Maule, Pioneer of Natural Wines
Updated: Mar 22, 2019
Starting in the 80's, Angiolino Maule was a precursor in the natural wine's world. Now he's a symbol and an example to follow.
When, in the early 80’s, Angiolino Maule bought the first hectares of land in Gambellara (Vicenza), he didn’t think he would quickly and irretrievably fall in love with the winemaking job. Determined and ambitious, despite the lack of experience in the field, he took a radical approach to his new occupation, becoming a natural wine pioneer.
Choosing such a path at that time must not have been easy, and pretty much countercurrent. Initially ignored, the philosophy has not been taken seriously till the beginning of 2000’s, and only after 2010 started to be understood and appreciated.
As far as Maule, during these years of study and constant experimentations, he was more and more convinced of a few, simple concepts:
“Accept and protect what nature gives, without correcting, adding or subtracting elements in order to gain more. The land and the vine are some of the most important things. A great land and a great vine don’t need chemical interventions. Being able to produce natural wines makes you feel comfortable in front of the customers”.
Nature, according to Angiolino - can just be accompanied by the man who, behind the scenes, must learn to translate the signals sent by any growth cycles, including the vine’s. If the last aging stage is vinegar, human labour won’t do more than stopping it a little earlier.
The work of man in the vineyards doesn’t need to involve tractors or chemical interventions on the leaves, while in the cellar it is just a matter of oxygen, temperature and cleanliness.
Slim yet strong-limbed, almost resembling a grapevine trunk, Angiolino takes his energy directly from his family - the wife Rosamaria and his sons - who passionately (and successfully) aim to keep this a family business.
On another hand, Maule is the founder and president of VinNatur, an international association that gathers more than 170 natural wine producers from 9 different countries. For the first time in wine history, an association was able to create a research fund allowing science to work directly for the farmers. Many disciplines converge to define a natural winemaking process: agronomy, molecular biology, entomology (insects’ impact on the vineyard), botany (the importance of preserving indigenous plants), just to name a few…
According to VinNatur, about 5 million bottles are produced in Italy by natural winemakers, each of them cultivating on average only 10 hectares, while more and more high-end restaurants include them in the wine list. A dramatic change, compared to 10 years ago.
Among his artisanal wines, Maule likes to highlight the Sassaia: produced with the typical Garganega and Trebbiano grapes and absorbing minerals from the volcanic soil surrounding the winery. The spontaneous fermentation takes place in 30hl oak barrels, without temperature control. The wine is bottled in April or May of the following year, without clarification and filtration.
After years of practice and trials, Maule’s wine is considered as an emblematic example by the producers who approach the philosophy for the first time, as well as by the many who already achieved excellent results.
Have a Glass in Venice is happy and honoured to include the winery into its wine regions tours.
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Photo credits: Intravino, Winestories, Wine Dharma