This portion of our website has been thought for those ones who might be unfamiliar to certain wine-words. A brief explanation of each one is given here in alphabetical order.
The Bora is a wind from the north/north east that gusts with particular intensity, especially in the direction of the Upper Adriatic Sea. The best-known Bora blows in Trieste and its distinguishing feature is its discontinuous nature, in other words it blows in strong gusts interspersed by periods of apparent calm. The Bora influences the weather in much of Friuli, including Savorgnano del Torre. During the six winter months, the Bora can reach and exceed speeds of 35-40 metres per second and may last for several days. Because of the frequency of the Bora, which blows on an average of about one day in four in the winter months, local weather can change suddenly. This seriously affects vineyard management operations in the winter.
Buds are mixed in the vine. There is no clear distinction between renewal buds and fruit buds. The number of buds per vine, defined as the number of potentially fruitful buds left after pruning, is one of the key quality factors in the vineyard. The number of buds per hectare is correlated to the planting density; an increase in density reduces the number of buds per vine and vice versa. An incorrect bud load will induce imbalances in the vine’s behaviour that impact heavily on the quality of the yield.
Soil drainage is the set of procedures that permit the collection of rainfall and underground water that has to be drained downhill. An excess of water in the soil can cause landslips or subsidence. Vineyards growing on hillsides are particularly at risk. Soil drainage enables excess water to be discharged along the spillways and layers of geotextiles that facilitate its removal. Friuli’s specific climatic conditions means that setting up vineyard drainage systems is essential. At certain times of year, the rain can be very violent and the spillways are transformed into torrential streams as the water cuts deeply into the hillsides.
Flyshes (or flysches) are the classic mixed sediments typically comprising cyclical alternating layers of sandstone, limestone and clay or marl. In geological literature, these sediments are more commonly referred to as sandstones, usually poorly cemented and therefore very friable, that accumulate on the edges of mountain chains. Our vineyards grow mainly on this type of soil.
Guyot is the principal vine training system adopted in our white grape vineyards. In its classic form, Guyot is a reduced canopy expansion system suitable for low-fertility, hillside terrains. Normally, the vine has a 70-80 centimetre long trunk onto which is grafted a six-bud cane, which is bent and tied horizontally to a wire along the row, and a spur with one or two buds that will provide the replacement shoots the following year.
- Integrated agriculture
Integrated agriculture is a method for obtaining farm products, such as wine grapes, with environmental conservation and food safety-compatible techniques that minimise the use of synthetic agricultural chemicals and monitor the entire production process. Our commitment is to evaluate each year appropriate agronomic strategies for vine defence that entail the least possible impact on the environment of the estate where we live and work.
- Malolactic bacteria
Malolactic bacteria are responsible for malolactic fermentation. The strains of bacteria that metabolise malic acid and transform it into lactic acid lend the wine a characteristic softness since the sensation of acidity is tempered. The spontaneous development of malolactic bacteria is encouraged by high pH values, the reduced presence of carbon dioxide and a temperature of about 18 °C. We prefer to block malolactic fermentation (MLF) in our white wines to conserve their freshness whereas for red wines, we encourage spontaneous MLF after skin contact.
- Manual fertilisers
Farmers have fertilised their fields since time immemorial. Although the practice was probably discovered by accident, its scientific basis is well documented. As an ecological issue, but also for purely practical reasons, but also for purely practical purposes, we have opted to use fertilisers of natural origin for our vineyards. Natural fertilisers, of which animal manure is the best known, can modify the structure of the cultivable soil, enriching it with micro-organisms that encourage vine growth. Manure comprises animal excrement mixed with straw or other litter materials. Before it can be used as manure, animal excrement has to mature in the dung heap for a period of at least six months. The maturing process is carried out by enzymes and many different groups of micro-organisms.
- Manual picking
All the grapes produced by our vineyards are harvested and selected by hand. The berries are picked in small cases. They are not subjected to pressure in the field to avoid inducing fermentation before they arrive at the cellar, where they are vinified as soon as possible after picking. Grapes that will go into sweet wines, such as picolit, are picked in low-sided cases and undergo a period of drying in a special area of the cellar.
- Parcel (italian 'Parcella')
A parcel is a vineyard with a specific soil type, site climate and one or more varieties of grape. Each parcel’s profile derives mainly from natural and environmental factors as well as the grower’s agronomic techniques and vineyard management policy. Our approach strives to highlight the differences in the various vineyard parcels planted to the same variety.
