Guado al Melo, a family-owned winery directed by Annalisa and Michele Scienza, is committed to the goal of producing great terroir wines, following a philosophy based on artisanality and sustainability. We are located in the Bolgheri DOC zone, in the Tuscan hills that face the Tyrrhenian Sea, immersed in a pristine natural landscape characterised by Mediterranean scrubland.
The heart and soul of our winery, completely underground and constructed in accord with ecological principles, is our Biblioteca del Vino (Wine Library), which boasts several thousands of books on the history and culture of wine. A visit to Guado al Melo, then, becomes a true journey into a fascinating world, an adventure composed of historical vineyards, ampelography collections, accounts and stories, displays, exhibits, and videos…
THE VINEYARD: THE FOUNDATION
OF A GREAT WINE
Producing a terroir wine, a wine that truly expresses its growing area, means showcasing and heightening, through painstaking efforts, the utterly unique characteristics of our local terroir, which then become eloquently expressed in wines of great complexity and elegance.
The largest section of our vineyards lies on the first band of the Bolgheri hillslopes, in a small east-west valley set into the hills, traversed by the Fossa di Bolgheri stream. A second parcel is located a bit to the west, along the same stream. The two together total some 15 hectares.
The vinyards are surrounded by woods and scrub classic to the Mediterranean and by olive groves. The vine-rows are cover-cropped naturally, and tended meticulously and concientiously, in the best winegrowing tradition and in accord with the principles of sustainability and low-impact viticulture. Our grape varieties are those of the local tradition, predominantly Vermentino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Merlot.
THE WINECELLAR: WINEMAKING, CULTURE, AND BIO-ARCHITECTURE.
We wanted a winemaking facility that would not seem an alien burden on the landscape but an integral part of its surrounding area. The cellar is completely underground, hidden beneath a low hill covered by olive trees and by flora of the Meditarranean scrub environment. It is this that makes it possible to maintain, in a natural fashion and with low energy consumption, an internal environment ideally suited to wine storage. A system of rainwater capture and re-use results in considerable water-savings. Custom-designed light wells enable natural lighting of labour-intensive areas.
While the exterior thus disappears from view, the cellar’s interior surprises with its elegant simplicity and harmoniously-designed work spaces and hospitality areas, and spaces dedicated to the history and culture of the grapevine and wine. The focus of all these elements is the spacious Biblioteca del Vino. Throughout the year, we also host cultural activities, such as seminars, concerts, art exhibits, and book presentations…
Our winecellar is open to welcome guests who would like to become familiar with what artisanal winegrowers do and to learn about the culture of wine over the millennia. They may enjoy various resources: guided tours, tastings, and just dropping in …
Children can be entertained in a special corner with colouring materials and books…
For any questions, please contact us, Monday-Friday, 8.30am-12.30pm; 2.00-6.00pm
(On Fridays we close at 5.00pm.),
by e-mail or fax. Tel./fax:+39 0565/763238.
Being a winegrower today inescapably involves one in profound reflection on the dualism between technology and nature. Wine depends significantly on human expertise and on the person who makes it (in our case, Michele Scienza). At the same time, it loses much of its soul if it is seen solely as a product of a technological transformation. It is our conviction, in fact, that the value of a great wine consists in its reflection of characteristics that are unique to its terroir and to the growing season that produces it, both of which shape its innermost essence. For us, then, producing a terroir wine means seeking that delicate equilibrium between our own work and our relationship with the uncompromised naturalness of the earth and the vine. It is the striving to understand the finest expression of our vineyard and to manage, with great sensitivity and attention, its transformation into wine, without altering its soul. For us, this reflection cannot be separated from respect for the earth; one must continuoiusly, and increasingly, balance production of high-quality wine with deep respect for the environment and for the healthfulness of the wine. It is sustainability that is the guiding concept of our work: working in the best fashion possible today but always in a way that will preserve natural resources for future generations. We make this possible by utilising the best production practices currently available, fruit of tradition and of the most successful innovations, practices that we adopt because they yield grapes and wine of high quality and with the lowest possible impact on the environment.
Our goal is to craft wines that are terroir-expressive, personal, and distinctive. Our wines are elegant, pleasurable, and well-balanced, their production achieved with artisanal meticulousness.
The heart of our wine portfolio is represented by the great red wines of Bolgheri: Bolgheri Superiore (Atis) embodies the best our vineyards have to offer, a perfect balance between elegance and forcefulness. The Bolgheri Rosso category is represented by two styles, Antillo and Rute, the first containing Sangiovese as well, the second a more classical Bolgheri blend. Certainly worthy of note, however are the two “outliers,” unique and unusual wines made in very limited quantities, Jassarte, an utterely-unique red with oriental nuances, and Criseo Bolgheri DOC Bianco, fruit of the challenge of producing a superb aged white wine in an area famous for its reds.
And, finally, our wines to enjoy on a daily basis, Bacco in Toscana and the white L’Airone (Vermentino).
The differences between one vintage and another are fundamental to the uniqueness of a wine. Nonetheless, we are not total playthings of the weather; the successive conditions of the growing season can instruct the winegrower on how best to carry out his activities in that particular year in order to coax out the finest qualities from the vines. Worth noting is that in our growing area, thanks to our very favourable Medieterranean weather and the tempering effects of the nearby sea, the growing seasons are in general quite consistent and difficult years are few.
