- how we work
Cantina Errante explores the complex and changing relationship between the brewery and its surroundings. The concept of self-environment, or Umwelt, is different from that of terroir. It focuses on the relationships that are established between a living being and its environment. What is outside changes what is inside, which in turn changes the outside. It is a process of continuous mutual exchange and evolution.
Nothing is given forever, precisely because of these continuous exchanges between inside and outside. The creative process, however, makes possible to express the state of the organism and its environment at a given moment: it marks a trace, identifies spatial coordinates, latitude and longitude, a "you are here" point on the map. As in a famous poem, the path is not given, but is formed one step after another, behind the shoulders of the walker. The footprints left by the walker are the path itself.
Cantina Errante's beers represent the footprints of our journey of exploration of the surroundings.
Our Umwelt is made of raw materials, from the most typical of the beer production process, such as organic Italian barley malt and ancient organic Tuscan grains, and of less typical materials, such as seasonal fruit, herbs, fresh wild flowers. It is made of oak barrels that previously cointened Chianti Classico and Bolgheri wines. It is made of local terracotta jars of Impruneta and the experience of those who build them by hand. It is made by yeasts and bacteria, present in the air that surrounds us, which work on spontaneously fermented worts.
But our Umwelt is much more: it is mainly made up of people. With their wealth of stories, history, experiences, suggestions and dreams, people are the most important relationships we have. Those that have the greatest influence on the final result. The people who intervene in our Cantina Errante are those who work here: Stefano, Andrea and Angelo. But also many other people, from the outside, who provide us with extraordinary raw materials: ancient varieties of fruit, almost extinct, or ancient varieties of wheat. Each of these people has his/her own motivation, a mission and a creed, which often give require a daily, heroic battle, an epic that we like to share and support.
:::!KNOW YOUR UMWELT!
how we work
THE RAW MATERIALS ARE ,
ORGANIC OR BIODYNAMIC AND FROM THE LOCAL SHORT SUPPLY CHAIN .
Cantina Errante is the expression of a short supply chain, made up of small local farmers, who dedicate their heroic daily battles to the Earth and to preserve its richness and biodiversity. They believe that happier plants can bear better fruit. We believe that from those fruits it is possible to draw beers with personality and complexity.
The barley malt is organic and comes from the Val d'Arbia, south of Siena, where it is cultivated and malted by our friend Francesco. The unmalted soft wheat is organic and comes from a population of over 2000 ancient varieties grown on the same field by our friend Sara in the Province of Siena. We pick the fruits of ancient varieties in the orchards of Ernesto, Leonardo and Aldo, who are local custodian farmers, the grapes from Alessandro, Robin and Simone, great biodynamic winemakers of the area. The wild herbs are collected directly by our brewers, in the woods near the brewery.
THE FRUITS ARE FRESH AND RIPE
AND THE WILD HERBS ARE FORAGED BY US
We only use fresh fruit (so no frozen, purees, extracts, syrups, oils or various aromas) and ancient varieties. When the fruit is ripe at the right point, we run to pick it up and process it immediately. The proximity of the farms, both geographic and metaphorical - because they share the spirit of our project - is the essential element for the success of the beers.
We make small productions characterized by seasonality and the availability of the moment. When (unfortunately) a beers runs out, we wait for the following year, without looking for shortcuts.
THE BARRELS AND THE JARS ARE OF LOCAL ORIGIN .
Currently our cellar is made up of barrels that previously contained Supertuscans wines from Bolgheri, Chianti Classico wines and Montalcino's wines.
PITCH LESS! .
We do not use sour pitch or bacteria / brett / wild yeast inoculations
Our wild fermentations are made possible by the populations of bacteria and yeasts that are naturally living on cereals, fruits, herbs or in barrels
BALANCED AND DRINKABLE BEERS .
