Corte Bravi Wines
Natural wine has come to Valpolicella as it has to so much of Europe, and no-one is more committed to the ethos than Corte Bravi. The tenets of natural wine – that the grapes ferment spontaneously with their wild yeasts, that no chemical additives are included, that the wines go without filtration and use little (or preferably, zero) sulphites at bottling – are summed up beautifully and succinctly by the winery’s fierce motto: ‘Grapes And Nothing Else.’
Situated in Gargagnago (bordering the estate owned by the descendants of the poet Dante), in land purchased by their father in 1990, brothers Andrea and Ivan Brunelli have set about establishing a haven for minimum-intervention winemaking in this, the heart of Valpolicella Classica. Having grown up tending and cultivating the land, they set up their own winery in 2011, making it one of the youngest in the Classica area (certainly considering their reputation). Their principles are clear – that the grapes are what make the wine, and the land is what makes the grapes, and the winemaker’s job is to interfere with both as little as possible, to allow what is there in nature to shine through.
These principles have led them to join the Vinnatur group, small wineries dedicated to providing a rigorous definition for the sometimes-thorny term ‘natural wine’, and crafting their products according to it. This is a commitment which goes even beyond the wine itself, with the farm running exclusively from renewable electricity sources, just a further indication of their unyielding commitment to the land.
With just 4 hectares of vineyards producing around 10,000 bottles a year, each wine is crafted with stern attention to its unique properties, to what makes a wine truly ‘from’ somewhere, rather than just being made there. The mostly limestone soils are a wonderful starting place for great wine, as is the unique microclimate of Valpolicella Classica. All of this is what the brothers Brunelli and Corte Bravi want to shine through in the wine – not confection, not strong oak influences, not a ‘stable product’, but a wine that is alive, that could only be from one place, made from (say it again) ‘grapes and nothing else.’