Piedmontese in Italy
For many years on my trips to Piedmontese in Italy, I was knocked out by the taste and texture of Anselmo Viora’s artisanal natural wine. My friend Giovanni’s father had made wine from
his own grapes ever since he could remember. It was part of the culture in Sciolze, a small mountain village near Turin in northern Italy, where Anselmo was the local butcher.
I shouldn’t have been surprised by his prowess as a vintner because his skill and love of food was there for all to see and taste, in his home-made Salami. His reputation as one of the finest butchers in this part of northern Italy was well known. He kept his own, he killed his own and he made his own. Every Sunday there would be a queue of luxury Italian cars snaking around the levels of this small, stepped village, cut into Italy’s northern mountains. The occupants of the limousines, well heeled northern Italians, hard to impress, yet eager to buy from this maestro of meat. Anselmo’s wine, like his salami, was a food from God. Fulfilling, nourishing, satiating and promising little or no hangover despite my best endeavours to prove the contrary. This wine was pure, nothing added, natural. No terrible cocktail of sulphites and other such chemicals – does anyone remember the Austrian anti-freeze in wine scandal, of the mid 80’s? – No finings, no added sugar or yeast, Anselmo’s wine was naturally fermented grape juice – and nothing else! Fruit forward, with a taste of the terroir and a freshness I’d never experienced before in a red wine.
A food of the Gods – surely?
Buying from a supplier importing Italian and Spanish grapes I began my personal journey into wine.
Since then I have managed to perfect the route with only a few unnecessary off road detours along the way, and I am now able to replicate, with confidence, the sort of wine I remember first tasting in Anselmo’s house almost 30 years ago in Italy.
This year in the cellar, I am holding bottles of Tempranillo/Garnacha, from the 2018 harvest, which could be called Rioja – but for the fact that I’m in north London and not the Spanish appellation. The grapes were grown in Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain. They were pressed and vinified in Muswell Hill.
I have a limited number of this gorgeous, full bodied, juicy, natural wine for sale, either singly or in cases of 6, at the retail price of £12.99 a bottle. I am also supplying a number of local restaurants and specialist wine shops with this unfiltered, low intervention, vegan wine. Please contact me if you would like to buy, as stocks are limited
I also have a limited edition of this wine of the same vintage which I am bulk ageing in French Oak barrels for release in 2020.
Currently undergoing their first fermentation and bulk conditioning in two large stainless steel tanks, is a 2019 cuvee, pressed from single Spanish Tempranillo grapes, again grown in Valencia.
I have a very limited edition of Merlot from the 2018 pressing. The grapes were originally grown in Puglia on the spur of Italys south eastern tip and again pressed and vinified in Muswell Hill.
Anselmo joked that it was like a biblical wine, because all he did was crush the grapes, pray to the good lord and wait as the gift of natural yeast, did the Almighty’s hard work. A true alchemy of the natural world, creating the juiciest wine I have ever tasted. Perfect with pasta, perfect with pizza, in fact just perfect.
Why couldn’t I buy this delicious wine in England, surely M&S would love to stock it? But Anselmo only made enough for himself and his family. He kept it in his stone pantry in old bottles, used and re-used over the many years since his father had first revealed the family secret of this wonderful alchemy.
I was as fascinated, as our ancestors must have been when they first tasted naturally fermented grape juice and realised it was good. It was like being able to toast our ancestors with the same wine they had made thousands of years ago – and it tasted all the better for that.
It’s impossible to grow red wine grapes in England. There’s not enough sunshine, despite global warming. If I wanted to make my own natural red wine I would have source my wine grapes from elsewhere in Europe. It couldn’t be France, because despite the size of the country, the indigenous wine industry was actually quite small, they barely grew enough grapes to satisfy the demands of their own market. It would have to be Spain or Italy in honour of Anslemo Viora.
On Brew School days I will provide everything needed and will cover the basics with a practical brewing demonstration using raw grains, hops and basic equipment you can use at home.
The session typically runs between 4 – 5 hours and will include lunch, tea and coffee and an in depth discussion of each part of the process as we brew together.
Please contact for available dates and options.