An Italian Road Trip
Over the last two years, we've revamped our Italian portfolio and have assembled some of the very finest producers in Italy under the Stannary St Wine Co. banner. We feel so lucky to work with these winemakers and their teams. Last month, I headed to Italy with a group of sommeliers for four days to tour the vineyards and see first-hand the wine being made. Four days of nothing but excellent Italian wines and gorgeous countryside- and some adventures in driving!
We landed at Treviso with no issues, but quite a lot of rain, and piled into the 9-seater minivan (slightly more practical than whizzing around the Italian countryside on Vespas, but also slightly less glamourous) and headed to our first stop: Borgo del Tiglio with the legendary Nicola Manferrari.
Borgo del Tiglio is a brand-new signing for us, and these wines were a highlight of the trip! It was a very interesting, educational visit for us to this iconic Friuli vineyard; Nicola Manferrari was a pharmacist before inheriting 5 hectares of vineyard and has spent the last three decades honing his winemaking vision (even learning French so he could study French vineyard techniques!). He produces predominantly white wines, keeping each vineyard plot separate and blending them together meticulously together afterwards– not surprising, considering how scientifically-minded he is!
Our first stop the next morning was, fittingly, Le Due Terre in Prepotto, on the eastern slopes of the Friuli hills. Flavio and Silvana have four hectares here, where they grow the grapes for their Sacrisassi Rosso, a 50/50 blend of native Italian grapes Refosco and Schiopettino, and their Pinot Nero.
Second stop was lunch at Novaia in Valpolicella, where we were delighted with a bottle of 2004 Amarone and also discovered Pasta Frolla (a sweet pastry dough) with Recioto for dessert. Novaia has recently converted to organic agriculture under Marcello and Cristina (the 4th generation of the family at the winery!) and is a part of Terra Viva Verona, an association dedicated to promoting environmental awareness. Fantastic wines, fantastic ethics.
The next 3 hours in the minivan were worth it for the wines of Elvio Cogno and dinner with owners Valter and Nadia in the middle of Cannubi vineyard. Valter’s work at Elvio Cogno has been nothing short of incredible, building on the excellent foundations of his father-in-law, and we’re always happy to taste his wines.
Tuesday started with Renato and Franca at Cantina del Pino, another Italian winery we’ve started working with this year, learning about Barbaresco and tasting the delicious 2014s. We were again wowed by a 2004.
And then…the long drive to Tuscany! Believe me when I say that I will never forget driving the minibus around the tiny streets of Genoa, and I never want to do it again!
Cerbaiona was full of new developments – with a tour of the new cellars – and dinner with winemaker Matthew afterwards. His passion for everything about the estate is undeniable, and touring with him brings home how his vision for the winery is moving forward. Diego Molinari, who founded the winery back in 1977, was one of the original “garagiste” winemakers, and Matthew is continuing the good work that made Cerbaiona one of the benchmark Brunello producers.
The last day took us to Le Potazzine, where we saw Gigliola, Michele, and Viola for a top visit and tasting, and Montegrossi, where we tasted with Elisa (since Marco was away in Asia). For our very last meal, we enjoyed a bottle of the Montegrossi ‘05 Chianti Classico and ‘99 Geremia with a memorable lunch in Radda, just north of Siena in Chianti.
All in all, 1500km over 4 days: an awesome trip with our brilliant producers, all leading up to our first ever En Primeur Italian Offer!
See the full offer here for the first chance at this year's allocations - some of which are quite likely to sell out right away.