The Hills are Alive: Marco Buratti’s Farnea

Another find from one of our trips to Italy earlier in the year, this time from a grower down the road from Damiano’s family home. We made a last minute, late afternoon appointment with Marco Buratti after three days of tasting at the VinItaly, VIVIT, Vini Veri and Villa Favorita fairs after a tip off from our good friend Giorgio de Maria. We’re glad we squeezed it in, because something special is happening in the hills of the Colli Euganei.

Marco has around a hectare and half of vines and three hectares of woodlands in a particularly lovely part of the Colli Euganei National Park. The land here has been planted with grapes since the eighteenth century, when the vignaioli of old were drawn to the area’s vibrant volcanic soils. Marco’s vines average 50 years of age and are worked by hand, without the use of chemicals, a way of working the land he had decided on before his first vintage in 2007.

The “cantina” consists of a small room at the edge of Marco’s house strewn with concrete and fibreglass vats, a few barrels and not a lot else. These tools, along with the grapes are all Marco uses to make what we consider to be perhaps the most drinkable wines we have found in Italy.

Marco makes very little wine and we didn’t get much of that. We have the following wines for now.

Farnea, Moscato Emma 2013
Emma is a blend of Moscato’s Rosa and Giallo that is wild fermented on skins in concrete vats for a week. Bottled unfiltered with zero additions it is perfumed and spiced. A wonderfully appetising wine.

Farnea, Bianco Birbo 2013
Marco’s Birbo (the “rascal”) is a blend of Manzoni Bianco, Moscato and Malvasia. Fermented and aged in concrete vats, a week on skins lends a little flesh and grip. Again with zero additions, this is pure juice!

Farnea, Mai Domi 2013
Mai Domi is the sort of typical red blend you’d find at trattorie in the area, consisting of Merlot, Cabernet and the (now) extremely rare Pataresca grape. Few are as subtle as Marco’s, aged in old barrels for eight months, this is inky and savoury, ever so easy to drink.

Farnea, L’Arietta 2013
L’Arietta (the breeze) is Marco’s pride and joy, named after the wind which cools the valley Marco calls home, this is a Merlot that puts to shame the connotations the grape brings to some. Rounded and aromatic, all red fruits and earth.