Air is one of the most ancestral and universal ways for our senses to experience freedom.
It happens as soon as we come into this world as newborn babies, when we dilate our alveoli with our first breath, making space for oxygen in our lungs before we burst out into a liberating cry.
This first breath is the feeling we experienced on the first day after the end of lockdown.
Do you remember when we were all stuck at home? We kept daydreaming about the thousands of things we would do once we were free.
Some people dreamed of swimming in crystal-clear tropical seas, while others imagined whiling away the time on endless countryside picnics.
The important thing was to get our nostrils out of the house and breathe in our unmissable “hour of fresh air”.
This is why quarantine was so hard, especially mentally.
By attacking our airways, preventing us from using our sense of smell, and forcing us to wear a claustrophobic mask, the virus has deprived us of our most inalienable right: breathing in freedom.
I was therefore really struck by the story of Bercio del Sirca, the Vermentino by Manuel Pulcini, a company that makes natural wines based in the province of Lucca (we also talk about it here in this article).
An unconventional wine, a tribute to freedom, dedicated to the element that best embodies this spirit: air.
Bercio del Sirca means “the scream of the miser” in old Tuscan dialect, getting its name from the windy vineyard of the same name, where gusts rustling through the leaves make a high-pitched sound similar to a man’s scream.
Just like the wind, which occasionally decides to blow in a different direction, the Bercio changes its nature every year.
Indeed, Manuel enjoys altering the characteristics of his wine depending on the vintage.
In 2017, his Bercio was a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia, still, unfiltered and macerated, while in 2018, it was semi-sparkling and re-fermented using the Ancestral Method.
And would you believe it, the latest version in 2019 became a Vermentino.
The wine’s essence lies in its extremely changeable nature.
It is the wine which Manuel uses to show the world how he sees it, to be itself, and to choose how it should be that year.
It is a wine of madness or knowledge, of risky experiments or considered choices… no one knows, it just depends on the vintage. It definitely shows his freedom of expression.
This is why it is worth discovering it every time.
We will now tell you about the Third Version from 2019 with its #Charming character and also the only one still on sale!
A selection of primarily Vermentino grapes from various sections of the farm are made into wine separately in two parts.
The first part uses steel tanks and forms the structure of the wine. It is designed to enhance the primary aromas of the variety, notes of fresh fruit and flowers, and requires the “ullage” method.
It essentially uses the CO2 produced naturally during fermentation to protect the wine from being oxidized without using any chemicals.
The tank is not completely filled with the must and so plenty of room is left for the CO2, which acts as a cork to stop oxygen from getting in as it is a heavier gas.
While the other part is made into wine by macerating the skins in the must with oxygen for about 6-12 hours. This technique helps extract different aromas, produced by the fermentation and maceration, which evoke ripe, tropical fruit.
Dark, brooding, and unfiltered, it is so fleshy on the palate that each sip is almost like sinking your teeth into a juicy ripe pear under the blazing hot sun.
A tantalizing “petillant” semi-sparkling nature, created from the intentional malolactic re-fermentation in the bottle, contrasts with the wine’s rich, full-bodied side, making it a lively summer wine to drink.
Although it is not a summer wine full of dips in the sea and salty kisses, but rather a country stroll through yellow ears of wheat and a low background murmur.
Manuel recommends drinking it after a day’s work in the office when your tie is too tight around your neck or your heels are starting to hurt and you feel a compelling need for air.
Or before a Metallica gig.
Or better yet, both!
We can all learn from this Vermentino, which is so fickle yet not afraid to be so, and we can be free to be ourselves.