Andrea started in 1988 with 1ha in the closed valley of Solinga in the commune of Canneto Pavese, on the ‘ghiai’ terreno of the Oltrepò Pavese in Lombardia. The region was known until the 1950s as ‘Antico Piemonte‘, due to its sedimentary, Tortonian marine sands, a continuation of those found in the Roero & Langhe, left by the retreating sea, & whose steep valleys – notably that of Val Versa – were subsequently formed by glaciers.
He began buying up old abandoned vineyards, producing his first wine Buttafuoco DOC ‘Bricco Riva Bianca’ in the same year. In 1995 he produced his first Rosso d’Asia, named after his daughter who’s now studying in Bologna, & in 2006 his first Pinot Nero ‘Arfena’, having planted the vines in 2000 at 8k plants/ha. In 2009 he made his first Metodo Classico Pinot Nero, sur lattes for 10 years & released in 2019! He now has 10ha.
Vinification is in cement & stainless steel, with affinamento in French barriques for the Pinot Nero & since 2015 15HL botte grande for the other reds. In vintage 2018 Andrea invested in a 40HL wooden tino for fermenting his ‘Bricco Riva Bianca’!
With the sad passing of his father Antonio in April 2019, & tragically that of his brother Fabrizio in 1978, Andrea has his mother Rose, nata in Stradella, wife Silvia & daughter Asia by his side.
Il territorio di Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepò Pavese DOC
Located in the 250m asl high & steep, glacial formed sandy stony hills lying between two rivers Versa & Scuropasso of the Oltrepò Pavese, a Lombardo region in the province of the historic city of Pavia wedged between Piemente to the west & Emilia-Romagna to the east, on the edge of the Po valley. The key DOC of these hills belongs to Buttafuoco (or Buttafuoco dell’Oltrepò Pavese) dates back to 7 Feb 1996 & officially to 2010, & that can be made in seven communes/villages: Canneto Pavese, Castana, Montescano, Cigognola, Pietra dè Girogi, Broni, e Stradella. The Buttafuoco zone is roughly split into three terrains: ‘Ghiaie’ (stones), then ‘Arenarie’ (sandstone), & ‘Argille’ (clays). Buttafuoco is a traditional blend of Croatina (Bonarda), Barbera, Uva Rare, & Ughetta di Canneto, made as a vino fermo, vivace or frizzante. The name Buttafuoco comes from the dialect: “al buta me al feugh”, che significa: “scalda – risveglia come il fuoco”!
‘Cerasa/Solinghino’ Buttafuoco DOC dell’Oltrepò Pavese
‘da Cima a Fondo’ Vino Rosso
‘Bricco Riva Bianca’ Buttafuoco DOC dell’Oltrepò Pavese
2018 ‘Cerasa’ Buttafuoco DOC dell’Oltrepò Pavese – tasted 24 Jan.’20
14%abv, 4RS, bottled June’19, Andrea’s everyday drinking Buttafuoco, a blend of Croatina (Bonarda Veronese) & Barbera from sedimentary white Tortoniano & morainic soils. The Croatina gives a deep hue & some tannic structure, the Barbera provides the juiciness & fresh acidity, while the steep Tortonian hills give low pH & poise. First produced in 2004, it’s fermented spontaneously for 15 days on the skins, doesn’t see oak, is not fined but is lightly filtered at bottling so that it remains bright! Helped by a delightful, fleshy vintage 2018, the nose is seductively perfumed with crunchy blackberry & hedgerow fruit, while the palate is both fragrant with Scottish raspberries, along with some spice. Very moreish, it shows off the high quality of Oltrepò Pavese’s Barbera: rich yet also lush & fresh! From vintage 2019, to be renamed ‘Solinghino, after the steep valley in which Andrea’s vines are to be found’!
2017 ‘Da Cima a Fondo’ Vino Rosso – tasted 24 Jan.’20
13.5%, 9 RS, 50mg total sulphur, so named because the fruit is harvested from the ‘Cima’ (top) of Andrea’s plots of 70% Croatina & 30% Uva Rara, co-fermented spontaneously, & refermented in bottle to give a ‘Fondo’ (slight deposit) plus a very gentle ‘vivace’ (spritz). Very fine aromatics, with a usual whiff of carbon dioxide from the referment, that blows with aeration; plus the gentle bubbles dissipate quickly in the glass; both contribute to keeping the wine fresh. Very pretty, rosehip, fresh strawberry fruit, delicate, transparent…the Uva Rara gives a soft, also figgy ripeness too. This is an exceptional wine for accompanying salumi, especially given the quality of Lombard prosciutto etc..
2016 ‘Bricco Riva Bianca’ Buttafuoco DOC dell’Oltrepò Pavese – tasted 24 Jan.’20
14.5%, 4RS, this is Andrea’s top wine, the pinnacle of the region’s Oltrepo Pavese wines, a co-fermented blend of Croatina, Barbera & Ughetta di Solinga, aged in 15HL botte grande, from his top, vineyard ‘Bricco Riva Bianca’. Where ‘Da Cima a Fondo’ is delicate & poised; ‘Bricco Riva Bianca’ is a rich character, a perfect blend of local varieties that give a fantasic Visciolo cherry intensity & crunch, stupendo, so alive & brimming with griotte/sotto-spirito/kirsch hedgerow fruit compote, carried with immense charm & freshness. A gorgeous wine. Only 3k bottles produced.