Most people think we started our career as importers working our way through the villages of the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. But, the truth is that we launched our little enterprise with two growers in Piedmont: Luigi Ferrando in Ivrea (for his inimitable Carema) and the Anfosso family in Barbaresco (De Forville di Anfosso). It was there in the hills of the Langhe and in the shadow of Mont Blanc that we encountered the majesty of Nebbiolo and the rich culture of Italian food, wine and hospitality.
In fact, one could argue that our first experiences with Nebbiolo-based wine had a fundamental impact on our ultimate selection process. The traditionally crafted wines like the Carema from Ferrando and the Barbaresco of De Forville require patience in both the production and the full enjoyment of their riches. We developed a love of wines of restraint, discipline, complexity; wines marked as much by their acid component as by their level of sugar; wines that reflect decades, if not centuries, of local tradition; and, finally, wines that clearly portray their geological and climatic conditions.
Italy offers a trove of wines that fit that description. It is a country rich in tradition and proud of its history. Italy is modern, yes; but, by and large, the Italians accept modernity with a shrug. Nothing is more comforting nor more calming than standing in a damp cellar deep underground, whether it is in Tuscany or Piedmont or Umbria, before a series of massive old wooden barrels holding solid, rustic red wine destined to become over time a distinguished author of a consumable work about a piece of time and a particular place.