Suspended between earth and sea, in an area with ancient winemaking traditions, is the winery Crespaia. The name recognizes the vineyards close proximity to the Adriatic Sea and the importance of the local rural traditions – “Cresp”, from increspatura, ripples, and “aia”, farmyard.
Located at the north of the Marche region in central Italy, on the green rolling hills of the province of Pesaro-Urbino, the vineyards are a part of the rich agricultural diversity of the area which offers a wide range of typical products and a spectrum of flavours, colours and smells. The traditional grape varieties of this area, selected and refined over millennia to match the cuisine and customs, are Bianchello and Sangiovese.
DOC Bianchello del Metauro is the production area for this white grape variety and encompasses the hills that flank the Metauro river which runs from the Apennine mountains out to the Adriatic Sea at the town of Fano. Meanwhile DOC Colli Pesaresi Sangiovese makes reference to the green hills, colli, of the province of Pesaro.
Crespaia is situated on a hill 150 m a.s.l. and 4.5 Km from the sea. The property is 13 Ha in total, 10 of which are vineyards, 2/3 white & 1/3 red, and a hectare of olive grove which is included in the olive oil DOP of Cartoceto. The soil is a free draining calcareous sandstone, known locally as “tufo”. This type of soil helps to produce elegant mineral wines and preserves acidity and freshness.
The winery is located in the middle of the vineyards, allowing for the best viticultural management all year round and reducing to a minimum the time required to transport the grapes to the winery during the harvest. Grapes are hand harvested and carefully selected.
The exposure of the vineyards hugs an arch of 180° from south to north. Half of the vineyards of Bianchello are facing north, and half south, ensuring that in both extremely hot or cold seasons we are able to achieve optimum results. The vineyard of Sangiovese is in middle of the estate on the SW facing slope of the hill, allowing it to have maximum sun during the day.
Under the ancient church of Prelato, Crespaia is scrupulously careful to treasure the land, traditions and rich history of the area. Since ancient times excellent wines have been produced here and legend has it that the wine produced in the Metauro valley helped save ancient Rome and the Western world from quite a different fate.
In 207 BC one of historys most important battles took place on the banks of the Metauro river, when the Roman consul Nero out maneuvered the invading Carthaginians and managed to defect Hasdrubals army, hence preventing it from uniting with his brother Hannibals army, which would have inevitably resulted in the downfall of Rome. Stories recount that Hasdrubals troops were too tired to fight after a night of revelry enjoying the good wine of the area. The defeat saved Rome and civilization as we know it.
Coming to more recent times, at the end of the 18th century, the hill where Crespaia is was bought by a nobleman Castruccio Castracane, with the honorary title of Prelato, he founded a religious order associated to the Knights of Malta. He built a basilica, now in the middle of our vineyards, and a large villa for himself and the priests of the order. Unfortunately, the Prelato fell out of favour quickly and all its assets passed to the local Church.
In front of Crespaia is the hermitage called Monte Giove of the Camaldolese Monks built in 1629. The monastery is in perfect condition and is still inhabited by monks and used for seminars and conferences on religious and philosophical themes. The homes of the hermits can be visited to understand how life was for those brothers who dedicated their lives to prayer without speaking to anyone.
The whole hill of Prelato and Crespaia is within a nature reserve where there is a ban on hunting, and we are fortunate to share the habitat with a variety of animals and birds that can breed safely, creating a very charming setting.
At Crespaia we endeavor to use a type of agricultural management that respects the ecosystem and helps to promote the biodiversity of the environment. We have excluded the use of synthetic products and we use natural techniques to maintain soil health and fertility. Our grapes and our wines are completely organic.