I was still in Italy when a dear friend of mine planned a visit together to the showroom of the winery ‘Ciu’ Ciu’ (pronounced as: ‘Choo Choo’) in the heart of the picturesque medieval town of Offida. I really enjoy relaxing over a good glass of wine and, when this happens, I’d rather drink organic wine.The winery, begun in 1970 by Natalino Bartolomei and his wife Anna, and continued today by sons Massimiliano and Walter, occupies 130 hectares of vineyards on which are grown a variety of organic grapes that all reflect the traditions and land of Le Marche. From these grapes the Bartolomei family produces a variety of white and red wines that embody the finest characteristics of southern Le Marche wines.
These grapes thrive on Walter’s organic vineyards, are protected by the Apennines to the west and by the gentle Adriatic sea breezes from the east, which help prevent disease.
The showroom is located in the ‘Piazza del Popolo’ and is very welcoming! It is open to anyone wishing to embark upon a tasteful experience such as this: the red and white organic wines are matched with samplings of savoury food from the local tradition, bringing out the best in them and offering an explosion of taste in perfect harmony.
A great deal of attention has been spent in the last decade to the pursuit of premium quality wines. For instance, one main tenet that has been consistent at Ciu Ciu is that fine wine is made in the vineyard, not in the cellar. You must start with quality grapes to make quality wine. What makes the popularity of these wines even more remarkable is the fact that there’s a range of red, white and sparkling wines, obtained without the aid of chemical fertilizers or herbicides. On that occasion, I also had the chance to find out about the option for a wine to be “cruelty free,” in other words: vegan. You may be surprised to learn that not all wine is vegan or even vegetarian.
To filter the wine prior to bottling, most winemakers use ingredients derived from animals such as egg whites, milk proteins (caseins) or gelatin from fish bladders or cow and pig hooves. These animal products help remove solid impurities like grape skins or yeast from the fermentation process and can adjust the wine’s tannin levels, resulting in a clearer, brighter and better-tasting wine. Fortunately for vegans and vegetarians, it is possible for winemakers to process their wine manually or using minerals like bentonite or kaolin.
The Ciu Ciu winery is one of the top 10 companies that have obtained the label “Vegetarian Vegan Quality” by Csqa-Valoritalia Group, responsible for the supervision of the certification.
Today the brothers Massimiliano and Walter, thanks to the passion and experience of their father Natalino, continue the job of vine-growing. Their genuine products harmonically embrace the most modern and state-of-the-art wine making techniques to enhance the quality of the wine and growing their popularity in both domestic and international markets. For this reason, a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to visit of the ‘Vino 2016’ show here in New York, where you can enjoy Italian wine tastes, among which the Ciu Ciu themselves!
“In the striking and charming Marche hills, time seems to stand stop to tell everyone the history and its origins. An ancient world where the past lives in the present and the solidity of its traditions blends with the strength of the innovations in the continuous search of quality. In this environment the farm Ciu’ Ciu’ matured its conviction that the wine must be the most authentic expression of the territory”
* The title of our post refers to the autobiographical account of the life of Natalino Bartolomei, the founder of the Ciu’Ciu’ winery in Offida.“Ciu’ Ciu’: a story of wine in Le Marche” is real life story, not a self-celebration: these pages trace the events of his family history, but also those of the birth and development of a company and, more generally, of the traditions of an entire area: the Piceno. This narrative tells about the personal and professional successes, and above all the hard sacrifices, while giving a valuable contribution to the reconstruction of the history of the culture of wine that has always characterized the economy and the identity of Le Marche.