Cantina Errante considers a brewery not as a machine, as it is commonly understood, but as a living organism. A machine has an input and an output, just fill it with raw materials and you get finished beer, quickly, always and everywhere the same. An organism, on the other hand, is a living being that maintains relationships with its surroundings, and these relationships have a double direction. What is outside changes the inside of the organism, which in turn changes the outside, in a process of continuous exchange and evolution.
Cantina Errante thus explores the complex system that is formed by the interaction between the brewery and its surroundings.
Nothing is given forever, precisely because of these continuous changes between inside and outside. The creative process, however, gives life to something that expresses the state of the organism and its environment at a given moment: it marks a track, identifies spatial coordinates, latitude and longitude, a "you are here" on the map. As in a famous poem, the path is not given, but takes shape one step after another, behind the back of the walker. The footprints left by the walker are the path itself.
The beers of Cantina Errante represent the footprints of our journey of exploration of the surroundings.
KNOW YOUR UMWELT!::::!
HOW WE WORK
You cannot have complex interactions unless you leave free expression to the real protagonists of fermentations: the populations of microorganisms. For this we make spontaneous fermentations and we do not use selected yeasts, sour pitch or bacteria / brett / wild yeast inoculums.
ORGANIC OR BIODYNAMIC
FROM LOCAL SHORT CHAIN .
We collaborate with a short supply chain of small local producers and custodian farmers, who dedicate their heroic daily battles to the Earth and to preserving its richness and biodiversity. Like them, we believe that happier plants can bear better fruit.
FRESH FRUIT AND
DIRECTLY FROM THE EARTH .
We only use fresh fruit and heirloom varieties. So no semi-finished, frozen, purees, extracts, syrups, oils or various flavourings. We make small productions characterized by seasonality and by the availability of the moment, when they can be made, and in the quantity decided by the vintage.
LOCAL WINERIES .
Our cellar is made up of barriques, tonneaux and casks which have contained Tuscan wines. The areas of origin are Bolgheri, the Chianti Classico, Montalcino and San Gimignano.
EASY TO DRINK BEERS .
We make the beers we like to drink: balanced and elegant. Spontaneous fermentation allows us to make complex beers with character, but also sour and dry, which helps the immediacy of drinking, which in our opinion is essential. The beers are released after 6 to 12 months of bottle ageing, that is the time needed for all the organoleptic components to balance in a round profile.
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.
In short:at the end of boiling, the wort is transferred to an open tank outside the brewery, where it spends a night to cool down and collect the microorganisms that live in the air around the brewery. The next day we transfer the cold wort into empty wooden barrels and here, hopefully, spontaneous fermentation takes place over a period of a few months. This is followed by maturation in barrels for 1 to 3 years.
The method par excellence, the one that makes the spontaneous fermentation of beers a magical, perhaps mystical process, is also the one that best survived the devastation wrought in the 1800s by the contemporary advent of steel, microscope and steam, i.e. the tremendous advent of industrial beers. This survival is due to the courage, foresight and love of tradition of a few Belgian brewers. When making lambic wasn't yet hype, these brewers still used a long and laborious cooking process (the turbid mash), chilled the wort in a shallow open tank (the coolship) in the cold winter air, hoping in a long and slow spontaneous fermentation in casks and letting time slowly allow these rustic and hardy beers to become beverages of extraordinary beauty and complexity.
And so we too, wanting to make certain spontaneously fermented beers, got ourselves some open tanks, developed our turbid mash, filled our cellar with barrels, and crossed our fingers.
Today spontaneous fermentation is synonymous with lambic, all over the world. We often struggle to explain that our beers are only partially obtained with this method. Because the method has a profound effect on the result, when it comes to spontaneous fermentations. And so our coolship beers resemble lambics, while perpetuals and hybrids are something very different and that has no traditional counterpart.
In short:a spontaneous co-fermentation of a hybrid wort is carried out, composed of cereals and other ingredients, such as fruit, honey or herbs. The co-fermentation takes place thanks to the populations of microorganisms that naturally live on the surface of the added ingredients.
The co-fermentation of mixed musts is the process through which hybrids are obtained, i.e. fermented drinks with a third flavor compared to the starting musts.
According to Italian law, however, it is beer, because most of the sugars are from malted barley and other cereals and because there is hops.
Co-fermentation requires that the extra ingredients, compared to grains, be fresh and vital. And that is that they carry a microflora capable of fermenting all the sugars present in the mixed must. For this reason, co-fermentations can only be made with untreated fruit, unfiltered honey or wild herbs.
Hybrids are spontaneous fermentations that almost never resemble Belgian lambics. Instead, they are the expression of the interaction of the basic ingredients, with often surprising results, which represent a challenge to the need to categorize beers into codified styles that many drinkers and experts have.
In short: we take a portion of fermented beer from a barrel for packaging and we top up with fresh wort from coolships. The spontaneous fermentation restarts with sugars and fresh microorganisms that integrate with the resident population.
Perpetual is a fermentation + aging + blend system that we really like and that we are developing on many different experimental lines. To develop this method we took inspiration from the pre-British wines of Marsala, the so-called perpetuum, e at Giulio Gambelli's work in Tuscany.
If few have heard of perpetuum, many know the soleras y criaderas system which in Andalusia has been brought to its maximum expression by the bodegas of the Jerez-Sherry triangle. The Sicilian perpetuum is, simplifying, a solera method that takes place in a single barrel.
In the solera, a part of the 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 come across soleras that also contain 150 successive vintages. The beauty is that all the vintages, even the oldest, are still present in that barrel, albeit in homeopathic percentages.
When it reaches the solera, the wine has already carried out all the fermentation. In our Perpetual, on the other hand, all the fermentative activity takes place, thanks to the resident population of spontaneous microorganisms, which is kept alive thanks to the continuous additions of new beer. It maintains itself and mutates, because there are so many species of wild yeasts and bacteria in competition.
Through the perpetual, spontaneous fermentations are obtained that are very different from lambic, fresher and less rustic, reminiscent of farmhouse ales or oud bruin. However, the latter are beers obtained with selected yeasts and reproduced in the laboratory, they are not spontaneous fermentations like ours.
We have light perpetuals (KA) and amber perpetuals (BRUIN), both in steel and in wood.
in short: this category hosts all our productions that do not fall into the coolship, perpetual or hybrids categories.
We have created the Outsiders category to welcome our most experimental productions, with new ingredients or obtained from processes not attributable to the other categories.
Here we find our spontaneously fermented ancient apple ciders, the blends between spontaneous beers and beers with selected yeasts, such as the Saison de Coupage, or the grisette and the Nonsidro, i.e. those beers fermented on the mother of yeasts and bacteria left in the barrel from a previous spontaneous fermentation.
Often these are also very small production lots, sometimes of a single barrique or even less.