Du Lot Collection 2018: a Soave Classico for fine-wines collectors

An important chapter in the history of Inama, which started in 1996, came to an end with the 2018 vintage of our popular wine “Vigneto Du Lot”, which sold out in the spring. However, during the 2018 harvest, we experimented with something completely new.

The weather that year provided ideal conditions for a great vintage, encouraging us to follow a new path: why not make a selection of the very best grapes? Early in the morning, with great care and patience, we searched for those perfect Garganega bunches in our vineyards and, one by one, like little gold nuggets, we selected, picked, and vinified them separately. The free – run juice they produced
immediately revealed a complexity and aromatic intensity we had never encountered previously. Following the style of Du Lot, we fermented in barriques, including a small proportion of new oak, then left the wine on its lees for 6 months, with bâtonnage every 3 weeks. A further 6 months’ maturation in stainless steel was followed by bottling. We used a bottle with a distinctive shape, as well as top-quality corks, selected and carefully controlled one by one. A commemorative label and individual carton for each bottle, in Inama’s typical neoclassical style, give added value to our project.

We are therefore now launching the 2018 Du Lot Collection, a small parcel of 3,239 bottles and 240 magnums, the maximum expression of our Soave Classico Du Lot.

The wine will be available from October 1st.

Du Lot: long life to a Soave Classico that has made history

Long life to our Du Lot. After a distinguished career of 22 years, the story of this iconic wine, with its maverick style for Soave Classico, is coming to an end. The 2018 vintage will in fact be the last to be produced. It will be the end of an era, but will also foreshadow some new developments.


During the 1990s, Stefano Inama asserted his vision of Soave Classico in a refined, nonconformist manner, and right from the start it was clear that experimentation would be his driving force. The reputation of Soave at that time was at an all-time low, but Stefano dreamt of restoring dignity to this region, seeking purity and concentration of aromas in his wines.


Du Lot was a revolutionary wine, which redrew the boundaries of Soave Classico by toying with the style that was typical in that period: it was the golden age of big, barrique-aged wines, and the challenge for Stefano was to show the world that a Soave could reach the heights of the great wines of Burgundy or California.

The experimental vineyard on “Rupestris Du Lot” rootstock, which had the characteristic of limiting the vigor of the vines and reducing the quantity of grapes they produced, was the testbed for demonstrating to everyone that Soave, too, could attain great intensity and structure.


This plot of vines on Mount Foscarino was able to produce extremely concentrated grapes, with great complexity. Exuberant, rich, and full-bodied, “Vigneto Du Lot” was a modern Soave, which charmed drinkers with its combination of power and elegance.


Over the years, “Vigneto Du Lot” has maintained its fame, whilst continuing to evolve: the use of wood has been gradually reduced in order to leave greater room for the fruit to express itself. Finally, the vineyard was grubbed up at the end of the 2017 vintage.

In 2018 Du Lot was produced from grapes grown in an adjacent vineyard with a similar exposition, and this gave us cause to ponder on what the future of this wine would be.

The 2018 Du Lot will represent the end of an important chapter in our history and in the history of this region, in which experimentation has allowed us to continually reinvent ourselves. 


We have always chosen to pursue our perception of wine and our vision of our region rather than following the market, and once again we feel convinced about our decision to bring to an end a project that still has a great many supporters, but which we no longer find entirely congenial. The 2018 Du Lot will be the last vintage we produce. If you taste it attentively, it will be clear to those who know us that it is a different wine compared to those of the past: it is a wine that looks forward towards the future. Anyway, we have come to the conclusion that the time has come to abandon that name which no longer represents our project and, instead, embrace another one, which is the result of our progress in precision viticulture and in vinification that respects the natural purity of the fruit.


From the 2019 vintage onwards, Du Lot will step aside, leaving room for a new wine, a Soave Classico that will offer a completely different interpretation and which will be presented on 2nd June 2021. 

Italian Carmenere

Carmenere is a variety that is often considered unique to Chile. However, few people know that Carmenere has been widely planted in Italy for a long time, and that in 2009 the DOC Carmenere Colli Berici (in the province of Vicenza) was recognized. It is in fact in the beautiful hills of this region that the Carmenere grape variety has found the ideal place in which to reach full ripeness. This allows Carmenere to develop its most precious aromas, including spices and black pepper, overcoming notes of green pepper that are often considered typical of this variety (especially in Chile). Once again, the Italian territory is able to surprise, offering ideal conditions for growing Carmenere in the Berici Hills.

