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Founded as an estate-bottled winery in 2002, Candialle is now a husband and wife (German/Finnish) team of Josephin Cramer and Jarkko Peränen. However, in its original form (from Roman times onwards) it produced many agricultural goods and—like most Tuscan farms or podere—supplyied bigger estates with various agricultural products. Then, in 2002, Candialle was founded as an estate-bottled winery.Located in Panzano, just 20 km from Florence in the Conca d’Oro in the heart of the Chianti Classico zone, Candialle has 11.5 hectares under vine, 9 of which are planted to Sangiovese. Panzano and the surrounding Conca d’Oro are well-known for the high percentage of galestro, a marl-like soil high in limestone; there is also some pietraforte (hard sandstone) and alberese (chalk). There is a large variety of clonal and massale selections of Sangiovese in their vineyards. The vines are trained in either doppio cordone speronato or alberello at densities ranging from 7,600-10,000 plants per hectare. All vineyard work is 100% organic.The wines are elegant and pretty with a sweet cherry note from Sangiovese; they are stylistically concentrated, but still true to their location. Panzano and the surrounding Conca d’Oro are well-known for the high percentage of galestro, a marl-like soil high in limestone. The zone is also 300+ meters above sea level and sees large diurnal shifts. Both the high limestone content and temperature shifts lead to high toned wines with beautiful fruit and elegance.To visit their website, click here.
Giovanni Canonica is a hidden legend in the town of Barolo. He and his family run a small agriturismo where, in the cellars below, he makes his wines. He has only 1.5 hectares of vines in the Paiagallo vineyard directly on the hill above Barolo. The only other proprietors in this vineyard site are Marchesi de Gresy and Fontanafredda, neither of whom does a mono-vineyard bottling from it, but which Gianni proves, in the right hands, merits consideration. His holdings are also separated from the conventional vineyard work of the other producers in a way that keeps as much integrity to Canonica's vineyard work as possible. The vineyard is planted in Nebbiolo in the best spots and Barbera in the spots not suited to Nebbiolo. Everything is traditional in vineyard and cellar: no herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers, only sulfur and copper treatments, destemming, maceration for 30-40 days using only indigenous yeasts, vertical hand press, then into cement and slavonian oak for aging. A small number of bottles are made, mostly sold at cellar, but after a few years of asking, these wines are finally available in the USA. We couldn't be happier. This is a beautiful, distinctively traditional Barolo from a singular, interesting and empathic guy.
This family has been producing pisco for five generations & over 100 years, and is proud to have played an integral role in the development of Perú’s national spirit.
Andres Juan Giovanni Capurro was born in Italy in 1841 and immigrated to Lima, Perú, in 1875 with his wife, Maria Capurro. In 1882, they had a son named Juan Enrique Alejando Capurro. After decades of continued success in business, Juan Enrique became Mayor of Surco, one of Lima’s largest districts. Surco was home to some of the most famous haciendas in the country, made popular for having the best grapes available in all of Perú, which meant the best piscos; Juan Enrique and President Oscar R. Benavides together held the first Vineyard Harvest Festival in Santiago de Surco on March 6th, 1938, along with the first pisco tasting competition.
The Castro family hails from Ica, Perú, where they have had their hands in grape cultivation and the production of pisco since the late nineteenth century. Long the spirit of choice among Peruvians, Isidoro Martiniano Castro and his brothers learned the craft of pisco distillation from their father, who had learned from his father many years before. Isidoro’s brother, Juvenal Castro, was an expert enologist and developed and commercialized his own wine brand.
Juan Enrique’s daughter, Maria Regina Capurro, married Isidoro Martiniano Castro. Together, they had ten children, including Leon Eduardo Castro Capurro. Isidoro began to teach his son the art of pisco production while Juan Enrique told him of the first ever harvest festival and its wide success – his curiosity was ignited. As years passed and his passion for pisco grew, Eduardo became a successful merchant running several businesses, like his father, grandfather, and great grandfather before him. In 1950, Eduardo met and married the love of his life, Ruth Carmen Canelo. To start their family, Eduardo and Ruth settled in a small town in the desert of southern Perú in the district of Nazca, Ica. There, Eduardo discovered a climate perfect for the cultivation of grapes for his pisco. Situated in the southern most region of Ica, longer days meant more sunlight for the grapes and hotter temperatures than the north, allowing for optimal sweetness.
