Where to begin. He is a legend of some sort, won’t do interviews and is hardly seen at wine events. However, when one has the chance to speak with him, his voice is endless. Full of thoughts and reasons behind the way wine should be and angered by those who try to keep the full truths from coming out. He is a man who has created a new road for the process of wine making. A green road to a healthier vine and therefore healthier wine. He is stubborn in his way and drives ahead, with a cult of people who follow. This, is Giampiero Bea of Paolo Bea.
‘Do you know we can’t write the grape variety on the bottle of a Umbria Rosso?’ Strange, I had to agree. We were sitting in the tasting room, in front of big, old wood casks, discussing the importance of having all information about wines written on the bottles in which they are placed. ‘Sulfites, I agree that we should write on the bottle if they are there or not, but isn’t it just as important to know how much sulfites are in the wine?’ His arguments are endless and, to be honest, have a lot of reason behind them. His family is one of the four that started ViniVeri in 2004, which is a movement that follows the rules of nature, the moon, the land and letting nature decide what it produces. They do not use any chemicals on the vines or in the cantina and let the wine ferment naturally, without adding any yeast to get the process started. When speaking about terrior, the french word for the combination of land, climate and soil, Bea believes that it comes through best in the wine when the land is left untouched as much as possible. His cantina is a work of architectural mastery, for its beauty and for its functionality. Using all natural materials, he designed the structure to care for the wine naturally, like the air slates created to dry the grapes properly for his dessert wine, or the canals of water which run under the steel tanks, keeping the temperature and humidity at just the right spot. A lot of work has gone into creating his wines and the quality shows. The wines are not perfectly clear, nor should they be. The color is always slightly orange or ‘oxidized’ looking, because preservatives have not been added. The wines are considered part of the meal, and their taste, their fruitiness, tannicity and minerality come from the land where the grapes grow.
What makes Bea so great, is that he finds ways to tell the people what he wants them to know. In fact, on his bottles of Umbria Rosso (Rosso De Veò), it’s also written, 100% indigenous wine of Montefalco. I hope people look that up on google.