But how did Carmenere arrive in northeastern Italy?

Carmenere has a fascinating, original history.

It’s a vine that originated on the Dalmation Coast and spread throughout the Roman Empire in ancient times. This variety was grown especially in the Bordeaux region, and was long used in the typical blends of the area. However, due to its low productivity and difficulty of reaching full maturity (especially in an Atlantic climate like that of Bordeaux), Carmenere was not replanted after the phylloxera epidemic that struck Europe around the middle of the nineteenth century. This grape was considered extinct for a long time, until, only in 1994, DNA testing confirmed the opposite. It was discovered that Carmenere had traveled across the world, hiding in history. To the great surprise of scholars and growers, this vine was found widespread in Chile (where it had been confused with Merlot) and in the north-eastern regions of Italy.

In the second half of the 19th century, Carmenere was probably brought to the Italian area by travelers (there were in fact many who went to France for the harvest season). It was identified in some places under the name of Black Bordeaux or Old Cabernet and often mistaken for a degenerated and weaker form of Cabernet Franc. As a result, in the Veneto and Friuli regions, where it is quite common, this variety became for ampelographs, scholars and growers the prototype of the Cabernet Franc. At the time, in fact, the diversities between Carmenere and Cabernet Franc  were attributed to variations in clones and, for propagation purposes, they were divided (incorrectly) into a French-type Cabernet Franc and an Italian-type Cabernet Franc, which would later prove to be Carmenere. But what distinguished Carmenere from Cabernet was its larger and sparser clusters, growth, low fertility, aroma and more intense color of its grapes (Ampélographie Universelle by P. Odart, 1849).

During the 1960s, Prof. Antonio Calò and Prof. Carmine Liuni studied what was known as Cabernet Franc in the Veneto region, comparing it with imported French  collections of Cabernet Franc cultivated in that country and the differences between the two varieties began to emerge. It was the ampelographic studies and, above all, modern chemical analysis of the grapes and wine performed between 1988 and 1991 at the Istituto Sperimentale di Viticoltura in Susegana by professors Calò, Di Stefano and Costacurta, that brought to light enough diversities as to lead to the belief that the French and Italian clones were probably two different varieties. Confirmation of this discovery came with the entry of Carmenere into the register of vine varieties, resolving any doubts and opening the way for this new wine of which northeast Italy is now the cradle of its cultivation.

The idea of producing a great and unique red wine, typical of the Berici Hills, made from a selection of Carmenere grapes, came to mind when we first saw the area around the old Oratorio di San Lorenzo at San Germano dei Berici (province of Vicenza). This was back in 2001. It is a small valley, probably of Karst origin, halfway up the hills on the right-hand side of Val Liona. Actually, in our opinion, it is exactly here, on the Berici Hills just south of Vicenza, geologically formed by an ancient bradyseism, that Carmenere has found its ideal area.

The territory seems to have been shaped to help this so difficult grape to ripen. The earth is red, rich in iron oxide and on calcareous stone. The climate is milder than the surrounding areas. The vineyard Oratorio di San Lorenzo, in the village of Villa del Ferro  – lat. = 45.392488 long. = 11.461403 -, is marked to the west by a steep woody hill that feeds it with red silt washed down by the rain. In the Summer, the area is extremely hot during the day but cool in the evening because of the air that comes down from the wood to the vineyard.

Particularly, in 2009, it officially became one of the Colli Berici Doc wines with the very first label INAMA ORATORIO DI SAN LORENZO DOC COLLI BERICI CARMENERE  RISERVA.

We believe that a new era for Carmenere has begun.

Nature and Wine

Nature expresses itself spontaneously in the biodiversity of the forest as well as the jungle: these are complex systems in which a great variety of plants and insects are competing, and sometimes collaborating, for life. The taste of the fruit that grows within this type of environment is always more expressive, more exciting, more intense.
The terroir, defined as the set of elements that strongly characterizes a wine, is composed by a series of factors. The first and most important, is hidden below our feet in the soil. The second factor is certainly the climate: the way in which sun, rain and wind mark differences between the various years. The third is the contribution of the winemaker, who upon interpreting the two previous factors, pursues his ambition to create a great wine (see improvement link).

