Filippi

Veneto, Italy

http://www.cantinafilippi.it

Filippi’s estate and vineyards are located in Castelcerino, in the highest part of the Soave DOC. The property was owned by a noble Tuscan family, the Conti Alberti, from the 1300’s to the beginning of the twentieth century. In the beginning of the 1900’s they sold the villa and cantina to the Visco family. Filippo Filippi, who runs the estate, represents the current generation of the family. His mother’s maiden name is Visco so Filippo is related to both families – the Visco and the Conti Alberti.

Filippi began bottling his own wine in 2003 but his family has been making wine since the Visco family bought the estate from the Alberti. He began farming organically and was certified organic in 2007.  Over the years, he's incorporated some of the principles of biodynamic farming as well.  The soil in the vineyards is mostly rocky, volcanic clay with parts that are rich in limestone (particularly the Vigne della Bra). The property and vineyards are unique in that there is a rich biodiversity including wooded areas surrounding the vineyards. This is a critical aspect to the estate’s practices, as it allows for the vineyards to exist in harmony with the surrounding nature.

This natural approach in the vineyards is carried forth in the cellar as well. The grapes are all hand-harvested and sorted. Fermentations occur with indigenous yeasts, in stainless steel tanks. The wines are held on their lees for an extended time, especially their top single vineyard wines. All of the Soaves are 100% Garganega, of course, even though the appellation allows up to 30% of other varietals such as Trebbiano in the blends. FIlippi in fact does have some Trebbiano planted as well, but he reserves it for special cuvee called Turbiana (think Pepe Trebbiano, with a touch more “tang” from an underlying minerality).

As for the Soaves, while most top examples are often rich and honeyed, Filippi’s wines are some of the most structured and mineral-driven. The high elevation and volcanic and limestone soils certainly come through in the brightness and focus of the wines. They often require time to open up, and can last for days with just a cork in the bottle. All of the wines certainly over-deliver for their price in terms of complexity and pedigree and all of them, the entry-level Castelcerino included, should improve with age (certainly 5-10 years).