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The irrational Bonsai

The irrational Bonsai, "therefore, be crazy my friend".


What is winemaking or more specifically wine itself? Is it a chemical process pure and simple, disciplined and catalogued by rules and formulas to be followed? Or is it art, a gift offered to us by nature that we must and can only accept, interpret and leave it to express its intrinsic essence and "divine" matrix?

Science or art? Rationality or madness? Order or chaos? Geometry or irregularity? Brain or heart? Sacred or profane?

The wine of Podere Le Ripi seems to make everyone happy, and certainly not because it lacks character. On the contrary it shows with its exuberant and well-defined personality that universal harmony is not an eternal dichotomy or an alternative, but rather a sum.

Even math, the most logical of sciences (at least on paper), acknowledges and stresses this apparent incongruity by certifying the existence of irrational numbers (how can a number be?) or of those infinite numbers to which we can only tend to but can never reach. Do we tend to perfection the same way?

The most famous of all is Fibonacci’s number 1,6180339887.....

And it is the most famous simply because it is the number on which the world is based, the number of the golden ratio, of the divine proportion, of the sacred geometry. From DNA to the universe.

In the plant kingdom, any leaf tries to occupy the best possible positions in order to have a greater exposure to water, air and sun. This succession of leaves and branches has a round component that, spiraling upwards, traces around the stem an imaginary helical shape. Starting from any leaf, after several turns around the spiral you will always find another leaf perfectly aligned with the first one and, depending on the species, it will be the second, third, fifth, eighth, etc... The same applies to the berries in a bunch of grapes.

The cellar of Podere Le Ripi has been built preserving this relationship to recreate the golden spiral at the base of universal harmony, using only bricks and lime to avoid magnetic interference and culminating in a circular room with the shape of a Pantheon, (the original itself was built by the Romans with the same divine concept) and with classical music playing in the background to harmonize even the acoustic vibrations.

This is how science and art merge together in the same identical and inseparable unity. This is how science and art are not just merely a sum but became a whole. This is how they give life to this diwine miracle that we then find in the chalice.

The suggestion of Podere Le Ripi, a true example of sacred architecture applied to a cellar, is also found in the vineyards in a truly unique way.

The "Bonsai" vineyard has the highest density of plants in the world with 62,500 plants per hectare when the average in Montalcino of 3,000/4,000. One heretical idea of the owner Mr. Francesco Illy (every truly revolutionary idea in its early stage is considered as such). Francesco had a confrontation with an old vigneron from Burgundy who confessed that to make excellent wine the vines must be at least 35 years old to have the time to develop sufficiently deep roots. He then thought that the only way to avoid waiting all those years was to plant them so close to one other so as to naturally force them to develop their root system in depth. And he happened to be right!

Mission accomplished.

The low production, only one/two bunches of grapes per plant, is compensated by the high quality and concentration of substances s in the grapes that are then found in the mouth as intensity and aromatic complexity. Floral notes, but above all small berries, wild strawberries and cherries in the background, clearly perceived separately but also blended into one harmonious and elegant bouquet. Balsamic nuances of Mediterranean herbs make every sip full and pleasant, supported by good freshness and flavor. The rustic tannin so typical of Sangiovese is definitely there, but it is softened ad well supported by the important structure of the wine.

Each vineyard here has a personal imprinting that is masterfully transferred and expresses into the chalice along the entire wine line that includes two Brunello, Cielo d'Ulisse and Lupi & Sirene that also have a Riserva, a Rosso di Montalcino Amore & magia and an igt made with Syrah Amore & follia.

Another great novelty to keep an eye on is the orange Canna Torta, trebbiano and malvasia, macerated in amphora and full of promises. May came out with some amazing surprises in the future. Very Intriguing. Definitely one to monitor.

"The bonsai is not the result: that will come later. The important thing is the pleasure of what you're doing right now."

(John Yoshio Naka).

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