Azienda Agricola Andrea Picchioni,
Canneto Pavese, Lombardia
The Picchioni winery is a small plot of land, approximately seven hectares, located in the Solinga valley. The vineyards grow on a south-exposed steep sloping hillside, on sandy and pebbled soil. The endless summer days bless the grapes with all the energy they need for a full ripening: the vine struggles in the light and the heat for every single drop of water. Andrea tells the cantina’s story:
“Our adventure began in 1988 with the singling out of some old vineyards, which we thought were best fit for the production of high quality wines. The recovery of these vineyards has been difficult, but an exciting challenge for us. The cornerstones of our philosophy are the greatest respect for the grapes and the extreme care through all the phases of the winemaking process. But it is our unbounded passion which marks the handcraft of our wines, from the vineyards, which we grow using traditional, environment-friendly techniques, to the cellar. Our wines, obtained from small crops of selected grapes, are rich in body, natural colour components, glycerine and noble tannins, which become smoother and rounder with aging. All these characteristics are markedly different from those of the mainstream local production.
These results would have never been achieved without the help of Giuseppe Zatti, who began working with us in 1995, and whose expertise in winemaking and friendship are immensely precious for us. We really hope that you will feel in each one of our bottles the passion which constantly guides us through our work.“
Picchioni Pinot Nero Brut Metodo Classico Profilo 1998, Oltrepò Pavese
Many times on our buying trips in Italy we are served wines made in such small batches that they are reserved for hospitality at the cantina or gifts for loyal clients. Translation: way too little for most importers to bother with. But we’ve gotten pretty good at talking our friends out of tiny allocations (typically 36-60 BOTTLES and usually after we have consumed a few with them) just for YOU. Case in point: With NINE and a HALF YEARS on the lees, this is crazy good: lush up front fruit, incredibly tiny bead, good acids, the whole package. Absolutely one of the best Italian Sparklers we have ever offered. Just 60 bottles for the USA…
Cantina Arunda di Josef Reiterer, Mölten, Alto Adige
A cult winemaker in German speaking markets, Josef produces less than 70, 000 BOTTLES (not cases) of absolutely classic sparkling wine using Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, all crafted by hand according to the méthode champenoise. The vineyards and cantina are located at 1200 meters above sea level making them Europe’s highest altitude producer of bubbly. The minerals of these high Tyrollean alps shine though all of the cuvées in the glass and make the wines ultra food friendly. All of the wines spend a MINIMUM of 24 months en tirage (more than many big brand Champagnes do these days), are VERY complex in flavor and have a particularly fine and persistent mousse.
Arunda Talento Brut, Alto Adige
This entry level bottling of 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc and 20% Pinot Noir combines lush ripe golden apple and white flower notes with a firm, dry, almondy finish.
Arunda Talento Extra Brut, Alto Adige
Here Josef manages to bring extraordinary richness of texture plus toasted bread and ripe white fruit flavors to a wine that ultimately finishes as dry as the stones in his vineyards. Got oysters? 80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 100% yummy.
Arunda Talento Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs, Alto Adige
This 100% Chardonnay cuvée is lush, lush, lush on the palate, immediately suggesting scallops, lobster, sweetbreads or other rich dishes as a companion yet finishes bone dry and leaves you begging for more.
Arunda Talento Extra Brut Riserva Millesimato 2006, Alto Adige
60 / 40 Chardonnay / Pinot Noir with over three years of on the lees, this is some seriously complex fizz that will stop you in your tracks and make you just SMELL it for a while. Notes of chocolate, honey, dried fruit and even Cognac waft out of your flute with accents of pineapple, grapefruit and even mango hovering overhead. It is quite full bodied on the palate and can stand up to some fairly robust foods. VERY limited.
Arunda Talento Brut Rosé Excellor, Alto Adige
100% Pinot Noir vinified with the saignée methode, this wine is very lively and spicy in the mouth, just flat out fun to drink and will be a perfect dance partner for any sort of smoked fish, turkey or pork dish as well as spicy Asian or Latin fare.
Azienda Agricola Ferghettina
di Roberto Gatti, Adro, Lombardia
Wow! KILLER bubblies made by very nice people, a win / win situazione: Founded in 1991 by Roberto Gatti after already working for 25 years making high quality Metodo Classico wines in other famous local cantine, this is one of the true jewels of this DOCG. They have 110 hectares of vineyards to make their choices from so only the top fruit goes into these wines and all of the remuage of the bottles is still done by hand (no gyro-pallets here!). The results are stunning, made in such small quantities that they have never been imported before (they are at the very top of European critic’s lists and sell every bottle, pronto!). We, being determined to make our entrance into this zona at the highest possible level, would not be deterred this time. So, finally, here they are:
Ferghettina Franciacorta Brut, Lombardia
Really complex and lively, this literally dances on your palate like the Camile Savese Carte Blanche or even Gobillard Vieille Vigne. 95% Chard / 5% Pinot with bright citrussy flavors up front and intriguing spice on the bone dry finish, you can taste every week of its twenty four months aging on the lees.
Ferghettina Franciacorta Saten 2007, Lombardia
One of the best sparklers from outside of la Champagne we have EVER tasted: light and airy in the mouth but packed with rich flavors of vanilla, apricot, biscuits and toasted nuts followed by a firm, refreshingly dry finish, this is truly thrilling fizz. It is 100% very ripe Chardonnay, aged three years en tirage plus an additional year after disgorgement before release. Limited, worth it….
Ferghettina Franciacorta Rosé 2007, Lombardia
Wonderful rose petal perfume greet you from the flute, followed by a very Pinot driven flavor set on the palate then a crunchy crisp, food friendly finish. Yum! One of a kind bottle no extra charge.