Conte della Vipera

Vintage

Classification

Umbria IGT

Blend

80%Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Sémillon

Climate

The climate of the growing season was quite abnormal, particularly in the concluding phases of the ripening of the grapes, starting with a July characterized by sunny days which were not particularly warm for the season and with nighttime temperatures on the whole below 64° Fahrenheit (18° centigrade). A phase which then led to an August which, from the very beginning, was marked by muggy days and by nights with minimal temperature swings compared to daytime temperatures. The result was to force an early harvest and picking began during the second week of August. During the middle of the month temperatures soared to levels between 98 to 105° Fahrenheit (37°-40° centigrade). This heat wave could have stressed the vines, particularly those of early-ripening varieties but, thanks to a well developed and well trained leaf canopy, which effectively covered the grape bunches, and to useful ground water reserves in the soil as well, grape burn and shriveling did not occur. This allowed the grapes to conserve typical and varietal aromas and flavors.

Vinification

The vineyards utilized for the production of Conte della Vipera are located at an altitude between 825 and 1150 feet (250-350 meters) above sea level and are planted on soils rich in marine fossils layered with clay which give a tasty, tonic mineral character to the wines. The decision to begin picking the Sauvignon Blanc was taken on the basis of the rapport and the balance between sugars and varietal aroma. The hand-picked grape bunches were taken to the cellars and cooled on a refrigerated conveyer belt, which lowered pre-pressing temperatures in order to maintain Sauvignon  varietal characteristics. A part of the crop went through a cold-maceration in temperature-controlled tanks for a period of several hours for a maximum extraction of aroma from the skins. After a soft pressing the must was held to a temperature of 50° Fahrenheit (10° centigrade) to favor a natural static settling of impurities. The must was then racked into temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, where it fermented at temperatures held to a maximum of 57° Fahrenheit (16° centigrade). After this phase the wine was maintained at temperatures of approximately 50° Fahrenheit (10° centigrade) in order to block the malolactic fermentation and to conserve varietal personality and typicality. The Sauvignon Blanc was then blended with the Sémillon to maximize the flavorful and supple character of the finished wine and to enhance the overall aromatic impact as well.

Historical data

The wine takes its name from the first proprietors of the Castello della Sala, and the label depicts the fifteenth century Chapel of Saint John the Evangelist located on the property. The first vintage of Conte della Vipera was the 1997.

Tasting notes

Straw yellow with greenish highlights in color, the wine shows characteristic and intense aromas of fine complexity, very mineral and elegant on the nose with notes of tropical fruit, peaches, and apricots. Well structured and balanced, it is characterized by much crispness and savor and much length and persistence on the finish and aftertaste.