My initial intention was simply to produce a “good family wine” but then passion got the better of me!
It all started in 1996 when Paolo Radici an indutrialist from Bergamo, was seeking a quiet retreat somewhere in the nearby hillside while still playing a key role in the family business, Radici Partecipazioni, that he came across an unexpected opportunity in Franciacorta.
Just down the road from Erbuscothe an old estate belonging to Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli was up for sale. The latter, a pianist from Brescia, considered one of the finest musical talents of the 1900′s. The building is situated on a hillock overlooking a morainic landscape: and here it was, the vineyard kingdom, ten hectares, a unique cru. A coaxing image that rekindles his boyhood dream: to make wine and grow from being a fervent connoisseur to an actual wine producer. Not too far away from the house the work started on the cellar, traditionally styled and in total keeping with the surroundings. The spacious basement rooms allow for vinification and fermentation with the best possible technological support while upstairs cozy wine tasting rooms were constructed. Paolo Radici is aided by a remarkable team of experts: Leonardo Valenti, assisted by Pierluigi Donna, is both agronomist and oenologist for Ronco Calino; Lara Imberti commercial office manager while Alessandro Locatelli oversees vineyard and cellar.
The company philosophy is characterized by ongoing research for excellence. Several features favour this ambitious aspiration: the type of soil in the vineyard, poor yet variegated; it faces north-west thus delaying the ripening of the grapes so that the harvest is in a cooler period of the year; the dislocation of the vineyard, which is born as a unique cru together with its obvious productive and logistic benefits. No compromises regarding yeild per hectare, as the maximum limit is fixed at 55 quintals of grapes.
Work in the cellar is carried out respecting the intrinsic character of each single variety and technology, strangely enough, is a means to avoid excessive manipulation of the product itself rather than the contrary. Among other things the acidic freshness which is due to the delayed ripening, abets the correct biological evolution without any chemical use whatsoever.
The results in the bottle. The Franciacorta DOCG are striking for their aromatic complexity thanks also to being fermented on yeasts for a minimum of 24 months; among the still wines, remarkably the reds come out on top, in particular a Pinot nero of uncommon delicacy. The marc is sent to the Capovilla di Rosà distillery in Vicenza, which prepares a small selection of distillates.
Nowadays, sixteen harvests after its debut, Ronco Calino produces 70/80 thousand bottles a year. Both the wines and the Franciacorta area itself release a subtle, complex and understated elegance reflecting somewhat the composed nature of he who produces leisurely while being faithful to the land, the vineyard and the most demanding wine-taster.