During his seventy-seven years as a winemaker (1850-1927), G.B. Burlotto’s accomplishments were rivaled only by those of Biondi-Santi and Vega Sicilia, as he achieved superstardom in a world dominated by French wines. Today, Burlotto has re-emerged as one of Piemonte’s great small producers, thanks to the brilliant and highly traditional winemaking of G.B.’s great-great-grandson, Fabio Alessandria.
He pioneered selling Barolo in bottle (not cask or demijohn), predating even Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Monfortino. And as official supplier to the Royal House of Savoy—which once ruled Piemonte—he not only achieved personal fame, he made his village of Verduno as renowned as Serralunga or La Morra.
G.B.’s death in 1927 not only took away Burlotto’s driving force, it also deprived Verduno of its greatest champion. And so both faded into obscurity in the decades that followed. But now, with G.B.’s great-great-grandson Fabio Alessandria as winemaker, Burlotto’s star is again rising, reclaiming its position as one of Piedmont’s great small producers.
Cantina MesaThe Cantina Mesa winery is located on the island of Sardinia, off the western shores of Italy in the Mediterranean Sea. Cantina Mesa’s vineyards are some of the oldest on the island and take in the fresh salty sea air. Winemaker and owner Luca Fontana has told writers he believes the pungent wildflowers and herbs growing in the area creep into the grapes and thus into the wines. Fontana grows Carignano – the local name for Carignan – which Fontana has said is the only variety on the island that can grow this close to the sea. Cantina Mesa makes reds, whites and rosés. Their wines are available at Metrovino.
Marco CarpinetiClinging to the slopes of Lepini mountains is the ancient town of Cori, Lazio. It’s here the Marco Carpineti estate has been producing wines for decades. The winery uses only organic farming methods, so herbicides, chemical fertilizers and synthetic products are banned from production processes. Marco Carpineti has also focused on growing and maintaining some virtually unknown ‘hidden treasure’ grapes including Bellone, Arciprete White and two varieties of Greek grapes, called Moro and Yellow, which at one time nearly vanished from this area. Marco Carpineti produces several wines that can be found in Canada such as Kius Spumante sparkling brut made entirely from Bellone grapes, as well as Cervinara Rosso. Marco Carpineti wines can be found at Metrovino.
La Fiorita was established in 1992 starting from a project that Roberto Cipresso, a winemaker on the rise at the time, shared with two homeland friends. The first vineyard had an extension of half hectare and the annual production was of just 1000 bottles of Brunello; the first vintage was the 1993 and it was entirely purchased en-primeur by Enoteca Pinchiorri of Firenze. The cellar was in the basement of an old building of the 18th century in the heart of the medieval town of Castelnuovo Abate.
La Fiorita is available exclusively in Calgary at J Webb Wine Merchant.
In the ancient heart of Tuscany, the modest 18-hectare Le Regge estate sits atop the first hill south of Greve, Chianti’s principal town. The vineyards fan out across the slopes of the hill that surrounds the ancient farmhouse where the owners live. The estate has been owned by the Ferruzzi family since 1989 but the family patriarch, 93-year-old Giovanni Ferruzzi, cultivated these vineyards in the 1960s when they were owned by the Uzzano Castle. His grandson Barbara now owns this bucolic farm, which also produces extra virgin olive oil according to traditional Tuscan practices, along with wildflower honey from native bee swarms that pollinate both the wildflowers and the grapevines. All products are made exclusively from raw materials cultivated inside the estate, carefully selected and handpicked to obtain the highest quality.
This countryside is renowned for producing quality wines and the owners of Le Regge take their role in upholding tradition seriously. The name Le Regge itself is derived from the Italian verb ‘reggere’, meaning to hold, support, bear something or keep it from falling. The philosophy guiding the production of wine at Le Regge is a search for elegance with a moderate use of wood during refinement. Interestingly, for over 30 years the Ferruzzi family has also been prominent in the production of traditional fine leather goods in partnership with a number of famous fashion houses. The common thread running through all of the family’s activities, they say, is a constant search for high quality and the determination to bring out the best characteristics in raw materials.
Vini MontautoRiccardo Lepri has had an unusual path to winemaking. He’s a former economist, turned winemaker with a very simple motto: “Drink my wine or don’t. There is no in between”. Lepri has been running his family’s vineyard for more than a decade and some time ago made the perhaps controversial decision to focus on white wines in a region that is far better known for strong reds. But that’s Riccardo: he sees himself as an anti-conformist and his wines proudly follow suit. Lepri says he makes his wines to be “drinkable,” and steers clear of what he calls “powerful, punch-in-the-face drinks” that may seem tasty at first sip but that fail to wow you the more you sip them. Perhaps unusually, Lepri doesn’t want his winery to grow any larger. He’s happy making his wines for a limited clientele so he can focus on what he does best. Vini Montauto is available in Calgary at Kensington Wine Market.
The Chianti Farmhouse Monteraponi sits high on a hill, overlooking an ancient medieval hamlet. It once belonged to Earl Ugo, the Marquis and governor of Tuscany back in the tenth century. The main building has remained intact and beneath it are the wine cellars, with wide vaulted stone ceilings. Monteraponi harvests its grapes by hand, and hand selects only the best ones from a vibrating sorting table. They are pressed right away, and after, the wines are transferred to the historic cellar, which has been lovingly restored. The old-world underground site provides a constant temperature and humidity naturally throughout the year, thanks to the thick stone walls.
Building off the history and old fashioned skills, Monteraponi minimizes its use of technology in the winemaking process, and fermentation occurs in old cement tanks devoid of thermo-conditioning systems, to ensure “that the fermentations are the most spontaneous and natural as possible”.
Monteraponi is available in Calgary exclusively at Metrovino.