Do you ever taste an heroic wine? Here what we are talking about

Heroic wines are the result of production under extreme conditions: viticulture in mountainous areas, on steep slopes or on small islands. To better understand this phenomenon, Cervim, the Centre for Research, Environmental Sustainability and Advancement of Mountain Viticulture was founded. And from 2020, the term “heroic wines” takes on an official value in Italy because definition of heroic vineyard have been established by law.

Cosa sono i vini eroici
From left heroic vineyard in Monterosso (Italy) ph. Marija Rusaka, tasting a red wine, lava soils of Etna (Italy) ph. Aleksandr Bryntcev and historic vineyard ph. Julia Volk

The criteria to idenfify heroic viticulture are:

  1. Vineyard sites at altitudes over 500 meters (1600 feet)
  2. Vines planted on slopes greater than 30%
  3. Vines planted on terraces or embankments
  4. Vines planted on small islands in difficult growing conditions

Is there a difference between a heroic vineyard and a historic one in Italy?

Yes, they have different characteristics, but a heroic vineyard can also be historical. We have this law in Italy because there are so many ancient vineyard (some are more than 100 years old) with rare traditional grapes to preserve. In order to consider a vineyard historic, its presence must be documented from before 1960. Furthermore: 1) it must be cultivated with traditional forms of cultivation linked to the production area and 2) it must have particular arrangements considered traditional or of high landscape value such as terracing.

What are the best heroic wines to taste?

There is a competition dedicated exclusively to heroic wines and it’s called Mondial des Vins Extrêmes, last year a Pantelleria wine won.

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