Ranchelle Bianco ‘Millocchio'
Ranchelle is a small winery (4ha vineyards) located in the Maremma, an area in southern Tuscany, about halfway between Florence and Rome. The winery has been launched in 2014 with the aim to contribute to the conservation of the heritage of traditional Maremma grapes by producing wines with traditional grape varieties according to the philosophy of natural wine.
The concept of the winery was developed by Enrico Bachechi (today distributor of natural wines at Vienna), since 2016 the enological consultancy is done by Marco Giordano who runs the winery Podere Erica in the Chianti).
The Maremma region is dedicated to wine since the time of the Etruscans, favoured by the mild climate of the close Mediterranean sea and by the soil composition of the hilly terrains. Historically, the Maremma has a wide range of native grapes such as Ciliegiolo, Alicante and Ansonica which are still quite common, but other varieties like Procanico, Nocchianello, Riminese and Verdello have already almost completely disappeared. Unfortunately the indigenous grape varieties are dying out since most of the old vineyards have been uprooted and replaced with international varieties (such as Merlot, Cabernet, Chardonney, Syrah, Sauvignon and Viognier) or with rather common Italian grape varieties like Sangiovese and Vermentino.
In fact the grape varieties which until fifty years ago were the pearls of the Maremma viticulture are now considered only good memories, to be kept in the vineyards-museums. The wine establishment regards them as inferior to the famous international varieties which do not have any connection with the territory.
Ranchelle aims to contribute to the conservation of the traditional Maremma grapes and wants to express their full potential by following the method of natural wine making: In the vineyards no synthetic substances are used and anti parasite treatments are limited to small amounts of copper sulphate and sulfur (less than half of the amount permitted in organic agriculture), while in the cellar no additives are used. The wines are thus sincere and natural expressions of the territory.
In 2014 Ranchelle has taken over one of the few old vineyards left in Maremma, a vineyard with many varieties which once were widespread throughout the area. This 60 years old vineyard is situated in an area which in the past was famous for its many vineyards and was therefore named “Thousand Gems” (in Italian “Millocchio”).
In 2015 two hectares of new vineyards were planted with indigeneous varieties, half white, half red grapes. In 2016 another hectare has been planted, again half white, half red, all indigeneous Maremma varieties. All vineyards are located on an altitude of 350m with a southeastern exposure and a quite balanced soil composition (shale with silt and clay).
-From the producer