For Cipriano Barsanti winemaking is about interpreting a place. And each place is different.


Photograph by Benjamin McMahon

Cipriano Barsanti stands in his vineyard, Macea, in the shadow of the Apuan Alps, holding a wild carrot. Not a vegetable but a herb, the wild carrot, pungent and aromatic. Look, says Cipriano, feel how damp its roots are – this is working for us. He gestures at the mass of wild herbs and grasses growing among the vines around him, their roots acting to lock moisture into the fast-draining schistous soil. They are crucial to the wine that ends up in the bottle, nourishing the vines and managing stress levels so that roots don’t grow too deep, staying instead in the middle ground. The middle soil, says Antonio, Cipriano’s brother, is where the flavour is and from where the character of their wine derives its sense of place.

But ‘Cipo’ (to his friends) is not only talking about wild carrots. He’s using them as an example of what he believes winemaking is about, at its heart – interpretation. Seeding wild carrot in his vineyard was just one of many possible routes into a place, and towards the identity of a wine. Here, at Macea, where he and his brother Antonio were born, and where they have been making what we believe is indisputably world-class wines for 20 years, Cipo’s form of interpretation is well-established. He knows the place like he knows himself, and he knows, just as easily as he can look at a blue sky and predict rain in the afternoon – what his wines should look like. But it is not always so easy.



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