Estate: Marco De Bartoli was born into two of the largest Marsala-producing families [Pellegrino and Florio) of the time. In 1978, following a successful career as a race car driver, Marco decided to revitilise the family vineyards and grow and vinify his own wines. The 20 hectare estate is close to the town of Marsala, at the westernmost tip of Sicily. In 1984 Marco acquired additional vines and a winery on the island of Pantelleria, closer to Tunisia than Italy. For snapshot into Marco’s life, click here.
Marco passed away in 2011 at the age of 66, his three children “carry the De Bartoli flag and his commitment to quality-driven, estate-grown wines that walk the line between old-fashioned and modern in the most graceful of ways”. They are committed to preserving and promoting indigenous grapes of Sicily, such as Grillo, Zibibbo, Catarratto and the red Pignatello [Perricone].
Winemaking: ‘Sole e Vento’ is a “tip of the hat to the two different sunny and windy islands from which it originates”, Sicily and Pantelleria. Grillo grapes are from 21 year old vines in sandy loam, level vineyards in Marsala, whilst Zibibbo hails from 29 year old vines in the volcanic, terraced slopes of Pantelleria. Organically farmed, hand harvested with only indigenous yeasts used in fermentation. Aged 7 months in stainless steel tanks, on its own lees.
Tasting Notes: Bright gold in colour with aromas of lemon, lake water and sea salt minerals. A sunny fusion of bright lemon and basil flavours, with grapefruit and saline minerals on the refreshing finish. Easy drinking, bright and unique, I was absolutely enamored with the herbaceous basil.
Blend of Zibibbo and Grillo [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Terre Siciliane IGP
Bottled by Società Agricola de Bartoli srl
Estate: The Burlotto estate was founded in the mid-1800’s by Giovan Battista Burlotto [called “il Commendatore” by friends and family]. A pioneering winemaker in the region, he was one of the very first in Barolo to sell his wines in bottle [rather than a cask or demijohn]. He was the official provider of wine to the Royal House of Savoy, and put his tiny village of Verduno, in Piedmont, on the map as a region of high quality wines. Following his death in 1927, the estate “faded into obscurity”.
Today, G.B Burlotto’s great-great-grandson Fabio Alessandria has not only revitalized the 15 hectare estate, but has become renowned as an artisanal, traditionalist winemaker. In addition to his stunning Barolo, he is reviving and safeguarding indigenous grapes such as Freisa and Pelaverga. His character driven wines are famous for their purity and elegance.
Winemaking: The estate is organic but not certified. Striving to be as natural as possible, minimal intervention is observed in both the vineyards and cellar. Freisa grapes were hand harvested from vineyards with a mix of calcareous limestone with a muddy tendency. Aged for 10 months Allier big oak casks.
Tasting Notes: Ruby red in colour with aromas of strawberry, vanilla, bramble and woods. Mouth puckering acidity and grippy tannins support fresh strawberry, raspberry and warm summer earth notes. Traces of sandalwood linger delightfully on the dry, mineral finish. Engaging and well balanced, fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes. [It was wonderful with rich, earthy, black truffle pasta.]
Bottled by Marina Burlotto
$22 [average price]
Estate: Following over a decade of working with organic vines, 4th generation winemaker Dionisio de Nova García returned to his family vineyards in Castilla. He is a pioneering force in biodynamic and organic farming. His cosmic calendar and planetarium in the winery have earned the winery’s nickname “The Winery of the Stars”. For a deeper look into his star based farming, click here. The original cellar dating to the 19th century contains his renowned clay amphora, used for fermenting and ageing. Click here for details on the benefits and effects of clay in his winemaking.
Winemaking: Hand harvested grapes are fermented with wild yeasts, malolactic fermentation in clay amphorae with bâtonnage of its lees. Very low sulfites, unfiltered. Aged in old clay amphora.
Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of summer fresh berries. Loaded with fresh, sweet cherry, blackberry and raspberry, accented by pepper spice and earth hints. Good acidity keeps it refreshing, finishing clean and fruity. Fantastic on its own and super versatile at the table.
Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
Estate Bottled by Dionisos Biológica S.L.
$46 [3L box equivalent to 4 750ML bottles]
Estate: With its distinctive microclimate, the Saar region of the Mosel is regarded as one of the premium Riesling producing areas, and winemaker Florian Lauer is recognized as “one of the greatest winemakers in this sacred place”. Lauer’s vineyards are located on the hillsides of the Kupp, and it has been his life’s work to preserve his family’s old vines [up to 100 years in age]. For an in-depth look at Florian Lauer’s pioneering Riesling and estate history, click here.
Philosophy: Lauer’s goal is to craft “stylish wines with elegance, not too alcoholic but with depth and density”.
Winemaking: The estate is organic and adamantly utilizes spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts. Vineyard parcels are harvested separately and fermented with their own natural yeasts, allowing the vineyard’s character full expression. The word “fass” [barrel] seen on many of the labels, is an identifier of each wine and vineyard parcel. ‘Senior’ is considered by Lauer as “a village-level wine”, however it is a single vineyard wine with an average vine age of 70 years, sourced completely from the Ayler Kupp.
Tasting Notes: Pale gold with green hues in colour. Aromas of apple, honey and minerals abound. Sunny apple, honey, lemon and a trace of rosemary are underscored by bright acidity. A nuance of petrol accents fresh citrus and minerals on the clean finish. Well balanced and focused.
Enjoy now thru 2026
Winery: Beginning with just one vineyard in St. Helena in 1993, Larry Turley established Turley Wine Cellars. Today Turley Wine Cellars consists of 38 different old vine vineyards throughout California. Most the vineyards are single varietal Zinfandel or Petite Sirah [some vines even date back to the 1800’s]. “Larry has never met an old vine vineyard he didn’t like”, and the winery excels at crafting wines from these single vineyards.
Philosophy: “We aim to be stewards of some of California’s most distinctive vineyards,producing authentic wines that reflect their heritage.”
Winemaking: All of Turley’s vineyards are either Certified Organic by California Certified Organic Farmers, or in the process of being certified. A single estate vineyard wine, grapes are sourced from the 25 acre Bechthold Vineyard. Planted in 1886, this is the oldest continuously farmed, non-irrigated Cinsault vineyard in the country. Fermented with indigenous yeasts.
Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with aromas of rose, black cherry and wisps of sweet smoky mesquite. Bright raspberry and cherry run alongside a streak of concentrated black cherry. Silky tannins compliment the clean fruit finish. Well balanced and super easy drinking, this is fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.
Produced & Bottled by Turley Wine Cellars
Enjoy now thru 2018