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An Interview with Andrea Zanfei of Cerreto Libri
This interview with Andrea Zanfei took place in his cellar during a visit in November 2011. It was conducted by Kevin Mckenna and translated to English by Pietro Straccia.
Tell us about Cerreto Libri.
We are located in the region of
We cultivate the area's traditional grapes. For white we adamantly defend our
Can you explain how this winery exists?
The property is ancient: the villa dates back to 1796! The great historian Paganello established its' origins, and it turns out the edifice is of considerable importance from an architectural point of view, because the foundations most likely sit on abandoned Etruscan towers that have been reconfigured to build the current shape of the building.
The villa was bought from the Baldini family by the Del Rosso family. The Del Rosso's daughter eventually married a man from the Libri family. Both were established, affluent families, and at the time marrying a woman came with a considerable dowry. This is how the property got much bigger.
The subsequent generations have kept busy to this very day. The owners have never changed. I’m not the owner. The owner is my wife. So I just follow orders and collaborate (laughs)! That’s the idea.
When did you personally get involved?
My wife Valentina and I started to work together in 1997. The big leap was deciding to switch from farming
1997 was the year we took
You've been working the farm since 1997, but up until very recently, you had a whole other career on top of running the azienda. Can you tell us about that?
I was a professor in high school. I taught history and philosophy, and this year, after a full career, I retired. So yes, up until very recently, you could say I had a double engagement.
But I never struggled too much doing both. School would keep me busy mostly in the morning, so aside from reunions and preparing my lectures, there was enough free time to take care of the farm and the vines. Not much though! There were many times when I had to be at school when all I could think about was the work that needed to get done on the farm!
Besides the climate, can you elaborate on the differences between Chianti Ruffina and Chianti Classico?
Because there are so few of us in
I believe that the fundamental difference is that we are allowed to make
There are many conversations and debates about “natural wines” these days. What do you think of this way of classifying the wine?
It’s a great question and a very complex problem. I always try to solve it with a simple solution: we should be able to ask other producers to
This is one side of the equation, and unfortunately there are those who work "
If you begin an agricultural process thinking: “My investment must bring in a lot of money to make it worth my while” you are steering away from what
In our modern society, part of the land has to be used for industry. But to try and submit all of our land to industry is foolish. There are so many recent examples of this backfiring: the unbalance of using (or exploiting) a territory creates a serious potential for total disaster.
We believe that a natural product is simply a product that confronts these issues.
Which wines do you like from other areas of Europe?
Ah, I like almost all wine. Us producers start from just that. Clearly a passion for the product. We’re all motivated for one reason or another but I personally find French wines very interesting. None of us can deny their quality. I also very much enjoy, for example
I like wines where there is a degree of research. Where there is a willingness to extract the environment. I notice that, for example, when you drink certain