In short: 9 hectare naturalista from Umbria in central Italy; practicing organic; no SO2 / sulphur added; old vines (40-50 yr. old); spontaneous native yeasts, partial whole-cluster fermentations, macerato / orange, dry farming, native varieties, unfined and unfiltered. Clay and limestone soils. Mostly vegetal and mineral wines, with some glou-glou fruit dalliances. A rigorous selvatica esthetic.
Over ten years ago, Marco Merli left a career as a clothing designer to find his true calling as naturalista farmer on 7 hectares of vineyards in Umbria that his father Enzo had as a retirement project. In the past few years, he’s searched for local abandoned old vine vineyards. Marco brought right away a rigorous yet selvatica esthetic to the wines, each a slice, or layering of slices, of the wildness of Altotiberini hills. He works with traditional grape varieties, often planted together in field blends he parses out in the cellar. Fermentation takes place parcel by parcel, variety by variety, before eventual final blending, in dozens of re-conditioned small cement or fiberglass tanks. Sangiovese, Cigliegiolo, old vine (40-50 years) Trebbiano Toscano, and Verdicchio are varieties you’ll recognize from central Italy.
His use of Grechetto di Orvieto (not Grechetto di Todi) in his blends and the single bottling of Venco underpins the selvativa esthetic Marco strives for. The variety’s wild acidity and bitterness is cut with techniques, such as partial whole-grape fermentation, and various blending of the different soil parcels in a way that the wild selvatica part remains intact.