“Go round the back; you’ll find the keys in the flowerpot. Let yourselves in. I’ll be back in about 15 mins.”
That was how my visit to Marco Buratti’s house in the Colli Euganei, near Padova, started.
Marco has 2 hectares (~4 acres) of old vines and 3 hectares of woodland, on the volcanic soils of the Colli Euganei National Park, near Padova.
He makes between 8,000 – 10,000 bottles per year of red, white and rosé.
His first vintage was 2007. However, 2010 and subsequently 2011 were both washouts because of a severe hailstorm.
Varieties include: Moscato, Tokai and Malvasia, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and small quantities of another 5 very rare, red varieties.
We take a seat and wait for Marco to return. The radio is on and David Bowie’s voice is echoing around the room. It’s an absolutely beautifully appointed house; reminiscent of a mountain cabin with exposed stone walls and old wooden beams… but there are a couple of quirky touches: a kitchen which could easily pass for a professional restaurant and in the living room, stylish art nouveau lamps. In pride of place, is the dog basket.
Marco makes an extreme kind of natural wine. The cellar amounts to barely an extension of his living room – two small rooms with mainly fibreglass vats, some concrete tanks and a few barrels at the back. His winemaking style, if it even can be called a style, is rustic: zero intervention, no added sulfites and no filtering.
As a result, the whites and rosé are intensely aromatic and lively. The reds are juicy, fresh and vivid. We tasted everything in the cellar and then Marco opened a bottle of 2015 “Birbo” (tokai-malvasia blend) and 2013 “Mai Domi” (a Merlot-based blend of 7 different grape varieties) for us. Mai Domi was my personal favourite; all Marco’s wines are easy to drink but this, with plenty of blackberry and black pepper, was more substantial and on this rainy, autumnal day, it was perfect. Because they are such natural wines, made without any chemicals, they can sometimes tend towards volatile acidity once first opened but this adds to their personality.
“I want to make a wine which is social.”
This idea of a social wine is interesting. By his own confession, he wants to make a wine which people want to drink. And drink quickly.
Once you taste his wines, you understand immediately that it’s not the type of wine to laid down in a cellar and then be talked about in pretentious terms of sniffing, swirling and slurping. They are wines to be opened with friends, between lovers, or whoever as long as they will be enjoyed.
Marco is a romantic. A romantic rebel.
Adjacent to a suitcase (Marco got back from a trip around California the day before), is a sign saying “REBEL FOREVER.”
It would be overly simplistic to define Marco as a winemaker. His passion for life, his curiosity, and warm personality goes far beyond those of the average grower. He would like to say that he’s a rebel; he would like to say that he’s a bit of a gigolo too but he’s more than just that.
On a professional level, I rarely meet a winemaker so dedicated to the rustic “zero sulfur” approach. He is surely one of the most extreme in Italy.
On a personal level, he described himself to us as a man who needs a woman. He has the house and the job – but he wants to come home to a wife and children, not just his adorable (and very charismatic) bulldog, Nina.
“C’era una volta il vino… anche il cuore.” (Marco Buratti)
— Once upon a time, there was wine… and also a heart.
One of the first things he said to us was that he is unchangeable. Over the course of our discussion, it came out that he was uncompromising in his previous relationships. His wine is similarly as uncompromising. You will either love it or hate it…. but if this is your style of wine, Marco Buratti’s wines are as true as it gets.
Visit: 5th November 2016