Casaraia, Tuscany, Wine, Oil, Italy

            OLIVE OIL            The ESTATE            CONTACT            LINKS

Bound by a philosophy that is respectful of the land, Azienda Agricola Casa Raia adheres strictly to the principles of organic production.

Casa Raia
sits on a promontory beneath the famed medieval town of Montalcino. The estate once belonged to the patriarchal family of Brunello di Montalcino the Biond Santi. This soil saw the first roots of the San Giovese vine labouring through inhospitable rock over a century ago. In 1997 the then abandoned farm house was lovingly restored and named Casa Raia after the matriarch of the new family, Raissa Temertey.

Vintners Pierre Jean Monnoyer and his wife Kalyna have restored the vineyards with unyielding respect for the land that so generously nurtures us. Espousing a philosophy that is best described as "the vine determines the wine" they are producing natural wines that are an expression of their deep commitment to the uncompromising production of authentic, quality wines.

The wine production area of Montalcino is delimited by the valleys of the Orcia, Asso and Ombrone rivers. Its shape is almost circular with a diameter of 16 Km and a surface of 24,000 hectares.

The Terroir is rich in rock fragments with the active layer formed by the erosion of the local rocks, particularly marl and dendrite.

The Micro Climate, though typically Mediterranean, our micro-climate is due to the different orientations of our slopes and modulation of the surrounding hills, with rainfalls concentrated in the spring and late autumn months (annual average 700 mm.) The proximity of Monte Amiata (altitude 1740 m.) to the Southeast provides a natural protection against exceptionally intense events such as cloudbursts or hail. Perched on its own promontory our estate is not affected by late mists, or frosts which can take place in the valleys. Winds and breezes blowing from all four directions guarantee the best conditions in all seasons. During the entire vegetative phase of the vine the weather is mainly hot with mostly sunny days, ensuring a gradual and complete ripening of the clusters.

In the vineyard, Our goal is to maintain the biodiversity and natural balance of our 30 year old vineyards therefore In the fall the soil is worked gently and seeded with a variety of organic plants and flowers providing natural nutrients to the soil. No pesticides or herbicides are used on the entire estate.
We prune our vines following the cycles of the moon, pruning continuously for fourteen days as the moon is on its descending path. The pruning method of the vines is the cordon spur, 4 spurs per trunk, and double cordon, 6 spurs per trunk, obtained by short pruning (2 buds). We cultivate and harvest by hand taking care not to damage grapes before they get to the cellar. Each bunch is carefully inspected and cleaned before it goes into the destemmer.

In the cantina the use of a destemmer as opposed to a crusher, results in the grapes gently falling by gravity into a 30hl french oak barrel. The juices soak for a few days before natural fermentation begins...extracting color, flavor and tannins from the skins. Once fermentation begins, the cap is monitored daily and kept wet by a process of 3 remontage and delestage a day. The wine is basket pressed offering a longer pathway for the juice to travel through the compact pomace cake which serves as a filter for solids that can otherwise affect the quality of the wine.

The wine is then transffered to aged French oak barrels (Taransaud) in an underground cantina where the exchange of humidity is achieved through floor openings under the barrels. The following spring the wines undergo natural malolactic fermentation, decreasing the acid in the wine. As natural evaporation occurs the barrels are topped up and the aging process is monitored diligently. The barrels are not disturbed for another 4 years allowing a natural settling to occur without filtration. Blends from the different barrels are assembled according to our own specifications and then bottled on the premises.

Our wood Barrels are Oak, a unique wood, hard, impermeable, and rich in noble aromas and delicate flavors. We use the highest quality French oak wood from Taransaud. The trees, sustainably managed by the government, are cut down when they are about 150 years plus.

Cork, the noble oak's bark is naturally biodegradable thus it is destined to be the irreplaceable partner of wine.
When bottling we use natural cork , from Bourrassé, a french company that is dedicated to sustainability and respect for the environment.