Pinot Blanc project
The bond between Mirabella and Pinot Bianco is made of trust, research, and experimentation spanning over forty years. Such a solid bond has led us to create the first 100% Pinot Blanc from Franciacorta, labeled Vino Spumante di Qualità, and to plant with conviction: new vineyards today Mirabella has the largest area of Pinot Blanc from Franciacorta, about 12 hectares out of a total of 88 of the Denomination.
It all began in 1981, two years after the foundation of Mirabella, when Teresio Schiavi decided to plant 5 hectares of Pinot Blanc in the vineyard that gives the winery its name, located in the village of Paderno Franciacorta.
The breeding system chosen was the Sylvotz, as in use at the time, at 3,300 plants per hectare.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were planted alongside, to complete one of the largest vineyards in Franciacorta, approximately 12 hectares, as well as one of the most evocative, on the hill recognizable by the profile of the Belvedere Tower built in 1843.
Pinot Blanc, young grape variety
Pinot Blanc is a variety with a recent evolutionary history that was born, like Pinot Grigio, from the bud mutation of Pinot Noir.
It has limited genetic variability, so much so that very few clones are registered.
Despite being an allochthonous variety, we can define it as traditional in Franciacorta due to its extensive use in the Denomination since its inception.
The historical label
In the early 80s Teresio Schiavi produced Franciacorta Pinot DOC “méthode champenoise”.
Pinot Blanc was prevalent in the blend, together with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris.
The deco-style label mentioned the first company headquarters in Paderno Franciacorta; the effigy of the goddess Demeter was already there.
A passionate winemaker
The years went by quickly, and the reputation of Franciacorta grew but not that of Pinot Blanc, an agronomically difficult variety with its dense bunch and thin skin, to which Chardonnay was increasingly preferred.
Nevertheless, Teresio Schiavi had developed an affection for that grape which showed unique qualities: he was in fact able to mediate the character of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir by bringing finesse to the cuvée.
The first Pinot Blanc from Franciacorta
Our founder placed great trust in that variety, which expressed the soul of the territory in an authentic way, without masks.
So in 2015, with the support of his sons Alessandro and Alberto, he bottled the first pure Pinot Blanc from Franciacorta, labeled Vino Spumante di Qualità.
The bottle, in a special edition, was presented four years later, during the company’s fortieth-anniversary celebration.
The feedback from wine lovers and critics convinced us to continue producing Pinot Blanc by including it in the Demetra line, limited edition bottles made with grapes from historic vineyards and totally without dosage, to enhance their truest essence.
The old vines today
Today Mirabella has the largest extension of Pinot Blanc vineyards in Franciacorta, about 12 hectares, or a quarter of the surface of its company vineyards.
The old vines, suitably cared for, continue to generate excellent grapes, with yields of around 60 quintals per hectare, and face the hot harvests in an unexpectedly positive way, thanks to the less water competition between the plants and the greater shading of the bunches due to their rich green foliage.
The advantages in the vine
Our devotion to Pinot Blanc has been repaid by its evident agronomic advantages: it is true that the compact bunch is more sensitive to botrytis and acid rot, but these are problems that global warming has minimized.
On the other hand, the plant is less sensitive to wood diseases, flavescence and black wood, and old plants show a very low percentage of failures.
Short vegetative cycle, preserved acidity
The shorter vegetative cycle of about a week and the earlier maturation compared to Chardonnay allow Pinot Blanc to maintain excellent levels of acidity even in hot years, which are now more and more frequent.
Furthermore, during vinification it shows great balance and in the cuvée it enlivens opulent Chardonnays while taming intemperate Pinot Noirs. For these reasons we wanted it as a primary feature in all the Mirabella cuvées, except Satèn, Elite and Demetra Pinot Noir.
The collection vineyard
To better understand its great potential, the green area adjacent to the cellar, four thousand square meters, has been home to a collection vineyard since 2022.
On the deep morainic soil, we planted 14 rows with 200 cuttings of the available clones: two German, two French, and three Rauscedo from Italy.
The breeding system is simple Guyot with K5BB rootstock, particularly resistant to water stress.
The Mirabella clone
Two rows are waiting to be planted with 200 rooted vines of the Mirabella clone.
We took some wood samples from the Mirabella vineyard and analyzed them with PCR tests to identify the presence of virosis. The totally healthy woods were grafted in February 2022 by our trusted nursery company, Padergnone Vivai Viticoli Cooperativi, which then raised 300 plants in its nursery.
In March 2023 we will proceed with the planting and we will continue to study the evolution in the field of the descendants of the old vineyards, destined to become “mothers” of future vineyards.
It fills us with hope to know that the historic vineyards will continue to live with mass selection, as this selection and propagation technique is called.
For us, Pinot Blanc is a new viticultural and enological frontier in Franciacorta.
We can therefore thank Teresio Schiavi for his counter-current decision that shaped Mirabella’s identity and future.