Barone Pizzini & Pievalta in Houston, Texas! @houstonsomms @CamerataHouston

barone pizzini houston

Above: on Wednesday, Barone Pizzini manager Silvano Brescianini addressed a group of Houston’s leading wine professionals at the Houston Sommelier Association (photo by top Houston wine blogger Amy Gross).

Barone Pizzini manager Silvano Brescianini took time out from his Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tour of the U.S. to spend a day in Houston, Texas, this week.

The highlight of his visit was the seminar and tasting he led at the Houston Sommelier Association, a group that offers weekly seminars and tastings to its members as well as anyone else who would like to attend the gatherings (free of charge).

As he walked them through Franciacorta’s different subsoil types and unique climatic conditions, Silvano was impressed by the members’ and other attendees’ professionalism and keen interest in the appellation and the wines.

But its was their collegiality and their sense of shared mission that really struck him as unique.

After the tasting, each participant — and there were roughly 30 people in attendance — worked to reset the room at Camerata (the popular wine bar where the events are held) and clean the 60+ glasses used for the tasting. It took the group about 10 minutes to turn the room around.

Houston is quickly becoming one of the A-list destinations for wine in the U.S. today and it’s not hard to understand why: the wine community there has the passion, drive, wine knowledge, talent and camaraderie that any major city needs to become a leader in fine wine.

Thank you again, Houston, Camerata, and the Houston Sommelier Association for your interest in Franciacorta and Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi!

We’ll post some dining highlights early next week. Stay tuned!

“Imagine a Winter Morning in an Organic Vineyard and the Lethargy of Nature”


Last Saturday, Pievalta hosted its annual event, “Imagine a Winter Morning in an Organic Vineyard and the Lethargy of Nature.”

Now in its second year, this fun gathering is led by our winemaker, Alessandro. He teaches the participants how to prune a vine. And then they go out and test their skills in the vineyard that lies next to the church at the entrance to the estate.

It was a beautiful, sunny day and the participants had a great time. We also found some very promising pruners!

Their long, hard morning in the vineyard ended with a wine tasting (including our Perlugo, Pievalta e Marche Rosso Igt) and was accompanied by local food products and our new olive oil.

—Silvia Loschi
manager, Pievalta

Barone Pizzini in Houston, Weds., Feb. 12, HSA seminar

houston sommelier association

Above: the Houston Sommelier Association is one of the leading wine professional trade groups in the USA today.

Barone Pizzini manager and Franciacorta Consortium Vice President Silvano Brescianini will be leading a Franciacorta seminar at the Houston Sommelier Association on Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

The event is free and will be held at Camerata at Paulies (1834 Westheimer Rd.).

RSVP is not required but appreciated. If you’d like to attend, please send an email to Jeremy Parzen (Barone Pizzini blogmaster) by clicking here.

We encourage Houston wine professionals to attend and everyone is welcome.

On the road in the U.S.: Gambero Rosso tastings February 2014

tre bicchieri tasting 2014

Barone Pizzini manager will be pouring the “Tre Bicchieri” winner Barone Pizzini 2009 Franciacorta Brut Nature at the Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri tastings in New York (Feb. 6), Chicago (Feb. 11), and San Francisco (Feb. 13) next month.

Click here for event and registration info.

The Gambero Rosso tastings are open to members of the wine trade and wine media.

If you live in one of the tour cities, please come and taste with Silvano!

The Brut Nature also appears in the Gambero Rosso’s list of “Tre Bicchieri Verdi” list.

This special recognition is reserved for wines “produced by wineries showing special environmental awareness” (verde means green in Italian).

Silvano will also be presenting a flight of Barone Pizzini and Pievalta wines at the Houston Sommelier Association on Wednesday morning, February 12.

The event is open to anyone who would like to attend.

Please contact Barone Pizzini blog master Jeremy Parzen for details by clicking here.

Vini di Vignaioli: the organic & biodynamic grape growers fair in Parma

vini di vignaioli

Above: The logo of the Vini di Vignaioli (Grape Grower Wines) fair gets straight to the point. Human + Grape Bunch = Wine.

Week before last, the Pievalta winery poured its wines at the Vini di Vignaioli fair held outside of Parma.

