The northern Sardinian region of Gallura, a windswept land of craggy granite bluffs where the sea is never too far away, is the ideal habitat for the Vermentino vine. Carlo Deperu, who runs a small organic farm with his wife, Tatiana Holler, refuses to follow the enological handbook that homogenizes many local wines: he is one of the only producers in the entire appellation who does not inoculate, relying instead on wild yeasts to kick off fermentation following a brief period of skin maceration—a long-lost tradition here. He forgoes filtration, resulting in a white that is the slightest bit cloudy and benefits from aeration to fully come out of its shell. Carlo’s calculated approach to natural winemaking yields a fleshy, full-flavored Vermentino saturated with herbs, flowers, ripe orchard fruit, and an unmistakable Mediterranean signature. Go for it! You’ll notice a whole lot of wine in your wine.
Not only are the wines of I Pàstini our first-ever imports from Puglia, they also have provided an introduction to the native Minutolo grape, sparking a love affair with this rare specialty of the region known as the Valle d’Itria. Minutolo preserves lip-smacking acidity and low alcohol despite the baking-hot Puglian summers, flaunting a gorgeous perfume of blossoming flowers, lemon verbena, and wild sage. Fortunately for us, a small group of dedicated growers brought the variety back from the brink of extinction two decades ago, allowing curious wine lovers to revel in its evocative suggestions of the sun-drenched Italian South.
If Garganega is not a particularly aromatic grape—it could be summed up as gently floral and slightly appley, with hints of almond—then its real strength lies in its exacting ability to translate the peculiarities of the terroir in which it grows. In the hills around Gambellara, a sleepy village east of Verona, Garganega vines find a foothold in dark layers of stony basalt, a special feature of this area responsible for giving local wines a mouthwatering bite you won’t find in surrounding appellations. Davide Vignato isolates his oldest vines from his highest-elevation parcels, trained in the region’s traditional pergola system and pampered by biodynamics, for this bottling. A notably racy Garganega, it grips the palate with a crunchy, creamy, and salty sensation directly tied to its genesis in volcanic rock.
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