Natural Wines - decide for yourself

28 January 2013

some naturals

The 5th Edition of the Vini Naturali wine fair, organized by the restless wine woman Tiziana Gallo, the biggest wine fair in Rome completely dedicated to natural winemakers and their wines, is around the corner. The fair is not the only one in Italy, and it seems like a new enoteca dedicated to these wines is opening every week. Like them or not, I would say these wines are here to stay. The name? Not so sure on that one - There is still no legal description anywhere and in the meantime I prefer calling them “minimal invervention” wines.

If you are in Rome on February 9th & 10th and are interested in wine, you should really go to this event and see for yourself what you think of these wines. If language barriers, timidity or lack of basis knowledge (in wine and/or natural wine) is hindering you, join our annotated tour on the 10th.

In any case, here is a list of recommended reading:

What is Natural Wine? by Isabelle Legeron M, one of the biggest supporters of the style

An Agnostic’s View of Natural Wines by Tim Atkin MW

Wines Worth a Taste but not the Vitriol by Eric Asimov on NYT’s The Pour

EWBC: Natural Wine Edition by Alice Feiring (here a video of the panel she is referring to - I was in the audience)

Crackdown on Natural Wine by Rebecca Gibb on Wine Searcher is based on a true incident that happened here in Rome past summer and demonstrates the legal vacuum

The Natural Wine Debate Gets Ugly by Jeremy Parzen on HP, my friend Jeremy does an excellent job of putting both sides of the story together

And here are the best places in Rome where you can buy and/or drink some examples of natural wines if you are missing the Vini Naturali:

Enoteca Bulzoni the first in Rome dedicated to natural wines. Don’t let the posh and out-of-the-way Parioli district deter you and enjoy an aperitivo here.

Les Vignerons support small businesses - Antonio has some of the best natural wines at good prices. It is just a tram or bus ride away from Termini central station.

Enoteca Trucchi is even smaller but Stefania’s passion for these wines is no less

La Barrique has great food to go with all your orange wines.

Update: Here is the only map of Rome you will ever need - where to buy and drink natural wines, put together by Katie Parla.

All You Need - a (non) guide to gifting the winelover in your life

18 December 2012

all you need

This is all you need to enjoy wine.

A good glass - one that let’s you see, smell and taste the wine in the best possible way. That means glass/crystal (not plastic), a stem (do not buy stemless wine glasses - no, being able to put them in the dishwasher is not a valid criterion for choosing wine glasses), a big enough bowl size, thin rimmed. Yes, it is true that there is a specific “best” glass for different kinds of wine, but if you invest in a so called universal/tasting/classic one (if there is a choice, go for the red wine or Bordeaux version), you will be all set. The ones I use are not available to consumers, here are very similar ones, and I love these others, as well.

A good corkscrew - one that let’s you pull a cork easily and without breaking it. We use these, all wine professionals I know use these or very similar ones. The important point is the double-lever/hinge. You do not need any fancy and expensive and “interesting” corkscrews. Invest 40 seconds and watch this video to see how to use it. You will never need anything else.

A good wine - one that you, the winelover, enjoys. Not the most expensive. Not the most famous. One you buy from people (the winemaker, the wine store attendant), not a supermarket shelf. It helps if you can define your taste and say more than Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Grigio. If you don’t know what else to say, come to a tasting of ours to learn what acidity, tannins, minerality, body are; which of those you like; and how to find wines that fit your taste.

Nice-to-haves are books about wine, a vacuvin set, a cooling collar, reusable multi-bottle wine totes.

Things you do not need - a bicycle wine rack, a corkcicle, wine charms, aerator, decanter, wine aroma kit, drip stopper, most “accessories/gadgets”.

The New York Times Has Judged Us

11 October 2012

In an article about high-end revelations in Rome (go read it all) that was published at the end of September, author Seth Sherwood says:


We are extremely honored to be considered one of the revelations in Rome by the Gray Lady - would just like to remind you that you can have your Italian wine revelation starting at just 50 Euros per person at one of our standard tastings - My Italians, Wine & Cheese Lunch and Sparkling Saturdays. Private tastings with special themes can be arranged upon request and will cost more; but then again, miracles were never cheap :)

We are in Rick Steves Rome 2013!

11 September 2012

A nice surprise this morning - Rick Steves, the #1 selling guide book for Rome, has included our food tours as well our wine tastings in the newest edition of the Rome guide book, under Resources for Foodies (page 357). Thank you Rick!