We are long-standing fans of the Fidora family, which is steeped in the traditions of Italian winemaking, but is also a trailblazer.
Fidoras have owned Civranetta, the oldest organic estate in the Veneto region, for over a century. Civranetta sits on the ruins of Via Annia, a route that was used as a towpath for boats drawn by horses making their way to and from the Venetian lagoon. Civranetta was occupied in the 14th century by wine-making Benedictine monks. It is a property of 160 hectares consisting of 80 hectares of vineyards nestled among tree-lined banks, meadows, hedges, copses, and ponds, while protecting the local wildlife. The original layout remains in place today, with around one-third of the land unused in order to maintain the vineyard’s natural biodiversity.
With Guido Fidora at the helm, the farm converted to organic agriculture in 1974, shunning the use of chemicals and embracing biodiversity. Back then, some observers saw Guido’s decision as a backward step. By contrast, for him it was a big leap forward. He saw it as reversing the fashion of using chemicals and unnatural methods. Instead, he embraced quality, health, sustainability and, most importantly, environmental responsibility. These days, with Guido’s son Emilio (pictured) in charge, the estate’s focus remains firmly on biodiversity. The success of that is evident in the wildlife that populates the vineyard – hares, foxes, pheasants and countless species of birds see it as their home.
The family produces a top-notch non-vintage Prosecco whose fresh and fruity flavour is influenced by the vineyard’s proximity to the sea and its clay soil, and an oaked Pinot Grigio which benefits from the same growing conditions and minerality to produce a dry white with flavours of pear and apple.
We also love Fidora’s reds, particularly the Ripasso Valpolicella which is smooth with flavours of cherry and a hint of pepper that comes from the Corvina grape. A glass or two of this is perfect with pasta dishes and meats.
Less traditional, and evidence of Fidora’s willingness to defy traditional Italian styles, is the Amphora Pinot Grigio (skin-contact). After being hand-harvested, the grapes are fermented in terracotta amphorae – ancient jugs. Once the fermentation process is complete, the amphorae are sealed and the wine continues to mature on its skins for around four months. The wine is then bottled without any filtration or the use of fining agents, and no sulphites are added. That produces an orange wine that is fruity and medium bodied, and is an ideal partner for heavier seafood dishes or something a little more spicy.
While making such fine keeps Emilio is busy, he finds time to keep himself in shape. He follows a cross-fit programme that ensures he is one of the world’s fittest winemakers. Cross-fit athletes compare performances against each other. Emilio’s performances stack up well against those across the globe. That’s also true of his wine.