The ability to observe nature and to understand it in its deepest essence lies primarily in the acceptance of the fact that life itself is born and develops in the subsoil. The quality of the clays is important, but in nature, it is the complexity and mix of these clays that makes the difference.
In a great terroir, the roots go deep and lead to wines that explore the vertical complexity of the terrain. Organic viticulture, in addition
to ancient processing and hoeing, favor this wonderful process.
Stephane Derenoncourt surmises that, “a wine’s taste comes directly from the soil, the sub-soil, from a slope, the orientation of the land, a certain climate. and from all the subtle differences a piece of land possesses.”

Accordingly, we conduct careful analysis and partition of the vineyards according to the characteristics of the soils, and we study the different needs of those sectors.
The goal is to have decompacted, structured and balanced soil. These are soils that maintain their original characteristics, and ultimately, might provide the optimal conditions for the work of microorganisms and microflora therein.
Cultivating the vine means firstly understanding its nature, supporting its development, ensuring its vitality and longevity. On one side, there is the wild vigor of the plant, a liana that strenuously devotes itself to survival and reproduction. On the other hand there is the careful hand of the winemaker, who must know how to take this primitive instinct and bring it to excellence: interpreting the characteristics of the soil, the land and the variety, and working with passion and a maniacal attention to detail.

It is the sensitivity of the winemaker who, upon working together with the natural world in which the vines reside, along with his passion and maniacal care for detail, that enable to craft of wine-making — that process by which nature is enhanced into wine, an “art” since ancient times.

Variety vs Territory

Everybody identifies the majority of the wines with the name of the variety they are produced with: “Could I have a glass of Chardonnay please? I’ll have the Cabernet Sauvignon”: commonplace chat from two friends in a wine bar.
At most, they add the name of the producer to the variety. But all too often, we do not know what to expect if we do not know the region where that particular producer owns his vineyards.
In most cases, the interest of the consumer stops here, since only those who are passionate go further, trying to know more and understand where a wine comes from.
What could help are the appellations and/or the names of the places where wine has been produced for a long time.
Where a specific region is producing wine since time immemorial, and the interest in this was preserved along the centuries, the name attributed was linked to regions, not to variety: Soave, Chianti,, Valpolicella, Barolo, etc.
Furthermore, when that specific area has been producing wine since ancient times (e.g. Roman times), that wine became Classico: Soave Classico, Chianti Classico etc.
With these wines, the variety is not mentioned, as it is the territory that determines the characteristics of the wine.
Unfortunately, this key point is lost on the majority of the consumers.
Curiosity arises when the label doesn’t show the variety: what’s the grape for the Soave Classico? This wine, produced since the Roman times, mainly maintained the original variety: the Garganega grape.
Other Classico wines though have changed their compositional varieties over centuries. Why? Probably because the original varieties were not giving the best results in that territory, thus others were introduced.
This fact shows that the producers cared more about the expression of territory on the wine, rather than the grape variety.
This concept is extremely important but still not clear today.
The concept of territory/typicality/uniqueness of a wine is by far the most meritable and important concept: the one that differentiates the wine from all the other beverages. The distinctive flavour derives from the land where some specific varieties adapted, modifying their original compositional characteristics.
So, in such cases, the varieties are the “bricks” with which we build. The territory (and to a degree, human input) is the architect that designs the “wine-palace”. The more this becomes sumptuous, complex and unique, the more we can be certain of the role played by a region’s unique territory.
The typical notes of the variety disappear, giving way to a distinctive, elegant and unique richness: M.me De Pompadour, wrote in one of her aphorisms: “I like Romanée-Conti since it doesn’t taste of Pinot Noir”.
If there is no territory, the wine has a “varietal” flavour, which we have to consider as its “basic” flavour. The wine thus expresses the primary notes that come from the compositional variety. But it doesn’t go further than that and can be banal, ordinary or just predictable.
M.me de Pompadour even abhorred the varietal character of the Burgundy Pinot Noir…