Altacucina held a lovely wine tasting on Monday, May 24 showcasing Italian organic and biodynamic wines. By chance I met Claudio Icardi a few days after the event. We discussed the wines at length and how he came to biodynamics as a philosophy and what it has done for his wines.
A word about biodynamic viticulture first. The field was started by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) whose philosophy eventually evolved into the biodynamic movement. It aims to take into account the entire ecosystem around a plant or a person. Practically what this means is that the vineyards are planted according to certain phases of the moon and other practices while pest management techniques are all natural without using chemicals or pesticides.
Claudio Icardi said that initially he thought it was all a bunch of silly ideas but that after practicing biodynamic viticulture and winemaking for a period of time, he became so convinced of its merits that he now promotes it throughout Italy and teaches at various universities. He also told me for the first five years he threw out the wine because it wasn’t up to the standard that he wanted. “I wanted to make a great wine not just an okay one. My model was Romanee Conti,” he added.
He likened traditional interventions in the vineyard as giving a medication to someone who was sick that took care of the immediate cause but not the underlying effect. That is the difference between the holistic approach and the traditional approach.
The end result of this all are wonderful wines made from traditional Piedmont grape varieties such as Barbara, Nebbiolo, Cortese, Moscato d’Asti and a few international varieties. The wines are imported by Vinifera.