A young and energetic winemaker. He is proud of his ‘new breed’ of Trebbiano and Montepulciano, giving hints of a very bright future ahead. Nic was born in a family of winemakers, and he would have been following his own path, but the call of destiny arrived and he was the only one that could save a year's work and effort in his fathers vineyard during a hard time. He decided to drop everything and help his family produce the vintage. After that first, heroic vintage, he devoted himself to Abruzzo representative varietals, while exploring small batches of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
"Scultori del vino, complici della natura – Wine sculptors, with nature’s blessing.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your winery?
I’ve always been around wine: even if my family business was selling grapes to other wineries. My grandparents and my dad always made wine for ourselves and for our closest friends. Many friends told my father to open a winery and even though it was his dream, he never did.
He had a friend, Loriano di Sabatino, who later became an oenologist and had an important role in our story. When I was young, I was too hard-headed to listen to his advice and never took the responsibility to start my own winery.
The switch flipped in 2012: we were at the beginning of the harvest and as usual I was helping out with it: my father felt ill and so he told me that I had to take care of everything, from selling the grapes to making some wine, if I was up to it. Luckily everything went smoothly.
The real surprise came the next year, when friends tried the wines I made and told me they were much better than the wines my father made. That really made me serious about pursuing the dream and opening the winery.
So in 2015 my winery Nic Tartaglia was born (my real name is Nicola…). Right now I can count on my father and my mother who help in the farm, and the great and precious help of Loriano as chief oenologist, as well as our incredible team.
How do you normally enjoy drinking wine?
I usually drink wine with my clients, of course not only mine: it’s always good to taste different products from our own. When I drink wine outside of work it is with my friends, at my house, at their houses and in restaurants. I never drink alone: wine is something that must be enjoyed together with people we like and love. The setting doesn’t matter, with whom is everything for me.
Where is your winery located and what are the unique features of wines from your geographical location?
My winery is on the hills of Pescara province in Abruzzo, Italy. We are around 310-315 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountains. The special thing about where I live? Within a half hour drive I can have a swim in the sea or go on the mountains to ski.
My fields are actually blessed by heaven: we’ve got an amazing soil made mostly of clay and limestone (we’ve got some sand and silt too). The area is always windy, during the night and early morning from the mountains and the rest of the day from the sea, this helps against fungi and illness because it dries the humidity.
During the winter it snows (another help against vine illness) and spring frost isn't an issue usually. We get enough rain all year long. During the summer there is a strong temperature gap between night and day (around 15-20°C), that really helps the grapes to mature even better.
The specific area where our vineyards lie is called Casauria, and together with the Valle Peligna and Ofena areas, we are supposedly in the cradle of Montepulciano. My family has owned the farm from my great great granddad so I’m just lucky he decided to buy it here. I wouldn’t exchange with any other area in Abruzzo or even other regions of Italy. My roots are here and my grapes make me proud every year, but only if Mother Nature agrees….I'm no one without her!
How does local history and culture influence your lifestyle and winemaking?
My area has always been suited for winemaking, but since the Romans (there is proof of settlements) we have taken some steps forward. My grandparents used to make wine mixed with vino cotto (cooked wine) because it helped to preserve the wine longer and better, but today we are way past that. Winemaking is a nonstop journey between generations and time, so even if I can’t be more precise and I can’t actually tell how the past has influenced me, it’s something that resides in me and it’s going to come out without notice at any given time.
What is your best memory of winemaking, so far?
I’d say the expressions of the people after they tasted my wines, especially the one produced with international grapes (chardonnay, cabernet, etc). They are always sceptical at first (“An abruzzese cabernet? Don’t waste my time!”) but once they taste them they are totally speechless. I’m proud of my children!
Can you tell us about the first wine you ever made?
I actually can’t remember the first time I helped out making wine: I was probably a child, even if it was more a game for me than really giving a hand to my grandparents and my father. The first time I really made wine would be in my late teens (around 16-17 years old).
Tell us what wine represents for you?
Wine (and my job of course) is something that makes my life full: friends, nature, and the many new people that I meet. It’s an amazing and strong link which connects me with life itself.
There is a romantic side of my job: I’m an artisan and as one, I always try to make the best product I can. How many shots have I got in my life to make great wine? The first time on my own I was 29 years old and if I live a long and healthy life I can probably make wine until I’m 90-95. So there are really not so many opportunities if you think about it: I’ve got only one shot per year, and of course I have to work with what Nature grants. Any other kind of artisan can discard what he doesn’t like and start again, as winemakers we can’t. That’s why it’s so essential to pass our knowledge to the next generation, so they don’t start from scratch and those 60-70 chances in a lifetime can grow exponentially.
What do you think about the future of sustainable winemaking?
I think that what we can do is to be always open minded about new roads and technology that can help us preserve Nature better, without forgetting the lessons from the pasts as our ancestors knew more than we realise and had a better tune with the environment.