Pump-over is a cellar procedure typical of skin contact in red wines. The red colour, tannins and aromas are extracted from the grape skins, the part of the berry in which they are mainly concentrated. During pump-over, a proportion of the must-wine is periodically racked off from the base and pumped up to the top of the tank so that the cap, in other words the fruit waste that has risen to the top as carbon dioxide is generated during alcoholic fermentation, is moistened by more liquid and the extract is leached out. The period of skin contact for our merlot and refosco del peduncolo rosso grapes varies from 15 to a maximum of 20 days.
- Rooted cutting
The Italian term “barbatella” refers to a vine cutting that is planted and then transplanted when it has sprouted a “beard” (barba) of roots. The rooted cuttings planted in our vineyards are wild rootlings of certified American vines onto which wine grape varieties have been grafted. The varieties we have chosen come either from selection by the nurseryman or mass selection of old vines grown in our vineyards, for example picolit. When a new planting is made, the choice of rootstock, in other words the American vines, is crucial for the grower. We should never forget the rootstock’s influence on the quality and quantity of the vine’s yield. Rootstock choice inevitably takes into account the chemical and physical profile of the soil, the availability of water and the production strategies the winery has adopted.
- Small oak barrels
Small oak barrels (“carati” in Italian; “barriques” in French) usually have a capacity of between 225 and 228 litres. They are used for fermenting or maturing both white and red wines. Originally, a “barrique” was a French unit of volume corresponding to about 225 litres. The fermentation and maturation of wine in such small-capacity barrels allows greater oxygenation of the contents with respect to larger barrels by virtue of the ratio of volume to contact surface. In most cases, barriques are constructed with Quercus petraea (oak) woods of different seasonings and toasts, from selected forests in France. Normally, woods from the upper parts of the forests are considered more valuable since these trees grow more slowly, acquiring a very compact grain and very fine porosity. Our policy is to renew part of our barrel stock every year with mid- to low-toast barriques from the forests of Allier.
- Spontaneous flora
The herbaceous flora of hillside vineyards is extremely important since it prevents soil erosion and the consequent landslip events. We are committed to intervening in vineyards to encourage the development of spontaneous flora by mowing steps and slopes with special tools, and to manage growth of under-the-row cover crops by mechanical means. To achieve this, we conducted an in-depth study with the Department of Applied Biology for Plant Defence of the University of Udine, which led in October 1987 to the publication of “Flora dei Vigneti” [Vineyard Flora]. The study shows that during the course of the year, more than 200 species of spontaneous herbs appear in our vineyards.
The starter, or leaven, is the inoculation culture we use to start alcoholic fermentation in white musts. We prepare a mass of must fermenting in optimal conditions of sugar concentration and temperature equal to about five to ten per cent of the total mass for fermentation. The yeast population in the starter is reinforced by careful rehydration and with precise temperature changes. When the metabolism of transforming the sugar into alcohol has reached equilibrium, the starter is added to increasingly larger masses until the entire mass has been completely inoculated.
- Sulphur dioxide
Sulphur dioxide is an antioxidant and antiseptic that can restrict the development of bacteria that are harmful to the wine’s qualities, and can prevent oxidation or deterioration. It should be used with extreme caution and care should be taken to avoid excessive deposits of bound sulphur dioxide. Sulphur dioxide is the only chemical compound declared on the labels of Aquila del Torre bottles: “Contains sulphites”. By the very careful use of sulphur dioxide during fermentation, and its limited subsequent application in combination with inert gases such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen, we strive to keep the total level of sulphur dioxide low, and strive to keep the level of free sulphur dioxide high by using appropriate winemaking practices.
Terraces, or terrace planting, also known in Friuli as “ronchi”, are a technique used in farming to make particularly steep slopes cultivable. Terraces are created by levelling off part of the hillside and reforming the terrain into steps supported by dry stone walls or grassed-over slopes. In this way, even the steepest hillsides can be used for farming and for viticulture in particular. Our natural double amphitheatre, visible from the flatlands looking north, is a fine example.
- Vocation of the territory
The traditional planting practices that until about a century ago defined territory use are precisely the criteria that we have recovered to define the planting patterns of our own vineyards. The key issue is to plant vines in suitable terrain, the sites that have been identified by the experience and history of Friulian viticulture. The soil types on our estate are good. Weather and site climates are favourable. Territory “vocation” is the concept that underpins our decision to focus on the differences of the various parcels planted to vine.