Atina DOC wine and Pasquale Visocchi, the stubborn winemaker

Starting from the beginning of the nineteenth century in Atina they began to select cabernet vines for the production of Atina DOC wine. It all began with the famous agronomist Pasquale Visocchi who was also mayor of Atina.

Pasquale was both an agronomist and an industrialist with a paper mill in Atina and was the first to revive the ancient practice of green manure, an agrarian technique that consists of inter-planting specific crops to increase soil fertility.

Pasquale Visocchi studied to understand what were the best crops for this process called ‘siderazione’ in which plants of buried legumes increased the levels of nitrogen in the soil. And so, this also explained the arrival and the spread of the cannellini bean of Atina PDO which today is another of the food delights of this area.

Pasquale Visocchi often went to France for equipment for the paper mill and from 1860 he imported both red grapes (cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, merlot) and white grapes (pinot, semillon, russane) and he successfully planted them in Val di Comino. These successes were then successfully repeated also in the Veneto region and in particular in the Conegliano area.

The Cabernet is a vine native to the Medoc and the Bordeaux area and has good adaptability to different climatic conditions. The wine has an intense colour and is rich in aromatic substances that make it improve with aging, especially if in oak barrels.

Pasquale Visocchi was therefore an eclectic scholar, lover of the technology of paper mills and soil chemistry, experimenter in agriculture and researcher of Latin epigraphs with his German friend Mommsen who accompanied around the Val di Comino. The birth of the ‘Fratelli Visocchi’ winery dates back to 1868 and produced 4,600 quintals (about 100kg) of grapes.

In fact, the cultivation of grapes and the production of wine in the valley had begun much earlier and recently the production of wine from Pamparano and Maturano vines has been remembered and restarted.

The first testimonies of this early wine production are found in the Benedictine archives, where medieval agricultural contracts are found regarding the cultivation or the sale of vineyards. But the ancient sedimentary soils with prevalence of limestone rocks of the Apennine range proved to be perfect for the Cabernet and other French vines.

Today two DOC wines are produced: Atina Rosso DOC and Cabernet di Atina DOC. Also on sale are Atina Rosso Riserva, Cabernet Riserva and Semillon. In Cabernet Atina DOC wine must be present at least 85% of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc grapes while the other 15% may be of black grapes grown in Lazio. Atina Doc wine must contain at least 50% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and the rest of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Franc and up to 20% of other black grapes grown in Lazio.

The vines are cultivated in the towns of Atina, Gallinaro, Belmonte Castello, Picinisco, Sant’Elia Fiume Rapido, Alvito, Villa Latina, San Donato Val di Comino, Vicalvi, Casalattico, Casalvieri and Settefrati.

Those who taste them cannot help but add these wines to the list of their favorites!

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