I’m absolutely elated to present another mixed pack of wines chosen by our good friend Anthony Gismondi, of Gismondi On Wine. The focus of Anthony's When Less Is Far More pack is a mutual friend, Alberto Antonini, one of the world’s few savant winemakers. Alberto describes himself as a 'peasant' (admittedly with a PhD) and his true gift is knowing when to get out of the way of vines and wines. He’s intuitive, passionate, atuned, and utterly beloved around the wine world.
Looking at all the past offerings pitched our way, I have concluded that New District customers are spoiled. Clever themes, top wines and fair prices make it difficult for any outsider, like me, to come up with an equally tantalizing offer. But, I think I may have found a theme you will enjoy this month. It’s not about a grape, a place, or even a price. It’s far more interesting; it’s about an Italian magician, consulting winemaker Alberto Antonini.
These days, Antonini’s reputation precedes him. He is the champion of the less is more cause, but, is quick to caution that one needs to know a lot before he or she can do less. No one would argue that great wine is always about site, but terroir without energy, ideas, and vision, is simply a piece of dirt and that is where Antonini enters the picture.
Antonini loves to discover the history of a place, about the people who make it tick and the information they have amassed over generations. He is also genuinely interested in old vineyards and the life of the vines that came before. It’s a vital connection to the past, and what has worked for generations. He talks incessantly about purity, tension and vitality in wine. He shuns new oak, over-extracted ‘dead’ fruit, chemicals and additives of any kind.
Today, the soft-spoken oenologist freely admits it took him many years to unlearn all the things he was taught in wine school—namely that Mother Nature was the enemy that need controlling. His personal mantra made a 360 degree turn years ago. Today he preaches drinkability and simplicity, challenging consumers to forsake the Schwarzenegger wines for those that resemble Michelangelo’s David.
Antonini’s philosophy has found favour around the world, including in our own Okanagan Valley where he works closely with winemaker Matt Dumayne and the team at Okanagan Crush Pad, spearheading a ground breaking bio-dynamic project in Summerland’s Garnet Valley. When he’s not in B.C. or tending his own vines in the heart of Chianti Classico at Poggiotondo, his family estate, Antonini has numerous projects all over the world to keep him sharp: Armenia (Areni); Argentina (Altos las Hormigas, Argento, Familia Zuccardi, Trapiche and more including a new project in Patagonia); Uruguay (Bodega Garzón); Italy (Castello Di Bossi, Renieri and Tassi among more than a dozen others); Portugal (Sogrape); Chile (Vina Leyda, Intriga, William Fèvre, Luis Felipe Edwards and Concha Y Toro); California (Seghesio and Renwood) and Australia (Greenock Farm, Barossa Valley and Greenstone – Heathcote).
With all that as background, we offer a special selection of wines from some of Alberto Antonini’s projects which show off his less is always more philosophy. Each bottle tells a unique story of place and people and time. If you can work those parameters into your wine tasting rituals, you will have found the key to enjoy the soul of every wine.
Cheers from all of us at Gismondi on Wine,