Meet Poggio Le Volpi of Lazio and Masca del Tacco of Apulia.
In Lazio ...
Overlooking the eternal city, the estate of Poggio Le Volpi produces wine that expresses the beauty of Rome.
Spread across 30 acres, this vineyard enjoys an exceptional natural microclimate and the ecosystem is maintained with great care. The wines from Poggio Le Volpi are crafted to highlight the richness of the land and continue the great tradition of Lazio winemaking.
Since ancient Rome, viticulture has been important to this area of Lazio. In the 1920s, Mario Mergè founded Poggio Le Volpi as a family-run winery to be passed on through the generations. What started as simple grape and olive cultivation grew into a dynamic Castelli Romani winery of exceptional quality and prestige. Mario passed on his winemaking passion to his son Armando, and today Armando’s own son, Felice Mergè, expertly runs the vineyards of Poggio Le Volpi.
Italy’s leading wine consultant Riccardo Cotarella oversees the winemaking process at Poggio Le Volpi. Born in Lazio, Riccardo is a great advocate for Italian wines and the unique natural qualities to be found in different regions of the peninsula. When he’s not teaching œnology, he consults on wine production at Poggio Le Volpi, with great focus on the vines. Along with a team of wine consultants, led by his daughter Dominga, Riccardo works to nurture the “greatest expression of terroir from indigenous grapes by using advances in new technology.”
In keeping with the ancient wine traditions of Lazio and the idyllic setting for Poggio le Volpi’s vines, Riccardo believes that “no other country in the world, in terms of wine can boast tradition, innovation, art and natural beauty like Italy can”.
In Apulia ...
First established in Italy's capital region, the Poggio Le Volpi winery has made its second home in Italy’s far south.
As confidence in southern Italy’s vineyards grew, Poggio Le Volpi embarked on the challenge of cultivating endemic grapes in Apulia’s fertile soil. Focusing on the native vines, Poggio Le Volpi produces niche wines and has developed something of a cult following across Europe.
The warm climate of southern Italy is suitable for many grape varieties but Apulia’s endemic Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes are a favourite choice. The Primitivo (aka California’s popular Zinfandel) traces its lineage back to the ancient Phoenicians who settled this part of the peninsula and is now enjoying long overdue praise for its juicy and well-structured character – ideal for Asian cuisines. The Negroamaro vine is highly adaptive and the grapes have a black-violet colour infusing wines with a rustic, earthy character.
As with Poggio Le Volpi in Lazio, the Apulia estate is skillfully tended by third-generation owner Felice Mergè and benefits from the expertise of Italy's most famous winemaker and consultant œnologist Riccardo Cotarella. Riccardo is passionate about Italian wine and specifically the wines of southern Italy, recognizing the need for winemakers to move away from quantity and embrace quality. Poggio Le Volpi embraces modern winemaking technology to ensure its native Apulia grapes reach their full potential and the resulting wines offer a truly exquisite taste of southern Italy.
A very popular style of wine from south Italy is FRASCATI - a white wine named after the town just south of Rome.
It boasts a long history of appreciation, from being a favourite of wine drinkers of Ancient Rome, to Renaissance popes and century travelling artists, right up to the La Dolce Vita generation of the 1960s ... and of course today!
The DOCG level Frascati Superiore offers a great example of how volcanic soils can create complex wines that offer a refreshing acidity balanced by rich tropical fruit notes! Don't miss the EPOS Riserva 2017 from local Malvasia and Trebbiano grapes. A bargian at $43 a bottle.
Be bold ... try a powerful white!
If you like a rich style of white wine, try Donnaluce 2019 - a heady blend of local Malvasia, Greco and Chardonnay - with its intense, complex nose (lychee, nectarine, apricot, ripe pineapple, ripe gooseberry, jasmine).
Lovely pairing for a Thai salad.
Something pink from down south?
If rose is your preference, grab a bottle (or more ... they're so dinky) of the Apulian pink Ro'si 2019 for just $35.
It's 100% Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) and offers subtle notes of melon, pears and wild strawberry, with a hint of rose petal. It's fresh and juicy, with a savoury yet fruity character.
Something red from down south?
How about a wine/grape that means "little donkey" in local dialect?
Try the rare Susumaniello 2018 and you'll soon fall in love with this 'little' bottle of red. In fact, out of 250+ labels in our portfolio it's one of our best sellers!
Expect red and black fruit, a hint of sweet spice and smokey notes. It's very smooth and soft in the mouth; velvety, plush tannins. Perfect with BBQ, sticky ribs or even a spicy dish like Rendang :)
One of Italy's newest DOC status red wines is ROMA.
Unsurprisingly, ROMA 2018 features vines grown near to the city of Rome - specifically the endemic Italian variety Montepulciano, the internationally successful variety Syrah and the rare regional variety Cesanese.
At only $39 this is a great find. We recommend it as a party wine, since it goes over well with a wide range of wine drinkers.
Finish on a rare "teinturier" grape!
Did you know that most grapes have clear juice? It's the skins that add the colour to the wine (which is why red/black varieties can be used for white wine production - famously white bubbles made from Pinot Nero aka Blanc de Noirs).
So, if the grape has both dark skins and dark juice, it's called a teinturier - for its ability to add more colour to the wine. Only a handful of these varieties exist in the world ... perhaps you know Alicante Bouschet (popular in Portugal's Aletejano area) ... well now you can try NeroBuono by ordering a bottle of Poggio Le Volpi's exquisite Baccarossa 2017.
Still not sure which wine to try next?
Don't hesitate to contact me for personal recommendations and advice.