Owner & winemaker: Francesco Mariani
Vineyards: 12ha across six different parcels
Vineyard management: Certified biodynamic since 2012
Soils: Rich and fertile with clay and pebbles
Grapes grown: Grechetto, Trebbiano Spoletino, Trebbiano Toscano, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Syrah, Merlot, Sagrantino
Annual production: 100,000 bottles
- In addition to being a winemaker, Francesco Mariani is also a chef and a DJ–he sometimes puts both talents to use to entertain guests in the tasting room.
- In 2022, Francesco made the choice to leave the Montefalco DOC, so all of the wines are now intentionally labeled as IGT Umbria.
- The previous owner of the field where they planted their first Sagrantino vines was nicknamed “Raina”–Francesco chose this name for the winery in order to preserve a link between the land and its history.
In 2002, Francesco Mariani decided to leave the culinary profession to come home to the Montefalco region to farm the land of his forebears. He began by planting Sagrantino, and later expanded the estate to 10 hectares of mostly local varieties such as Trebbiano (Spoletino and Toscano), Grechetto, Montepulciano, and Sangiovese. In 2011, Francesco converted the estate to biodynamic viticulture, and pursued low-intervention winemaking techniques. “The first obligation of the winemaker, in our opinion, is to care for the land he manages,” Francesco asserts. “He should try to preserve the richness of the soil that produces the fruits of his labour, without passively exploiting it for purely economic reasons, or progressively impoverish it through the use of chemicals. With this in mind, we think biodynamics is the only way forward.”
With the warm climate and fertile soils, achieving ripeness is easy–the challenge is maintaining drinkability and freshness. To that end, Francesco carefully manages extraction in the reds, using shorter maceration times and big wooden tanks instead of small barrels. He macerates white grapes on their skins to extract a bit of tannin, which enhances the wine’s minerality and contributes to a balanced structure. Fermentation always occurs spontaneously without any additives. The winery is predominantly powered by solar energy; it also relies on water from its own well and a small lake known as the “pacino” or fishpond, a rarity in such an arid and hot region.