Last week at Vinitaly, we were pleased to sign agreements to import the wines of two additional producers, Musto-Carmelitano of Basilicata andMustilli of Campania.
A newcomer to the scene, young Elisabetta Musto-Carmelitano, has made an auspicious debut with her Aglianico del Vulture. She grows only Aglianico and, as I mentioned in a mondosapore post last year, some of those vines approach a century in age. Please click here and here for articles and pictures of Betty, her family and the vineyards.
Domenico Selections is importing her Serra del Prete and Pian del Moro wines, which we expect to be in the USA before the end of summer. Each of the wines is a cru, with the Serra del Prete spending no time in wood, while the Pian del Moro ages in tonneaux. Total production is less than 750 cases a year, and we hope eventually to persuade her to sell it all to us!
Northern Basilicata is the home of the Aglianico del Vulture DOC. The band running from Rionero to Maschito is the best part of that production area.
As you may know, the Aglianico del Vulture zone of Basilicata is one of the best and most distinctive areas for wines made of the Aglianico grape. The soil is volcanic, and the wines have a pronounced minerality that recalls the fierceness of the soil and terrain. Powerful, deep-colored, savory with fruit and herbs, this is the type of wine that you remember once you've tasted it. Betty's vineyards are in Maschito, a village in the very heart of the Aglianico del Vulture DOC.
(In case you're wondering, we always use refrigerated trucks and containers, so summertime shipments are not a problem. We also use Gori of Livorno to pick up and ship -- the best such company in Italy.)
By contrast, the Mustilli family and azienda agricola are well-known to winelovers in America.
I first met Paola Mustilli three years ago at a tasting in New York, and we have remained in touch ever since. Although at the time I had no thought of ever importing, I was intrigued by the story of Leonardo
Mustilli's campaign to "rescue" the Falanghina grape from obscurity -- indeed, from possible disappearance in the rush to a misguided modernity. Click here for that fascinating story, and here for notes of the first tasting. The only thing that I would alter is my overpraise for the Falanghina of that period. It's a far better wine now, cleaner and crisper, bursting with minerality and a beautiful balance of acidity and fruit. (I loved the reds, especially the Cesco di Nece -- and, obviously, still do.)
The Mustilli winery and vineyards are the dominant feature of the tiny Sant'Agata de' Goti appellation, which lies roughly midway between the Campanian coast and the chilly uplands of Irpinia, where our producers Angelarosa and Boccella are located.
We have been engaged in discussions with Paola and her sister Annachiara, the winemaker, for a year, and we are eager to bring on what is a large producer for Domenico Selections.
By the way, if you ever want to stay at a special sort of "agriturismo," you might stay at their palazzo, which is located in the heart of the ancient and beautiful town of Sant'Agata de' Goti. Here is a link if you feel like indulging yourself. (Look under Lifestyle.)