As Eduardo’s businesses grew, so grew his vineyard and pisco production. Settling for nothing less than perfection, Eduardo sought after the finest raw materials and the best distilling equipment, and he skillfully monitored every part of production. As previous generations had done before him, he began to amass an incredible family reserve of the finest pisco. Solely by word of mouth, his pisco began to sell throughout Perú.
For years, Eduardo’s pisco remained a limited family reserve as a premium brand sold only in Perú. In 2008, Eduardo’s eldest granddaughter, Romina Puente-Arnao, entered the family recipe into the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, winning the highest honor, a Double Gold Medal. With this recognition, the family began to prepare for distribution outside Perú, and in the summer of 2012, the family completed its first export to the United States using the name Capurro, which the family has long used to commercialize its piscos.
Now led by Eduardo, the Castro Capurro family has an unwavering commitment to craftsmanship and is dedicated to their heritage. Capurro Pisco is made 100% of grapes, undiluted, unfiltered, and with no additives of any kind at any step of the production process. Single-estate grapes are hand-harvested; the varieties are kept separate, gently pressed and fermented with indigenous yeasts. The resulting wines are then distilled once in a copper potstill to proof. After a long resting period (years in most cases), these spirits are blended according to family tradition for the Acholado bottling.
From Germán Blanco of Quinta Milú comes this project from Bierzo!
We get tiny amounts of these very small-production wines. Sourced from vineyards that belonged to German's grandmother in Bierzo Alto, just outside of the DO of Bierzo. Garnacha Tintorera, Garnacha, Mencia, Godello, and Doña Blanca are all planted here and are vinified as a field blend. These 80+ year old vines are situated between 800-100 meters, farmed organically, and of course fermented with native yeasts and little SO2 just before bottling.
For more about this talented young winemaker, visit the Quinta Milú page.
Thank you to importer Louis/Dressner for this write-up on Casa Coste Piane:
Loris Follador is from a long line of farmers in Valdobbiadene. Thanks to his father and grandfather, Loris and his two sons have never had to plant a vine. Their vineyards, featuring 60+ year old vines, are absurdly steep and the soil is very shallow, hitting solid limestone or sandstone rock in a few centimeters. The Folladors are well aware of this fortunate legacy and treat it with the reverence and respect it deserves. No herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers are used. It’s impossible to plow here, but it’s really not necessary with vines of this age; they’ve long ago found their sources deep within the stone formation below. The harvesting is, of course, by hand and would seem, especially in the steepest spots, near impossible. Most importantly, the focus on the vinification and the cellar work is to express, as simply and directly as possible, the potential minerality and the terroir of these vines.
Loris follows a tradition of winemaking that was handed down to him from previous generations without adopting any of the “improvements” of the 60’s, but with a certain regard for technological innovation. The grapes are immediately pressed using a pneumatic press. The must is then partially fermented and the lees and juice are separated and the lees cleaned through filtration. The cleaned juice and filtered lees are reintroduced together in bottle in the late winter and re-ferment by early to mid-summer, creating its own bead and a carbon dioxide environment that prevents oxidation without the use of sulfur. There is no disgorgement, so the expired lees remain in the bottle adding further complexity, but also some cloudiness. The wine can be decanted off of the deposit or poured as is. Either way, the flavor is unchanged and the minerality unmistakable.
Click here for importer Louis/Dressner's profile of the estate and interview with Loris.
Click here for an article in Saveur magazine on the traditional col fondo style of Prosecco.
Casal de Armán was founded in the late 1990’s by the González family, who had been making Ribeiro wines since the 19th century. Located in San Andres, Ribadavia Ourense in Galicia, the winery property is actually an 18th century court.
