The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas official blogger, who also happens to be a Houston-based wine writer, caught up with chamber member Giacomo Butera and Giulia Luccioli, national sales manager for the prestigious Italian winery group Sagrivit.
The occasion was a tasting of a selection of wines from the Sagrivit portfolio that will soon be landing in Texas for the first time.
Owned by the Order of Malta, the Sagrivit group includes two of Italy’s most famous legacy wineries, including Rocca Bernarda in Friuli (northeastern Italy) and Castello di Magione in Umbria (central Italy). The former produces classic Friulian wines using local grape varieties, including its celebrated Picolit, one of Italy’s rarest and most coveted dessert wines. The latter is producer of some of Italy’s most highly rated expressions of the indigenous Sangiovese grape as well as superb bottlings of international grape varieties (like Merlot) grown in the limestone rich soils of Umbria, a region that, like its neighboring Tuscany, is renowned for its ability to produce rich, fruit-driven wines with nuanced minerality.
Above: Sagrivit U.S. sales manager Giulia Luccioli (left, who hails from Umbria) and Giacomo Butera, a chamber member who represents the second generation of his family to thrive in the Texas wine and spirits trade.
Texas-based Italian wine professionals are certainly going to greet the news enthusiastically: Relatively little fine wine from Friuli, one of Italy’s greatest producers of both high-quality red and white wines, reaches Texas despite the renewed and growing interest in Italian wines here.
The 2014 Refosco del Peduncolo Rosso from Rocca Bernarda, noted our blogger, is going to be a sure-fire winner among Italian wine enthusiasts in Texas because so little of this distinctive native red grape makes it here.
The Sangiovese and international grape variety wines from Castello Magione in Umbria were equally impressive and represent extreme price-quality ratio in terms of their value and caliber. These are the types of wines, he noted, that perform exceptionally well in Texas, where high-end consumers are always looking for alternatives to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Congratulations, Giacomo, for landing this superb portfolio of wines, and thank you for expanding the ever-growing and always thrilling selection of Italian wines that are now available in our state.
Even 10 years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that so much great Italian wine would be available in Texas. And it’s thanks to independent and adventurous small business owners like Giacomo that have made all the difference.