We spend a lot of time talking about the great Italian red wines here at Xtrawine, but Italy also produces many absolutely amazing white wines that we feel everybody should take the time to enjoy. Some of these come from companies that have only recently started to make a name for themselves. Many of these have benefitted both from the knowledge of previous generations and technological advances of the modern age, such as the internet and the concept of eCommerce.
That brings us to today’s featured producer. Though this group may not have the lineage and prestige attached to some of Italy’s largest winemaking companies, they do have an awful lot of talent. This ensures they create affordable wines of great quality for consumers. Of course, we will be looking at those wines a little later on in the article. But first, let’s take a look at the story behind Bastianich and explain why we feel they deserve even more recognition for their work.
Many believe that the Bastianich story started in 1997. That is when the company acquired its first vineyards and began producing its first batches of wine. However, the story actually goes back a few decades further than that. It is actually in the 1970s and 80s that the Bastianich family first started coming to prominence.
It was during this time that the family owned a host of restaurants through which it would serve many wines produced in the Friuli region. The most prominent of these was in New York City in the United States, but the family also had several other restaurants elsewhere. As you can imagine, getting on the Bastianich menu was desirable to many wine producers of the time. The company offered a global reach to many smaller producers had no access to in the days before the internet and the family was keen to use this influence to promote what they saw as great wines coming from the region they had dedicated themselves to.
Working as restaurateurs came with other benefits too. The most important of these was access to some of the most educated minds in the Italian wine industry. The family’s passion for wine began to extend beyond merely serving great wines at its restaurants. They soon wanted to branch out further and begin producing their own wines as well. The connections built in the 1970s and 80s helped them to do that, as the family always had access to people who could advise them when needed.
That brings us back to 1997. The Bastianich family had established itself as one of the world’s foremost promoters of wines from the Friuli region. But it was with the purchase of their first vineyard that they really started to make a name for themselves. Building on their existing reputation allowed them a foothold into the wine industry, but it would be through the quality of their end product that the family would eventually be judged.
They family chose wisely when purchasing its vineyards. Each offers a different position to the others, allowing them to take advantage of an array of microclimates suitable for growing different grape varieties for use in their wines.
The very first of the Bastianich vineyards lies near the communes of Buttrio and Premariacco, which is one of the warmest areas of the Friuli region. Both the planes that dot the region and its closeness to the Adriatic Sea lend the vineyard a certain Mediterranean feel to it that ensures all of the wines produced there carry a certain distinction that marks them out as being from the Friuli region.
For the first few years of its ownership, the family focused on getting the absolute best out of the land they had purchased. Between 2000 and 2002, the family embarked on a replanting campaign that would see it replace many of the vines in its vineyard with new ones to ensure the continued quality and healthy production of grapes. These efforts were focused around the production of the family’s various Cru wines
Today, the company’s reach extends even further. Ten miles to the north of its first vineyard lies Cividale. That vineyard offers a much different complexion to the Bastianich family’s first. Rather than the warmness of the Adriatic Sea, Cividale is cooled by the breezes that come from the nearby mountains, which has allowed the company to grow an even wider variety of grapes and create even more types of wine.
Though Cividale is very important to the growth of Bastianich, it is to the first vineyard that we will return. Of the four Crus that come from that first vineyard, it is perhaps the Vespa Bianco that has gained the most acclaim. Without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at what makes this unique IGT wine so very special.
The 2014 vintage of the Bastianich Vespa Bianco may stand as the very best that the company has ever produced. In fact, our own testers at Xtrawine think so highly of it that they have awarded it a rating of 91 out of 100, a rare distinction that the Bastianich Vespa Bianco 2014 shares with many wines that have even greater renown. Best of all, it comes with a very affordable price tag, making this a great choice for those who want to expand their horizons a little.
So what makes the wine so special? This stunning white opens with a gorgeous bouquet that offers strong notes of citrus alongside the mineral notes you would expect from a wine produced so close to the Adriatic Sea. These initial aromas eventually give way to interesting notes of honey and ripe pears. The particularly attentive among you may even notice the smell of wild clovers somewhere in the mix.
All of this combines to create a beautiful white wine that has a superb structure and acidity that will make an immediate impression on all who drink it. The wine also has superb longevity, meaning it may well stand as the best wine to come from the Bastianich family.