They have 50 acres of vineyards located within the Ribeiro de Avia region, dedicated to cultivating indigenous varieties such as Treixadura, Godello, Loureira, Brencellao, Caíño and Sousón. The Avia’s river banks support the winery’s terraces with heights ranging from 650-1,200 feet above sea level. The grapes are hand-picked, and all of their wines are estate produced.
Winemaker Felicísimo Pereira is also the new Ribeiro Appellation’s president.
Cascina degli Ulivi produces wines from vineyards of around 16 hectares that have been worked using biodynamic methods since 1985. The estate has been in the Bellotti family since the 1930's and is now run by Stefano Bellotti. He is deeply commmited to organics and biodynamics, and raises not only vines but vegetables and livestock, which are sold wholesale and also served at their small restaurant attached to their agriturismo rooms for rent. As Stefano puts it, "We consider that the soil is a ‘companion organism’ for everything that lives. In working our vines, we foster the potential harmony of all those forces that contribute to the flow of vitality (of the vine)". The grapes are hand-harvested, crushed and fermented with wild yeasts and withouth sulfur. The wines are aged in a range of well-used old barrels and botti, the largest clocking in at 11,000 liters. They are bottled without fining or filtering
What does one of the premier young enologists in the Asti area do in his spare time? He puts all his knowledge and experience to work in his own small vineyard, of course. Experimenting with clones of indigenous local varietals such Grignolino, Barbera, Cortese and Moscato to find the ones which thrive in the carlcareous clay and sandy soils of the Asti region. He practices organic farming for no one knows better than he that a wine is really made in the vineyard. He studies methods and techniques which allow for a natural fermentation with minimum interference.
The estate is the 9.5 hectare estate of Cascina del Frate and the enologist is Giorgio Gozzellino. He is the much requested winemaker for many local estates including Cascina Castle’t. While he does not have much free time, he uses what he does have very well.
Located in the eastern Loire, just south of Blois, the little known appellations of Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny are a must for any fan of Loire wines. Cheverny, the larger of the two appellations, consists of Sauvignon dominated wines while the tiny Cour-Cheverny zone must be made from the ancient Romorantin variety. Both zones have clay, limestone and silica soils. Francois Cazin hand harvests his old vines at yields that are well below average in any given year. His Cheverny is fresh and floral, with appley-texture and crisp acidity. The flavors are sleek and precise. The Cour-Cheverny has high acidity, stunning minerality and an almost tactile texture. In very good years, Francois makes a later harvested Cuvée Renaissance, which typically has between 15 and 25 grams of residual sugar. The Renaissance is always balanced by high acidity, often between 4 and 6 grams.
Andrea Zanfei and his wife Valentina Libri are the proprietors of Cerreto Libri, which is built over ancient Etruscan ruins and has been in her family since the late 18th century. The farm is about 10 miles east of Florence in the little Rufina sub-zone of Chianti, a very traditional region of winemaking, with a relatively small number of producers and a unique microclimate: the clay-schist vineyard are at a higher altitude and near the intersection of 2 rivers, which leads to higher humidity and much greater day-night temperature differentials. Zanfei and Libri took over Cerreto Libri from her father in the late 1990's and decided by 1997 to convert the farming to organic; their first vintage was bottled in 2000.
Zanfei and Libri grow old strains of the typical grapes of the region--Sangiovese, with a small amount of the traditional red blending varieties Colorino and Canaiolo, plus whites Trebbiano and Malvasia--with the preponderance of bottling being Chianti Rufina, complemented by some Vin Santo, grappa and olive oil from estate trees.Today, the farming is entirely biodynamic, and the winemaking continues to be done with very minimal intervention.
For the Rufina red, old concrete tanks are filled 3/4-full with hand-harvested, hand-sorted and destemmed fruit, which is not crushed; the fermentation, with native yeasts only, thus starts as a semi-carbonic maceration. Maceration with the skins lasts about three weeks; aging takes place in large, old casks; and sulfur is never employed at any point. The wine is aged in bottled for years before release (current vintage as of spring 2017 is 2010); their wine would more than qualify as riserva, were they to be concerned with such designations. Zanfei and Libri are old-school, modern-day winegrowers in this tiny, traditional corner of Chianti.