The vines cultivated by the Castello di Cigognola company are from the Oltrepò Pavese D.O.C. (Certified Denomination of Origin): Barbera, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo and Chardonnay in Guyot cultivation with a single fruit bearing branch, short pruning and density ranging from 4,000 plants per hectare in the older vineyards, to 5,200 plants in the most recent plantings. The Company adheres to low environmental impact agricultural programmes: the vineyard is fully grassed over as early as the third year after planting, no work is performed to protect the slopes against erosion, no fertilises are used. During the vegetative cycle, the shoots are carefully selected, followed by severe thinning of the bunches with veraison almost completed and a second thinning out before the harvest, to eliminate the bunches scorched by the sun and those which have been damaged, to permit the best bunches to reach full maturity exploiting maximum nutrition from the plant.
The harvest period varies from year to year and the wine type: it may be delayed a little to give red wines greater structure, complexity and vocation for aging. The harvest is rigorously performed manually due both to the particular lie of the land and to enable careful selection of the grapes. Only the most mature, absolutely whole bunches are harvested and laid in crates for transfer to the winery where they are processed within two hours. Production ranges from 40 metric tons per hectare in the vineyards dedicated to the “La Maga” reserve, to 5 metric tons n the vineyards destined to vinification of the “dodicidodici” (twelve twelfths).
VINIFICATION AND REFINEMENT
The grapes are processed within two hours of harvest. To avoid over aggressive tannins, the grapes are gleaned from stalks, to subject them to more delicate pressing. The tumultuous (primary) fermentation in contact with the skins, at a controlled temperature, is effected in large fermentation tanks, avoiding continuous re-passing the must over the dregs: sugars, acids, polyphenols, odorous substances, vitamins and minerals begin their transformation. Maceration continues for from 12 to 20 days, depending on the year. Only the wines which trickles from the fermentation tanks is destined for the bottles. It is first transferred to French oak 620 litre barrels, typical of the Oltrepò Pavese, where the malolactic fermentation occurs. Refinement in the wood continues from six to eight months for the “dodicidodici”, and
from twelve to fifteen months for the “La Maga” reserve. Filtering is avoided at bottling to maintain the maximum integrity of the wine. The production process for “More” and “More Rosé” is different. After white wine vinification, and a short permanence of the skins for the Rosé, the classical method is then applied. The Rosé remains on yeast from fifteen to eighteen months.