MANI DI LUNA
It’s all in the name at Mani di Luna, where anything that goes on under this particular patch of remote Umbrian sky adheres strictly to the lunar cycle. Here, at the confluence of the Tiber and Chiascio rivers, it has been biodynamic since 2009 – when the land was leased to agronomist friends Rosso, Simone and Alessandro. Mindful that the property was once cultivated by Etruscans, their stewardship is about returning it to its natural tradition.
As such – polycultural and minimum interventionist – it’s a project rarity in a largely conventionalist winemaking region where monoculture and intervention hold sway.
Of the 32 hectares of farmland – olives, cherries and vegetables – vines take up just a bare 7 hectares. It’s a small surface area, but spanning a diverse terroir over altitudes that range from 600m down to 200m, where the vineyards give out among old oak and cherry woods on the edge of the Tiberium lake. Here, ancient lake and river deposits shape the lower-level alluvial and sandstone soil, while higher sites are largely limestone and marl.
Production at Mani di Luna is thus necessarily micro, and sometimes even more so: each fall, with the surety of nature’s cycle, the wild boar descend from the forests and rampage through Simone’s pristine vines. Sometimes, hand-harvesting can, quite literally, mean just handfuls.
Harvesting takes place in two tranches: in September and October. Most September grapes are fermented whole cluster; October grapes are de-stemmed by hand then foot pressed – in biodymamic tradition, it’s female feet – the method the brothers have found best preserves the character of their grapes. Ambient yeast fermentation in concrete, no fining nor filtration, fractional sulphites only and bottling according to the phases of the moon.