For over 15 years, we’ve been traveling Italy’s backroads to create a portfolio of terroir-driven wines that get us excited, from groovy daily-drinkers to fine and natural wines. We only work with growers, and import only wines that that continue to be soulful and delicious for us.
Italy is a peninsula of nooks and crannies (77% hills and mountains), with an incredible range of biodiversity in its grape varieties and soils. We want to explore them, and suss out the best, from classic growing areas (such as Chianti and Barolo), to less well-known areas (such as Alta Tuscia in Lazio and Alto Piemonte).
Our portfolio leans toward savoury and vinous wines with alcohol levels in check; we’re suckers for the tension limestone soils bring to wines, and the spice of volcanic soils. You’ll notice quite a few mountain and island wines in our portfolio, from the Alps and Apennines to Alto Piemonte. We don’t fly the naturalista flag, though we have quite a few ‘natural wine’ producers; we’re cool with a little brett or VA, but we don’t want sloppy wines, and we’d like to talk about possibly more than just sulphur levels (though we have them too!).
We’re in the midst of another Italian wine revolution, more poetic and serious than the ‘quality’ revolution of the 1980’s, one where producers are more confident and sensitive to echo Italy’s many soils and varieties. Throw in Italy’s regional culinary traditions, and these are good times, tempi belli, to be an Italian wine (and food) lover. We’re excited about getting these wines to your table – and ours.
Some of our projects and focuses:
Groovy Daily-Drinkers: FUSO21 and AllaSpina: Italians have a long DIY tradition of bringing a big ol’ glass jug damigiana to fill up at their favorite local producer. We offer daily-drinkers that are from interesting growers rather than from tank farms. FUSO21 wines are a buck or two more than the industrial stuff, but we believe in quality and in economic sustainability for the grower and the land. We also believe that there are lots of folks who will pay a smidgeon more for a daily drinker with some character, e.g. Barbera from Walter Massa. We’ve extended the concept of FUSO21 to our new project, AllaSpina, certified-organic wine in 20 liter kegs.
Fizz and Italian Bubbles / Bolle: We’re believers in Italian bubbles, from elegant grower-Prosecco to farmer-fizz fermented in the bottle in Emilia Romagna.
Fine and Natural Wines: We don’t think we’re alone in wanting fine wines and natural wines. We’re not looking for the “worst farmer’s wine” or “the best industrial one.”* We’re looking for dedicated and sensitive growers, who are making wines with character, yet reflective of the grape varieties and soils. A touch of volatile acidity or some ‘cowboy flavors’ aren’t a bad thing, but there’s a critical line with every wine, and we’re willing to draw it.
Aged Wines: Not everyone has the time or space to maintain a cellar. We aim release wines, from the producer’s cellar, when they are properly aged. We also are lucky to have a few producers that have been doing this for years for us.
High Altitude Wines: Global warming has changed the game, and those once cru areas can often be too hot in certain years, and those once too high areas (such as Lamole), are coming into their own.
Soil Specific Wines: you’d be amazed, just as we are, how different soils – such as high-acid reddish-brown porphyritic sand of volcanic origin – can imprint themselves on a wine. We all now know that Italy’s a mountainous country of nooks and crannies, but under our feet ius an equally deep universe to explore.
* As said by the great Veronelli: The worst farmer’s wine is better than the best industrial wine: Il peggior vino contadino è migliore del miglior vino d’industria.