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Cirò wine can be traced back to antiquity, when is was allegedly served to the winners at the ancient Olympics. Run by husband and wife team Francesco and Laura de Franco, ‘A Vita is located on the arch of Italy’s boot tip, nestled between the Ionian sea and Sila mountains; this situation ensures both coastal influence and dramatic diurnal shifts. DOC Cirò is dominated by one producer: Librandi, who produces over 200,000 cases per year. By contrast, Francesco & Laura make only 2000 cases total.
The red wines are 100% Gaglioppo, a rustic variety native to the area which typically has dusty tannins and aromas of roses; it is an offspring of Sangiovese and a cousin to Nerello Mascalese. The vineyards are certified organic, and no fertilizer is used. Instead they plant cover crops, and are careful to not work the soil so as to favor natural biodiversity. In the cellar, there is zero technological input: the wines are fermented spontaneously without temperature control, decanted naturally, and are never rushed. A small amount of sulfur is used at bottling. The wines are often aged in bottle for an extended time before release.
The white wine is a neew addition from 'A Vita!
To view their website click here.
For a nicely produced video (in Italian) click here.
45th Parallel is a small, family-owned craft distillery in New Richmond, Wisconsin. When they opened their doors in 2007, they were one of 50 craft distilleries in the United States; there are now more than 1,000. They have seen consistent growth over the years, doubling in both physical size and production capacity, and have gone from making a single vodka to producing gins, whiskeys, aquavits, and citrus liqueurs as well. Their name comes from the fact that they are located on the 45th parallel, halfway between the equator and the north pole.
They take no short cuts. They use only locally-grown grain, and distill their whiskeys in a pot still; afterwards, they use traditional aging techniques in Ozark white oak barrels with medium char, constructed from wood staves that are air dried three years. The whiskeys are aged a minimum of 4 years.
This micro winery is located in Chacras de Coria (Lujan), Mendoza, They farm from 3 hectares and go back 3 generations within the Furlotti family. The vineyards were planted in 1916, 100% to malbec. They only produce 1 wine which is made by famed winemaker Carmello Patti (see Carmello Patti wines) who focuses on balance and terroir. This is considered the smallest winery in Argentina and produces less than 500cs per year, with only 50cs coming to the USA every year.
Adele is our premium private label. One of the things that comes along with working with good growers is the opportunity to take advantage of those connections. That way we can source fruit from well-known vineyards made, in some cases, by our own winemakers and in some cases by others. These are limited run wines, never more than around 1,500 cases, often half that amount in total production.
We taste a number of possible cuvees before deciding what to bottle. There is no secret here: we are looking for premium fruit in a certain price range. Whether we choose the highest or lowest price is based purely on the quality. But what does that mean, quality? Well, we’ve been in the business for a few years and were wine lovers before that. We have a pretty good idea of what makes a wine good: balance, length, acidity, fruit and some complexity. And it should express where it comes from, it should be recognizable. That’s why we strive to get top appellation sources for the Adele label.
Adele is my mother’s name. She started me in the business. She is a beautiful, kind-hearted woman. That should tell you everything.
The Albany Distilling Company is a modest operation, producing craft spirits one small batch at a time. It is located in downtown Albany, not far from the site of the city’s original 18th century distillery. Owners John Curtin and Richard Sicari are proud to be a part of New York State’s rich heritage of spirit production. The Original Albany rum pays homage to Albany’s first distillery, which was established in the mid-18th century and stood just a short distance from where their distillery stands today. The Quackenbush Still House produced an unaged rum from Caribbean molasses and Hudson River water, fermented with wild yeasts in huge, open wooden vessels. They use modern equipment, better yeast, and a more suitable water supply, but follow the same recipe and use the methods of their predecessors.
Alion is Vega Sicilia’s second project in Ribera del Duero. There are 130 hectares of land divided into three large blocks, seventy of which are located on the Vega Sicilia estate itself: 30 hectares in the Padilla de Duero, and another 30 hectares in the nearby town of Pesquera de Duero. Alion is the “younger sibling” to Vega Sicilia; made with the same elegance, but aged three years before release and meant to drink within the first 15-20 years, though there is no doubt that it can age longer.
Alipus was started by Los Danzantes to provide a market for family artisan distilleries. There are still hundreds of small mezcal distilleries in Oaxaca, and a number of them make fabulous Mezcal. Hector Vasquez and later Karina Abad Rojas have worked closely with selected small producers, both to improve their distillation methods and to help them with the complex paperwork required to certify their Mezcals for export. The intent was to provide small distilleries with a wider market so that they could stay in business, and it has worked: Alipus producers have been able to add stills and – this is wonderful – to bring their children back from the USA because there is now enough work for them – as distillers! – at home. These Mezcal are distilled in remote pueblos in Oaxaca’s noted Mezcal region: craft production in artisanal family distilleries. The agaves are wood-roasted in hornos (conical below-ground ovens), carefully crushed in stone mills, fermented slowly in open wooden vats using native yeasts, and double-distilled in small wood-fired copper potstills. Artisan mezcal distillers really know their material: it grows nearby. Often the agaves come from their family’s own plantings, out in the mountains. Because the distilleries are tiny and because preparation and distilling are so much hands-on work, the distiller knows every step very well, can adjust his methods to the material in front of him. The results are Mezcals with concentration and purity of flavors and aromas drawn from mature agaves.
