Where the future lies in the past. Somewhat hidden in the gentle hills of the Valle di Crati, between the Calabrian Apennines and the foothills of the Pollino Mountains, the largest nature reserve in Europe, lies the small but fine Serracavallo winery.
Although you can't see it, it is significant, a center of power, so to speak. Not because of its size - 32 of the 50 hectares are dedicated to viticulture and are cultivated continuously, about 15 hectares are vinified. The importance lies rather in the person of the owner, who himself drives us over the winding roads high up into the hills: Dottore Demetrio Stancati. When it comes to the new self-confidence of Calabrian wine producers, there is no getting around this man. He is president of the Consorzio dei vini della calabria Citra, the association of producers for the care of old grape varieties, he is the founder of the Dop Terre di
Cosenza, founded in 2011, and he is also the owner of the Serracavallo wine estate.
But let's start at the beginning, one day earlier, in Cosenza. In this typical Calabrian regional town, Demetrio Stancati and his wife Flaviana give us a very warm and extremely hospitable welcome. You quickly realise that you are dealing with a visionary, energetic man, a down-to-earth intellectual, a mixture of countryman and fine spirit. From the first moment, his passion and love for the land is immediately palpable, as is his extensive knowledge of history and wine. He believes these two are inextricably linked and central to understanding what he is currently trying to achieve in the region. "Our land and the old wine tradition with its original varieties are the basis of our future. They are unique, and we must take care of them and we can be proud of them." When he walks through the streets of Cosenza - there is no other way to describe his walk - he is greeted reverently from all sides, "buona sera Presidente" is said every few meters. He has made a great impact on the microeconomy of the region, but above all on the self-confidence of the people; his enthusiasm is contagious. His chosen favourite is the Magliocco, and he has even founded his own academy to protect and honour it. His commitment and drive do the whole region good in its soul, and for this the Presidente is revered.
He found his destiny and his wine rather late. According to the family tradition, Stancati studied medicine and was in the middle of a promising medical career. But he did not want to practice the profession. He much preferred to be outdoors, in the fields and in the vineyards. In the nineties, he decided to revamp his nonno's small estate in the hills of Bisignano. He invested a lot, extended roads, created plots and, above all, he nurtured his autochthonous vines. And he made wine. Excellent wine from these same old varieties. So we have to go there, to Serracavallo, where his vines and his passion are rooted.
Via the unctuously named Strada del vino e dei Sapori del Bruzio we are on our way in the graceful Valle di Crati, and suddenly even a flattering and dreamy tone comes easily: the landscape is impressive and lovely, the climate pleasant and made for good wines. The winery is perched at 600 meters above sea level on a sunny slope with breathtaking views all the way to the sea, and the Sila, freshening winds and cooling nights together with sandy yet fertile soils provide perfect conditions. Serracavallo is a showcase for the renewal of Calabria: state-of-the-art facilities in the new cellar, a barrique cellar staged in simple elegance noble and effective. All this testifies to high standards, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. The treasure, however, is the terroir and its old growths, the land, inhabited and cultivated since time immemorial. Mixed with a portion of courage and a pinch of creative will, the result is an exciting recipe for a promising future. Stancati proudly leads us criss-cross through his realm and shows us the different plots. Meticulously and with the most modern means
the soils were leveled and terraced, analyzed and planted with the appropriate varieties according to the microclimate. Of course, we find Magliocco and Greco, but also new varieties like Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot or Riesling enrich the production.
Here the Presidente becomes reverent and also somewhat philosophical, he speaks of respect for nature, of not disturbing plant communities because they are symbiotically connected, on many levels. "You grow together, you breathe together, you feed together, you nourish each other. These substances also flow into the wine. All of this takes time. Having time is important, so we pay respect to the vines. Also by harvesting everything by hand, in several passes if necessary." On the inviting terrace with a dream view, we are finally served the much talked about, pure Magliocco. The landlord proudly pours his Vigna Savuco, with a round fruit flavor of red berries, an impeccable structure in the background, and yet quaffable and smooth. One of many other trouvailles from Serracavallo's cellars that leave you wanting more. At vini di Calabria, territorio in bottiglie.
Text: Domenica Flütsch | Picture: Flavia Vergani | Source: Vergani Magazine 7