I have spent thousands of days in Italian vineyards. From the Alps of Alto Adige to the volcanoes of Sicilia, I have walked through rows of vines, touched the earth, smelled the air--and, of course, tasted the wines. Growing more than 2,000 varietals, Italy is champion of diversity. Across Italy, more than 27,000 different producers make wines that show a rich tapestry of characteristics and terroir. Journalists often ask me if I believe Italian wine suffers from not having a single identity, and my answer is always the same: Italy's diversity is her identity and her greatest asset. This is the common element found in all subjects that Italian winemaking masters.
Both Cinzia Merli's Le Macchiole and Gianfranco Soldera's Case Basse estates are in Toscana, but they couldn't be more different. Still, these two winemakers embody Italy's diversity in their grapes, their traditions, their makers' dedication, and their divergent histories. Le Macchiole, in Bolgheri, is a maker of boutique Super-Tuscan wines; Case Basse, as my clients know, sits in Montalcino, where it makes the best Brunello out there (or at least it did, until Soldera left the consortium--now it makes outstanding wines that can't be called "Brunello"). Working with different grapes, different protocol, and different traditions, these two estates seem to share little in common, yet they share the beauty of Italy.
Today, I'm very proud to bring back the benchmark 2013 Le Macchiole Paleo Rosso, a gorgeous bottling of the estate's famed Cabernet Franc. Cinzia treats her vines like they're her children, giving them what they need in order to be their best. This '13 Paleo Rosso shows her care, and it will drink beautifully for years. I'm also very proud to say that I managed to secure a few magnums of Gianfranco Soldera's transcendent 2005 Brunello Riserva in magnum. It's extremely difficult to get back-vintage Soldera Brunelli--even for me! This wine is majestic, and it'll make collectors intensely happy.
Finally, there's one singular bottle of Champagne from Jacques Selosse because who doesn't love a great Champagne!