On rocky ground, and thankfully so

Passion is a must, as is the patience to allow things to grow, giving them the space and time to develop without changing their character: in essence, winemaking is the result of an intact relationship.

Giuliano and Patrizia Cormano’s Merlot grapes grow on the sunny slopes of Southern Switzerland, in the pleasant microclimate of the outlying Alpine foothills in Morbio Inferiore, between Lake Como and Lake Lugano. There is almost always a light breeze here, where the nights are generally cool and the days warm.

The small family business Cormano Vini is considered to be among the best winemakers in Ticino. An insider tip for connoisseurs. The grapes grow in vineyards that Giuliano Cormano took over from his father in 1989. Originally, he had studied business and then become a teacher after everyone convinced him that there was no way to make a living with wine in Ticino. His wife Patrizia has been working with him since 2008, when she gave up her safe job at a Swiss bank in favour of a future in winemaking. Nowadays, the vineyard produces 40,000 bottles of outstanding wines every year, picking up several international awards in the process.

The soil is the true secret of these wines. The ground here is barren, with plenty of limestone and minerals. A thin layer of humus covers grit, stones and rocks. Here, the roots of the vines, many of which are already some 50 years old, force their way through tight cracks and gaps down to a depth of four meters in places. The small grapes then concentrate the different influences of this special area into an intense, unmistakable flavour. You can taste the sun and the rocky ground of Ticino, untainted and distinctive in its character.

Giuliano emphasises how important the ground is – just as it is. That is why the Cormanos do not add anything that wouldn’t occur naturally. Even plants that others would deem as weeds are not fought with chemicals but carefully burned with special equipment that protects the vines and the environment. Indeed, environmentally-friendly winemaking and areful maintenance of the vineyards are a given for the Cormanos. They mainly produce red wines: Beatrice made from Merlot grapes, Caronte which is also 100% Merlot but matured for 24 months in oak barrels, and Cormano which is matured for 18 months, spending half of the time in old barriques and half in new wood. All of the vineyard’s wines are elegant, concentrated and boast a pleasant, individual structure. A true piece of Ticino.

We are giving away a bottle of Cormano from the Cormanos’ vineyard for five lucky winners.  [Sorry, contest now closed]

To take part, simply answer this short question by 9 October 2015!

Bring Ticino’s finest to your home:

Cormano is an excellent Merlot, matured for 18 months in French barriques. The bouquet is dominated by fruit with jammy berries, vanilla and warm oak; after the first sip, the entire palate is coated with the round, plump body of this wine; accompanied by soft, almost sweet tannins, this is a round and complex wine which remains thoroughly elegant and balanced right through to its dark fruit-dominated finish.