earth of our hills and draws its fragrant taste and a robust body which is capable of ageing but remains gentle at the same time.
At the root of Roseti
body, essence and longevity,
find unexpected depth in a rosé
Since a few years ago, we have a new objective in Valtènesi: we want to become (and to a certain extent we already are) the territory of reference for quality and projectualisation for rosé wines in Italy. Roseti is born as a result of the research undertaken so far: a rosé wine suitable and versatile for a variety of food pairings, coming from the oldest vineyards of the estate, with a unique varietal balance and cellar work designed to give it structure and longevity.
Intense and deep in colour and flavour,
Malborghetto is finding its way
in the tradition of great Italian red wines
Malborghetto, a wine intended to last and improve in the years, the high alcohol level and the concentration of the juice have already enabled us to taste ten different vintages together. The presence of grapes like Rebo and Merlot give this wine its own character and the mark of the terroir lies just behind the strong presence of the vines. This is the least typical of our wines, it is our interpretation as lovers of classic great red wines.
BLANC DE NOIR and ROSÉ
A territorial méthode champenoise
24 months on lees, pas dosé:
a new expression of the Groppello grape
To produce two new wines according to the méthode champenoise, characterized by a refermentation in the bottle, we seeked expert counsel, well aware that to avoid any misstep we would require knowledge and authority in the field of sparkling wines as well as extreme competence. The exact moment for harvesting, the managing of the second fermentation and stay on the lees at the correct temperatures, choosing a liqueur and the degorgement: all the most delicate steps in the control and the gratification of a result of which we are very proud of.
EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Finally at Le Chiusure we tend about 320 olive trees of the varieties Casaliva, Leccino and Pendolino, from which we obtain extra-virgin olive oil, the pure essence of the tree which is the symbol of the Garda landscape. The olives are picked early and milled in our presence at the cooperative oil mill of which we are members. The oil made from our olives is filtered before returning to our farm where it is bottled.
Walk in the vineyard,
visit the wine cellar,
talk to the winemaker
For some years Le Chiusure has organized visits and wine tastings at the farm, the purpose of which is to talk about work in the vineyard and in the cellar, to promote knowledge of the wine of the territory and to offer a service to tourism on Lake Garda.
From April to September, every Tuesday at 6 pm, visitors can spend an hour in the winery taking a walk through the vineyard, visiting the wine cellar and tasting the wine and olive oil in the garden with a small buffet.
On request, groups can book blind tastings, vertical tastings of various vintages of red wines for ageing, wine tastings with particular attention to food/wine combinations.