Anna Maria Abbona and her family in Dogliani If there is any producer in Dogliani who perfectly embodies the idea of stewardship of her heritage, it is Anna Maria Abbona. She was working as a successful graphic designer in 1989 when her father told her that he was ready to retire and sell his vineyards, some of them planted in the 1930s by her great grandfather. Anna Maria couldn’t bear to see her roots and traditions abandoned, so as a determined young woman with school-age children, she returned to the farm with her architect husband, Franco Schellino. Her vineyards are the highest in Dogliani, and are perfectly suited to the classic style of Dolcetto that has reemerged in the last decade: violet colored, moderately tannic, deeply satisfying wine to drink with food. Today, Anna Maria Abbona leads the elite of Dogliani.
Gianni Piccoli in 2018 (photo: Terry Moore) We are sad to share with you the news of the passing of Gianni Piccoli, the founder of Corte Gardoni. Agronomist, viticulturist, winemaker, and passionate defender of authenticity, Gianni Piccoli’s beautiful wines have been prominently featured at Moore Brothers for more than two decades. You probably know them yourself. More than that, he was our dear friend. And no one at Moore Brothers was closer to Gianni than my friend and colleague, Joe DiLuzio, who would receive a bi-weekly phone call at the shop from Gianni to chat about current events, gossip about his neighbors, and either celebrate or lament a recent performance by his beloved squadra di calcio, AC Milan. If one of us answered the New Jersey store phone to a poor connection and a raspy voice on the other end asking, “c‘é Giuseppe?” we knew who was calling. “Ironically, my first encounter with Gianni was very inauspicious — twenty years ago at a gathering of French and I
Roberto and Francesco Vezzelli When Francesco Vezzelli established his artisan winery in 1958, most Lambrusco growers were still polyculture farmers who sold their grapes at the local cooperative. If they made wine, it was only for friends and family.But beginning in the 1960s, more and more of the best growers began to estate-bottle their traditional wines, and today, fine authentic small-farm Lambrusco heads every list of the gastronomic treasures of Emilia-Romagna. Francesco’s son Roberto Vezzelli continues the work begun by his father, farming 16 hectares of vines on the mid-slope of the hills outside of Modena.
Marjorie and Stéphane Gallet in Montner “Old vines, old soil. I’m the only young thing at the domaine,” Marjorie told an interviewer shortly after she created Domaine Le Roc des Anges in 2001. She was twenty-three.The estate grew to international fame in the hands of this “prodigy.” In 2008 she was joined by her husband, Stéphane, who had been working at the Mas Amiel, a famous producer of Maury. Together they created the tiny “Terres de Fagayra” to produce beautiful, rare bottlings of fortified wines under the appellation, Maury.
Lydia Cornu-Camus and Christophe Pertuzot Classic, real-world-priced, estate-bottled Burgundy is always a happy surprise. The land is expensive, the climate is unreliable, and demand usually exceeds supply. But if you’re willing to look beyond the famous villages on the Route des Grands Crus, there are still discoveries to be made: expressive Burgundies, white and red, grown by passionate stewards of the genuine Burgundian tradition. The Cornu family has lived in Echevronne, about seven kilometers northwest of Beaune, since the thirteenth century. Pierre Cornu joined his parents in the late 1970s, and like so many of the best of his generation, was the first in his family to estate-bottle the wine. In 1981 he married Bernadette Camus, and in 2007, after completing her studies in enology at Beaune, their daughter Lydia, along with her husband Christophe Pertuzot (previously of Domaine Leroy), joined them as co-gerants, ensuring the continuity of this dynamic ten-hectare estate.
Johannes and Kathrin Davaz There are eighteen contiguous hectares of sloping schistose clay that include the highest vineyards in Chianti, all perfectly sheltered from the Tramontane (north wind) by the surrounding oak forest. In addition to Solaia and Tignanello, neighbors include Fontodi, Castello dei Rampolla, and Villa Caffaggio. Documents in the archives of the abbey of Badia a Passignano, which owned Poggio al Sole until the 1960s, show that olives and wine were grown there as early as the 12th century. Johannes “Giovanni” Davaz was a newly minted enologist when his family bought the estate and he moved there in 1990.
Aljoscha Goldschmidt When Swiss architect Wendel Gelpke bought Corzano in the early 70s, he promised the Marchese Ippolito Niccolini that his run-down seventy-hectare estate would remain intact forever. He made the same covenant with the Marchesa Rangoni-Machiavelli, when he bought her Fattoria di Paterno. Together, they form a 140-hectare estate that produces some of the finest olive oil, sheep’s milk cheeses, and wine in all of Tuscany. A member of Wendel Gelpke’s family manages every activity, including the holiday rental of the beautifully restored farmhouses and apartments. Aljoscha Goldschmidt, who is the managing agronomist and winemaker, is Wendel Gelpke’s nephew. Aljoscha tells his story
Luca Ferraro, his mother, Antonella, his sister, Paola, and his wife, Giulana Danilo Ferraro set out with the goal of producing fine, estate-bottled Prosecco in the early 1980s when he was an oenology student. His father-in-law had a hectare of old Glera (the grape that used to be known as Prosecco) and Malvasia, and sold the wine in in demijohn to locals. After completing his studies, Danilo went to work at a nearby distillery, and helped his father-in-law in the vineyard in his spare time. He soon realized that Prosecco was the “heart and soul” of the Colli Asolani, and set out to establish what has become the leading estate in the region. When we met him, his tiny winery was about the size of an American, two-car garage–producing the best Prosecco we’d ever tasted. Today Danilo continues the work with his son Luca, who oversees the organic farming of their vineyards…and the winery is a little larger, just off of the family home. Here's an Italian television
Alain Bortolussi and his family in Madiran In 1952, Alain Bortolussi's grandfather, an immigrant from the Veneto, purchased the eighteenth-century château and the surrounding 25 hectares of vines, which had just been classified under AOC regulations as Madiran and Pacherenc du Vic Bilh. At the time, it had almost no value. Over the next thirty-five years, most of the estate was replanted with the best clones of Tannat and Cabernet Franc for the Madiran, along with a tiny one-hectare parcel of local white varieties for the Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. Alain, who is the first to bottle wine at the estate, took charge in 1991. When we met him in 2013, he was just completing the restoration of the château. In 2016, his daughters, Claire, and Marion, joined Alain at Château Viella, and in 2019, on Alain’s nominal “retirement,” have taken the reins of this jewel of a winegrowing estate.
Frédéric Méhaye The estate lies on a privileged location: atop a rare mound of Garonnaise gravel, looking directly down on the Gironde estuary. Château Sipian had always been classified a Cru Bourgeois of the Médoc, until the vineyards were pulled up and abandoned in the 1950s. Bernard and Nicole Méhaye purchased the estate in 1978, and planted the first seven hectares of Merlot. But the real history of Château Sipian begins with their son Frédéric, whose risk-taking vision and hard work have lifted the estate into the front rank of Médoc producers. Today, Frédéric’s son, Quentin Méhaye, has taken over responsibility for much of the work in the twenty-five hectares of mostly 30-year-old vines.