Questo articolo è il risultato della collaborazione tra SapereFood e Umbra Institute, filiale italiana di alcuni college e università statunitensi con sede a Perugia. Dopo un approfondimento sul settore agroalimentare e sullle tecniche di scrittura giornalistica, gli studenti di Umbra Institute hanno visitato alcune importanti aziende della regione, raccontando la loro esperienza sul campo e contribuendo a diffondere la qualità alimentare dell’Umbria all’estero.
by Chapin Graham
Walking into the building of the Fongoli Winery feels like walking into a well lived-in home. There are pictures of the family alongside the barrels of wine and the dark wooden frame gives a sense of warmth. The farming tools hanging from the walls speak to the way the Fongoli family makes its wine. Angelo is part of the fourth generation of wine makers in the family and he greets us with a warm smile. It is easy to believe that an authentic wine is made here.
The family of wine makers prides itself in having that sincere wine and proves itself in the way it makes the wine. They replenish the soil that the grapes grow in naturally and strive to have the smallest impact on the environment they can. Angelo says that more work in the vineyard and less work in the cellar leads to a better and more authentic wine. This leads to a varying taste in wine from year to year because Angelo and the Fongoli family refuse to bend and shape the wine into something that is repeatable during the process in the cellar.
For this reason, a connection between the winery and the people becomes increasingly important. People need to understand what they are looking for in a bottle of wine. The increasing popularity of wine tourism has been useful for the Fongoli winery because the people can learn about the values behind the wine rather than judging it solely on the taste. The importance of being local to the Fongoli wine gives them an advantage because, Angelo states, “More and more people choose wine because of the territory”. This value that is placed on the Umbrian territory and the authenticity that it brings to the wine is beginning to be beneficial to Fongoli.
People will now taste the difference of Fongoli wines from year to year and recognize that that is the sincerity they were expecting from Fongoli wine. An example of this is the wooden barrels that they use. The barrels are seventy years old, which leaves out the woody taste that is consistent in other wines so “the taste of the wine is truer to its original fruit form”. Wood also has tannins in it, which causes some of the bitterness one finds in the wine and the Sagrantino grapes that Fongoli grows are also known for having a lot of tannins so taking out some of the tannins by using old wood can improve the taste.
When asked what people can find in a Fongoli bottle of wine, Angelo replied that they can find a sincere bottle of wine and says of the Fongoli brand “we found our own niche in the market with the idea that we want to give value to the things from Umbria.” Angelo is proud to grow the best grape to make wine and proud that the work that he puts in on the vineyard dictates the taste of the wine.
When Angelo’s wife served the wine and I got to taste the wine, the sense of that sincerity that he talked about washed through me and I was able to taste the quality in the sweetness of the white and the slight bitterness of the red Sagrantino. And it was delicious.