Cultural entrepreneurship on the rise among Italian winemakers

A photo of Vigne del Vulture’s vineyards in Aglianico del Vulture, taken September 20. Image via Gabriele Ladislao Moccia’s Facebook.

While Tracie P, Georgia P, and I were in Melfi (Basilicata) a few weeks ago, we had the chance to meet and taste with a young producer, Gabriele Ladislao Moccia. His winery, Vigne del Vulture, is new on the scene: a native of Vulture and purveyor of fine food products, Gabriele has been using his contacts in the nordic countries to distribute his wines with great success.

Above: I wouldn’t call Gabriele’s wines classic in style but they are a true expression of the grape variety. Note the dark color and transparency of his 2007, which I liked a lot.

His wines aren’t yet available in the U.S. but I wanted to write a note about them because I believe that Gabriele represents a new trend of young Italian entrepreneurs who recognize the value of authenticity in their wines.

Vigne del Vulture’s wines are a little rough around the edges and they still need to come into focus. But I was impressed by Gabriele’s resolve to make wines that truly reflect the appellation.

A generation ago, many Italian winemakers set out to make wines for the American market: if you follow along here at Do Bianchi, you’ve seen my reportage on wine industry greats like Ezio Rivella who have declared — very publicly — that they were “deliberately adopting a California style.”

Above: I thought that Gabriele’s 2007 showed the best in the flight we tasted. It tended toward modernity but didn’t ever lose its continuity with true varietal expression and the appellation.

As we traveled through Italy on this last trip, I found more and more signs of a new generation of young Italians who are looking to enter the U.S. market with wines that reflect their local traditions, even if they do lean toward modernity.

Of all the winemakers we visited, Gabriele was one of a score of thirty-somethings who embrace authenticity (if not tradition) in their approach to their products.

This trend is the opposite of the generation that came before them. Perhaps they take their inspiration more from a renewed sense of identity and purpose than from old man Mondavi and the Napa Valley revolution.

I liked Gabriele a lot and I’m looking forward to tasting the new releases next year when they arrive.

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