"This producer's fleshy, fruit-driven wines are crowd-pleasers, combining forward character with the depth to reward aging."
-Josh Raynolds, Vinous Media
In 1999 David Nemarnik began planting his estate vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains. It is comprised of 78 acres of vines, planted mostly to Pinot Noir with small amounts of Chardonnay and other white grapes. The vineyard and winery are L.I.V.E certified, emphasizing Alloro’s dedication to maintaining an approach of minimal intervention.
Winemaker Tom Fitzpatrick joined the team in 2010, following stints at Domaine Hubert-Lignier in Burgundy and Hamacher Wines in Oregon. He maintains a delicate touch in the cellar: minimal handling, native yeast fermentation, and moderate use of new oak are all standard here. Nothing is used that might obscure the expression of this site’s terroir and even the winery itself is powered primarily by solar power.
Though it’s tempting to draw the comparison to Burgundy, it has become clear that Oregon has its own story to tell and Alloro is no exception. Elegant and balanced, their wines speak transparently of their origins; classic expressions of the terroir that Oregon has become famous for.
Jutta Ambrositsch was born in Südburgenland, best-known for stunning Blaufränkisch, about 2.5 hours south of Vienna. She moved to the city to pursue her career as a graphic design artist, but eventually decided that she needed a change. So, in 2004, she left behind her design career (although she does create her stylish labels) swapping an office job for a career in nature and started a special wine project in the city with only 650L of wine. Now, she spends most of her days in the vineyards; with winemaking, she has been able to find a perfect balance of city living and getting her hands in the dirt. She manages the business with her husband, Marco Kalkbrenner, who takes care of the administration, poetic wine descriptions, and logistics, while Jutta manages the vineyard and cellar work.
Vienna has the most vineyards planted of any city in the world: today, there are fifty growers managing 650 total hectares (of those fifty, only twenty are full-time winemakers, earning their living from the wine they make). The vineyards are on hillsides at the city limits, on either side of the Danube over-looking the city center. The surrounding vineyards provide a mini-escape from the bustling center and there is a long tradition of residents going to the hillsides to have a glass of wine and snacks at a Heurigen or Buschenschank overlooking the city. Heurigen could roughly be translated as a wine bar. Buschenschank is similar, but they are only allowed to sell products that are made in-house, wine included. Ambrositsch started her own Buschenschank in 2006.
Today, Ambrositsch farms a total of four hectares —three on the right side of the Danube and one hectare on the left bank— in ten different parcels. Each vineyard is unique, with a distinctive terroir and microclimate. She farms each organically, but does not have certification. Ambrositsch says that the biggest threat to the vineyards is hail and white boars that live in the surrounding forests and using conventional products will not help against either!
The specialty of Vienna is the Gemischter Satz, which is a wine that is co-fermented with many different traditional varieties. The particularity of this style of wine is that all the grapes must be picked and crushed on the same day, and must also be co-fermented. It sounds simple enough, but the different varieties ripen at different rates and it’s quite a skill to decide the exact day when the ripeness and acidity will be a delicious balance amongst all the varieties.
While Jutta and Marco care very much about making traditional Viennese wine, they recently decided that they would not be a part of the newly established Vienna DAC. There are multiple reasons; one is that they don’t want to decide when to pick because they need a certain level of alcohol. In addition, with Gemischter Satz currently going through a renaissance in Austria, the rule dictating that the varieties being co-planted has been changed: now you can have three different parcels, all planted to a single variety; as long as you pick and crush all of the fruit on the same day, it can still be called Gemischter Satz. Ambrositch feels that this undermines what makes Gemischter Satz unique: a single terroir, co-planted with many different varieties, which are picked and pressed together.
The Ambrositsch wines are all micro-cuvées and they are a delightful way to discover Vienna terroir through the lens of a young and fun artist.While her winemaking style could be called “natural”, with no additions of yeasts, enzymes, or sugar, and only a minimum amount of sulfur, very few of the wines show any of the funky qualities of many wines that share the moniker. Most are made in stainless steel. Are they renegades? No: rock and roll is a more fitting description. In addition to the traditional wines, including three Gemischter Satz bottlings, they make some playful cuvées, like the Roter (red) Gemischter Satz, with its piquant cherry fruit and cloudy bright ruby color. Even their Gemischter Satz shows a rebellious streak in that it is made without additions, which gives a lot of vibrancy and juicy flavors.
We are very excited to welcome this singular producer to our portfolio!