This represented our first year of real production, and it was somewhat unfavourable. Conditions were fine until September, when we received a lot of rain. We started picking in mid-September, and had to work hard at selecting only good-quality fruit. We made only Bolgheri Rosso (now Rute) and Guado al Melo Bianco. Both were elegant, and the white displayed superb minerality.
Summer was very hot and dry. The grapes were sound and healthy, well ripened, and the crop very light, with small berries and high concentrations. The harvest started very early, around 20 August, and by mid-September it was already finished. We had to perform very fast fermentations, with brief macerations, to avoid excessive extraction of tannins. We added Antillo, Jassarte, and Guado al Melo Superiore (now Atis).
After two fairly abnormal years, 2004 was a normal season, even though ripening began late because of low groundwater reserves, as a result of lack of rain the previous year. Favourable weather conditions, however, allowed the process to catch up slowly but consistently, and the must was well-balanced, with a pronounced aromatic complexity.
An unusually rainy, cold winter reduced flowering somewhat. A very dry summer was relieved by providential rains in mid-August that restored vine balance and speeded up ripening, which then continued normally. Heat and humidity in September necessitated leaf-pulling, then thinning of defective clusters. Harvesting began after mid-September. The season rated as averge to good.
An excellent season, with regular stages, particularly during ripening. Towards the very end, however, dry conditions brought the vines to the edge of heat stress, but a brief, providential rainfall solved the problem; the soil succeeded in absorbing the water, and after a few days the berries showed good balance again. Guado al Melo added a new wine to its lineup, the red Bacco in Toscana.
The season started off with an unusually warm, rainy winter, which induced a very early budbreak, but a brief period of cold brought the stages back into balance. Summer was torrid and dry, but two beneficial rainfalls prevented damage from water stress and kept ripening on track. On 6 September, Federico was born, and two days later we started harvesting. The day following the end of harvest, it rained furiously, and thus a bit of luck and foresight made for an excellent vintage. A quality selection of grapes yielded a wine dedicated to the newborn.
This season experienced fine weather conditions, with good rainfall into June, then a warm, luminous summer, with lower-than-average temperatures in September and a warm, dry October. Harvesting started towards mid-September. The vineyards started their tenth year, an age that promises increased quality and balance.
The vines developed quite well, thanks to a very rainy winter and spring. Summer, however, was quite dry, although for the first months the vines showed no negative signs, since water supplies were sufficient from the preceding rains. Some days of rain right after the start of harvest were worrying, but fortunately low temperatures and marine breezes kept humidlity at bay, preventing attacks of mould. Fine levels were attained.
The weather remained fairly cold, with rains off and on, almost to the end of June, slowing down the vine growth stages, followed by intense heat. Harvest, which started after mid-September, saw frequent spells of rain, which were fortunately followed by breezy days that helped keep humidity from the vineyards. The wines of this vintage reflect a cool growing season, but we didn’t think the quality was high enough to produce our Atis (Bolgheri Superiore) and Jassarte. We introduced our Vermentino (white) L’Airone.
Winter gave us a (rare) day of snow before Christmas. After an unusual heat spike in early April, summer was sluggish in starting. The heart arrived after mid-August and continued through September and October. This gave the vines a slow, consistent development, with a speed-up in ripening towards the end. Harvest started in the first days of September and developed with no problems. At the end, some of the vines began to show signs of water stress, but in general the fruit that we harvested was sound and healthy, and there were no fears of impending rain that could ruin everything. A very good vintage. We introduced our Rosa al Melo rosé.
The winter was quite dry, and February brought a few snowflakes. Rainfall in the spring was moderate, but the unusual summer heat worried us. Fortunately, the vines coped well, and harvest did not keep us waiting long: picking began in late August. Since the weather was torrid and very dry, we did not do any leaf-pulling and we were very judicious in cluster-thinning, in order to avoid excessive concentration in the grapes. These dry conditions kept the fruit notably healthy. Overall, a very good vintage, characterised by powerful wines.
Spring was quite rainy, ensuring adequate groundwater supplies for the summer, but with low temperatures that lasted almost through all of June, slowing down vine development. Normal temperatures returned in late June, and summer held to the norm, with ripening quite consistent and only slightly behind the seasonal average. Harvest started around mid-September; heavy rains arrived towards the end, but we had to sacrifice only a few rows. Overall, a good, well-balanced year.
Winter was amazingly warm, characterised, like spring, by frequent, heavy rainfall. Summer, though, brought lower-than-average temperatures, again with frequent rains and unusually high levels of humidity. We started the harvest after mid-September, and it was quite challenging: we had to perform a rigorous selection of the clusters, eliminating a lot of fruit ruined by such unusual weather. This led to a reduction in crop levels, and we decided not to produce our finest reds, Atis and Jassarte.
This growing year will surely be remembered as one of the finest of the last decade. Winter and spring brought plentiful rains and generally mild temperatures. Summer, however, was very hot and dry. The ripening process was regular and consistent. Vineyard operations focued on containing the sheer power of the season, so that the wines, instead of being unbalanced and awkward, would display balance and a certain elegance. Fine weather prevailed even through the harvest, which started in early September.
Still a high level vintage. The winter was very dry and mild, in springtime very rainy. At the moment of blossoming the climate was still very cool, causing a delay of the development. It followed a very hot and dry summer, mitigated by a brief rain. The harvest began on September 12th and ended in the first week of October, speeding up the work in the last week to finish before the weather started to get worse (as it happened). Also this year the work in the vineyard has been characterized by the management of the vintage power.