CAVIT’s PICA Mix

This tasting presented six wines from CAVIT, the super-Coop in the Trentino region of northern Italy. This is a region of great diversity, of climate, altitude and soils, and the tasting would focus on a recently introduced system which CAVIT calls ‘PICA’.

PICA is a sophisticated proprietary software programme developed by CAVIT to help all of its member growers to produce the best quality grapes the can, in the most sustainable way possible. It was the brainchild of Cavit’s agronomist/oenologist, Andrea Faustini. Back in 2010 Andrea joined forces with the S Michele Institute in Trentino and the Bruno Kessler Foundation, to begin work on the project.

PICA knows best

PICA has mapped all of the region’s land in immense detail, capturing data and constructing maps of all aspects of the terroir, including soils composition, rainfall, temperature, vine growth patterns and much more. It gives growers access to excellent data that helps them decide on pruning, treatment and picking dates for example. Crucially, the depth of data that is now captured has helped identify the best high-altitude vineyards in non-classic areas, considered extreme, for growing premium Pinot Grigio and Pinot Nero grapes.

Growers are incentivised to follow the recommendations of PICA in order to maximise quality, and are paid at higher rates if that quality is acheived. Today, 92% of Cavit’s 5,200 grape growers are using the programme.

The company is keen to grow the production of its sparkling Trento DOC wines, the traditional method wine made from Chardonnay and Pinot, which sits alongside Franciacorta at the top of Italy’s traditional method wine appellations. PICA helps to identify suitable vineyard sites, in what will be a long-term project.

The Wines

(2022) A classic Trento DOC traditional method sparkling wine, the composition 100% Chardonnay with 36 months on the yeast. Again vineyards here rise to over 600 metres on volcanic soils identified by PICA. The base wine goes through malolactic fermentation, and the dosage 7g/l. Very creamy and with Chardonnay richness yet apple and lemony bite to the fruit on the palate. Nicely balanced, not particularly complex, but refreshing and easy to drink.
(2022) From the best areas for this variety, a mix of Mediterranean and more Alpine conditions. There's plenty of juicy yellow apple and lemon, but also hints of straw and minerality. It has quite a mouth-filling creaminess, less than 3g/l of sugar, but real juicy sweetness through the mid-palate. Delicious and quite full, yet the acidity is crisp and very nicely integrated.
(2022) After years of research via PICA, vineyards planted at higher than 600 metres - much higher than PG would normally be planted, maturing three weeks later and changing the profile of the wine with its mountain profile. There is also a very strict selection of grapes, each vineyard fermented separately in stainless steel, before final blending. Peaches and orange peel sum this wine up, along with a dash of mineral salts. Great intensity, juiciness, but a shimmering clarity to the acidity.
(2022) From a vineyard classed as experimental - although it has been run by CAVIT since the 1980s. Here a number of varieties and clones are grown for their agronomists and winemaker to experiment. Chardonnay has been planted in Trentino since it was an Austrian territory. This is barrel-fermented and aged until the May following harvest, then best barrels are selected for this cuvée. Lightly toasty and spicy on the nose, oak relatively obvious but topped by fresh lemon verbena fruitiness. Palate quite cool and clean, again it is citrus and yellow apple that carries the palate, acidity quite tangy and lightly salty perhaps.
(2022) There are more than 20 varieties grown in Trentino, but among the native grapes, Lagrein has developed a small international reputation. It is a member of the Syrah family, and here gives a very deep, vibrant colour, a touch of smokiness and violet, the palate very smooth, with a buoyancy of ripe, sweet fruits, almost strawberry notes of sweetness among more tart and linear berry flavours. Nice spice and firmness of tannins, and very good acidity, add up to a very drinkable red.
(2022) Introduced in 2014, certain blocks for Pinot have been indentified, and the wine is given some bottle age before release, so this is the current vintage. The wine does see some 225-litre barrel ageing, but very little oak is new and toasting is light. More elegance here than the 2017 tasted recently , though some development with an autumnal feel to the fruit, a little forest floor and mushroom character, cherry-ripe fruit coming through on the mid-palate. The spice and light toast of the oak sits well against the crisp, light- to medium-bodied style of the wine, with spicy notes into a finish balanced by clean tannins and acidity.

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