When I was younger, I had a dream. To tell you the truth, I had many dreams. But mainly it was to make art, to design, to paint.
Life led me to other, more stable paths. Once in a while, though, I still draw. For the label on a bottle of wine, but not more than once a year or so. I like to do it.
But I only do it when it’s a wine that tells me something in particular. Because on the label I want to describe what the wine tells me about the person who made it.
In the past few days, I finished a label for a winemaker from Soave named Filippo Filippi.
Filippo believes in an agricultural respect for the soil, for the environment, for life. He could double the size of his vineyard, but he chooses instead to conserve the forest. The oak and chestnut trees protect the old vines of Garganega and Trebbiano.
Because of him, on the hills of Castelcerino, there is a peace that seems impossibile to find today. Walk the paths through the vineyards and you’ll find perfuse… herbs, hay, flowers, basalt wet with morning dew, and volcanic rock cut away from the sun.
Filippo produces white wines. He makes two different Soave that have a strong territorial character and are high in minerality.
Then he also makes a cru of Garganega and another of Trebbiano di Soave.
Now he’s created a new white wine, from the 2013 vintage. He calls it Susinaro. In the dialect of Verona, it means plum tree. They grow side by side with the vines in the same field.
In the wine are ripe plums, and hay, and dried flowers, and volcanic rock. But you must be patient, when you pour it into the glass. You must wait, because the wine opens, and your own story begins. Filippo is like his wine. First there is quiet, while you feel each other out. Then, there is the reward.
I love the Susinaro for this. It tells of the perfumes of Filippo’s earth. It tells of the character of surly Filippo. It tells of a land and of a man. The French call it a terroir, this set of factors combining people and their land.
If I hadn’t tasted the Susinaro first, I don’t believe I would have agreed to draw the labels for Filippo.
But I did taste the Susinaro. And not only did I draw the labels. I chose it as my white wine of the year.
Verona Bianco Susinaro 2013 Filippi
In memoriam. A few days ago, Pietro Candusso passed away. He was 95, and a Salesian priest. He was my drawing teacher at school. My next glass of wine will be in his honour.