Davide Rosso’s biodynamic experiment


davide rosso smallDavide Rosso of Barolo producer Giovanni Rosso, Serralunga d’Alba, decided to test the power of biodynamics during a week-long experiment, here Wine Matters asks him all about it.

WM: What experience did you have of biodynamics and working with the moon prior to this experiment?

DR: I have not worked biodynamically before. For many years now I have not used herbicides or chemical products in the vine, nor used cultured yeasts or synthetic products in the winery. However we have always followed a traditional way of working with the moon, bottling with the waning moon; something that’s been passed down through the generations.

WM: What provoked this biodynamic experiment?

DR: During the last visit in Tuscany to Tenuta di Valgiano and San Giuseppe di Stella di Campalto I had the chance to learn about this profound (biodynamic) approach which maintains a great respect for nature, using techniques that are as sensitive as possible. Having been given a copy of Nicholas Joly’s book ‘Between the sky and the earth’ and one of Maria Thun’s Biodynamic calendars by David Berry Green, I decided to make a test: tasting the same wine at the same time for a week without looking at the biodynamic calendar until the test was completed.

Q: How was the test carried out?

DR: It was conducted in a serious and studied way without any outside influence.  The parameters were:

– The wine: Costa Bello Barolo 2006 from barrel No.29 (25hl)
– Duration: Seven days (1st – 8th July 2009)
– Time: Between 19:30 – 20:00hrs (the most tranquil hour)
– Length of tatsing: 15 minutes
– Glass: Riedel Bordeaux

WM: And what were the results?

DR: The test showed an almost perfect alignment with the biodynamic calendar: the wine’s expression changed according to the day – quite extraordinary – demonstrating that wine is alive and that our approach in both the vineyard and cantina is respectful of its environment. If not then surely the wine would have been exactly the same from one day to the next. Therefore it would be fair to say that each day is different.

WM: Given the conclusions, how might this change your way of working in the future?

DR: I am happy with the results for it shows that at least we are on the right track. As for the future I need to study and improve my understanding of biodynamics before applying it to the vineyards. I have the opportunity with a new three hectare vineyard, ‘Valle del  Mondo’ in Roddino which will be planted next spring. I would like to plant and conduct this single parcel according to biodynamic principles, because it’s sheltered by surrounding woods in a naturally beautifully location.