We try to make the beers that we like to drink, thus easy to drink and with all the elements in equilibruim, even if we use fruits or if they have a high alcohol content. When we use fruits or herbs, in particular, we always try to treat them as ingredients like the others, that is, as elements that interact with all the complexity of the base beer, without overwhelming it.
EVOLUTIONARY POPULATIONS ,
Our unmalted wheat comes from a field where Sara sows about 2000 different varieties of organic soft wheat. In addition to being characterized by a great biodiversity, this cultivation requires fewer inputs and less human interventions, because it is more resistant, resilient and adaptable to the environmental conditions of the season. It is the field itself that selects the varieties that are best suited to the current year, while the rest remain dormant and available. From year to year, then, a smaller set of varieties is naturally created which respond well to each vintage, and which over time will become the characteristic and indigenous set of Sara's field.
Populations are a fundamental step for the Cantina Errante project. We want to bring the glass closer to the field, that is, to make beers that are an expression of unique raw materials, because in turn they are the expression of a certain precise place and certain precise seasonal environmental conditions.
Thus in 2021 we also started up a project, together with Rete Semi Rurali (Rural Seeds Network) and some farmers, to test and propagate an evolutionary population of barley. Our goal is to make barley malt out of it and to brew a 100% population beer: soft wheat, barley malt and a population of spontaneous microorganisms.
THE PERPETUA .
La perpetua is an aging + blending system that we really like and that we are developing on many different experimental lines. The principle of perpetua is a simplification of the soleras y criaderas system which in Andalusia has been brought to its maximum expression by the bodegas of the Jerez-Sherry triangle. In the solera, a part of old wine is extracted, to be packaged, and its place is taken by the same quantity of young wine. This process can potentially be repeated indefinitely, so much so that it happens to meet soleras that contains up to 150 subsequent vintages. The most magical part of this process is that all the vintages, even the oldest, are still present in that barrel, albeit in "homeopathic" percentages.
But there is a substantial difference between the Sherry production process and our perpetuas. When it reaches the solera, the wine (at this point called Fino or Manzanilla) has already carried out all the microbiological activity, in a previous phase that lasts from 3 to 5 years, "bajo velo de flor", ie under a thick layer of biofilm, which protects it from oxygen. When the bodeguero decides that the time has come, the flor is broken and the wine is transferred to the solera, which has the function of oxidizing the Fino and transforming it into Oloroso, thanks to the slow action of oxygen.
In our perpetua, instead, the beer undergoes a profound microbiological transformation, thanks to the population of spontaneous microorganisms residing in the wood, which are kept alive thanks to the continuous contributions of new beers. It keeps and changes, because there are so many species of wild yeasts and bacteria in competition.
Thanks to them, the beer develops sourness, develops a range of new aromas and flavors and acquires dryness, since the residual sugar, not eaten by the yeast in the first fermentation, is available for other wild yeasts and bacteria.
THE BICCHIERINO'S STYLE GOVERNMENT .
It is a method for governing the worts that is inspired by the Tuscan Style Government (Governo all'uso toscano), used by winemakers from all over the Chianti in past centuries and one of the trump cards of the legendary Giulio Gambelli, called Biccherino. Up and down these hills, aboard his Renault 4, in the 1960s Bicchierino was the creator of the most important Sangiovese wines of this area, from Montalcino to Chianti Classico.
This method keeps in activity the populations of yeasts and bacteria that are present in ripening worts, generating transformations of molecules that have an impact on taste. In this way, greater complexity and more gustatory levels are obtained.
THE SUPER SANTOS METHOD .
It is an ancient and natural method to carry out the acidification of worts prior to boiling. The conditions of temperature and pH are created so that the populations of lactic bacteria, that are spontaneously present on the cereals, acidify the wort down to the desired level. This process usually takes 48 hours.
Compared to the use of a sour pitch, i.e. bacteria selected and reproduced in the laboratory, this method is more risky, because it does not lead to certain and always identical results, but allows for greater complexity.