Hush. On the threshold 
of the forest I do not hear 
words you call 
human, but I hear 
newer words 
spoken by droplets and leaves 
far away.
Listen. It rains 
from the scattered clouds. 
rains on the tamarisks 
brackish and burned, 
rains on the pines 
scaly and spiky,
Rains on the myrtles 
on the shining brooms 
of clustered flowers, 
on the junipers thick 
with fragrant berries,
rains on our faces 
rains on our hands 
on our robes 
on the fresh thoughts 
that the soul unfolds 
on the beautiful fable 
that yesterday 
deceived you, that today deceives me, 
O Hermione.

You may recognise the first lines of Gabriele d’Annunzio’s  La pioggia nel pineto (Rain in the Pine Grove) and you may ask yourself what they have to do with Studio di Bianco. Great poetry can evoke sensations, sounds and fragrances. These lines evoke in me the typically heady and penetrating fragrances of the Mediterranean. The tiny droplets of rain softly falling on greenery already blasted by the sun magically bring out richly aromatic vapours from pines and myrtle bushes. When I open the book at that page on a cold winter’s evening, those lines can transport me to the sea, to lakes, to a grove of pines which border a sundrenched coast. 

And so, that which the poet makes us feel when he makes reference to that odd woman’s name with the “o”, as round as the midday sun,  placed right in the middle, is what I would like to convey to whoever should make their acquaintance with this wine. And by sending my bottles out to the wider world, to bring out the fragrances and flavours of “our” Mediterranean, to have the great pleasure to be able to give the joy of evoking this unique environment, its waters and its coasts. 

This a tough call, seeing as we don’t have the magical gifts of the poets. It must be said, however, in our favour, that if words are simply meaningless scribbles to those who cannot understand them, the language of fragrances and flavours, just as with sounds and colours, is universal. 

On Easter Monday 1989, when I completed the purchase transaction for five hectares of land on the south-east slopes of the Ruttars hill, I had a powerful sensation that something good was going to happen here. Giorgio, the grower who owned the land before me, hacked down the woods in order to till the land (and who tells of how he had to go the bank for a loan to buy his first spade) and planted it out with various kinds of white grape varieties. I decided not to waste the secrets lying hidden in the vineyard and made the wines in separate batches. The following year I wanted to find out how mixing these together would result. I got ready to make a whole range of blended wines, mixing several varieties in ratios of 50% where possible. I did the same thing the following year, and noticed how the best wines seemed to come from blends containing Tocai, Sauvignon and  Riesling Renano. And there I found what I had been looking for for so many years; a white wine which was capableof evoking something special from these lands south of the Alps.

Sauvignon and Riesling are varieties which produce highly aromatic grapes, yet whose aromas belong to different chemical families, and many people consider them to be mutually incompatible. The presence of the Tocai is undoubtedly key here; we make a Sauvignon harvested ripe in order to be processed alongside the other late varieties (in a vineyard which allows this), and for some unknown reason,  the characteristics of the three varieties meld into a new personality which differs from that of the individual types, but which is distinctive and unwavering over time.

And here’s the miraculous thing: leaving aside the individual qualities of the grape varieties, in this wine, the aromas and flavours come through like the harmonies of a choir, bringing out instead the character of the vineyard; spices, juniper and resins emerge along with memories of peach trees full of ripe fruit whose fragrance married with the sharper tang of the fruit of the almond trees under which I played when I was a child in the summer. I decided to continue to perfect the necessary skills; understanding the ratios of the various varieties to be used, harvesting times, cellar techniques and the choice of woods for the barrels. I also wanted to look into the genetic composition of the new vineyards I had planned. We are continuing to plant, and we are doing something unusual; the great “cru”s were chosen as being among some of the best around. We are inventing our own.

In order to achieve this, we considered it necessary to immediately put our perceptions to the test with a curious and astute public. We wished to see how our most noteworthy discoveries, with all their distinctive characteristics, stood up to tastings and how good they were to drink. From this came the necessity to present a wine as work-in-progress, with a name that isn’t a “name”. And that is how Studio di Bianco came into being. However, since the 1996 harvest, the combination of varieties, just like our cellar methods, have crystallized giving us wines of quite consistent character. Any organoleptic variations are due to both differences in time where the wine is refined in the bottles, which brings out strongly mineral note, and to the year. The wine is produced only in good years, never in poor ones.

The distinctly aromatic character of this wine lends it particularly well to rich dishes such as those prepared with truffles or ginger. The portion of the grapes and the wine which originate from the Ruttars vineyard which are left over after selection of the Studio di Bianco, is added to batches of Tocai, Sauvignon and Riesling from other locations and is made into Collio Bianco, whose label bears only the single word, Collio.

Nicola Manferrari