Vini di Vignaioli means “grape grower wines” and the concept behind the event is that presenters must be organic or biodynamic grape growers who don’t use chemicals in the vineyards or in the wine cellar, including cultured yeasts.

Unlike Italy’s other “natural wine” fairs, the tasting is not held during the same period as Vinitaly (the leading wine trade fair in Italy), when similar events — Vini Veri and Vinnatur — compete with each other for attendance.

In many ways, it’s a unique (and more low-key) fair that tries to embrace the ethos of the grape grower as farmer and lover of the land.

Pievalta has biodynamic certification but certification is not required for participation in the fair (see below).

The admission policy is based on the charter of the Vins Naturels association in France (with whom the fair is affiliated).

The charter, as translated by the association, follows.

A charter defining what makes a wine “natural.”

Preamble: A winemaker member of the Association of Natural Winemakers does what he says and says what he does. He is a farmer, filled with passion for his terroir and his craft, and this philosophy of farming shows through in his daily life.

a) Viticultural practices

Organic certification is desired.

In its absence, the applicant agrees in writing to abide by the rules of organic production (EC regulation 834/2007 as amended).

b) Winemaking practices:

A natural wine is one where the grapes were grown with minimal intervention and manipulation, and must follow the following rules:

– Manual harvesting only;

– It is forbidden to add cultured yeast to the grape must or the wine;

– Nothing may be added to the wine, except SO2 (sulfites) within the following maximums of sulfites allowed:

– 30 mg/l for sparkling and red wines,

– 40 mg/l for dry white wines,

– 80 mg/l for white wines with residual sugar > 5 g/l ;

– Minimal manipulations of the finished product.

Wines that do not meet the above listed criteria may not use the Association’s name in communication or marketing of any kind.

There is no internal surveillance done to ensure these conditions: this is only a charter of good conduct, which is signed by all winemaker members without exception, and based solely on trust.

Cantine Aperte – Open Cellars, a great wine event held throughout Italy

cantine aperte italy 2013

Last Sunday was “Cantine Aperte” (Open Cellars) day, a nation-wide event organized annually by the Movimento Turismo Vino, the Italian association for wine tourism.

Participating wineries — like Pievalta — open their doors for guided tastings, traditional cooking, winery tours, and a chance to interact with the winemakers and grape growers.

This year’s event at Pievalta (Castelli di Jesi) was a huge success with great attendance and wonderful feedback on the wines by the winery’s guests.

Click here for the Pievalta Facebook photo album to get a sense of how much fun this event is.

The Movimento Tursimo Vino is a great resource for enonauts on their way to Italy. And the site includes a English-language version.

We hope to see you for Cantine Aperte 2014!

cantine aperte italy 2014

A weekend of art & culture at Barone Pizzini: events and tastings Saturday & Sunday

Barone Pizzini, the first winery in Franciacorta to believe in natural viticulture as the key to attaining the highest quality possible, presents a series of events and tastings featuring painting, music, food, and… Franciacorta, of course!

Currently, the main tasting room at the winery features a show devoted to the paintings of Armando Riva, an artist who has lived in and depicted Lake Iseo and Franciacorta for many years now. His fascination to these two worlds is as vibrant as the works he produces.

sardines dried iseo

Above: Fresh-water sardines being dried along the banks of Lake Iseo. Chef Vittorio Fusari is a champion of locally sourced ingredients in his cooking. Image via Slowfood Oglio, Franciacorta, Lago d’Iseo.

Please call +39 030 9848311 or email to reserve!

June 1 & 2 (all-day events)
Winery Tour and Tastings

Franciacorta Brut and Satén paired with Traditional Dried Fresh-Water Sardines from Lake Iseo and other food pairing prepared by Chef Vittorio Fusari, known for his impeccably sourced ingredients and mastery in the kitchen.

Reservations required.
€15 per person.

June 2, 11:00 a.m.
Jazz & Ragtime Concert

followed by winery tour and tasting

Reservations required.
€18 per person.

Our Franciacorta is organically farmed and our carbon footprint is closely regulated. Your visit to the winery helps to promote awareness of Franciacorta wines and Franciacorta the appellation.

Edible wild grasses & wine pairing tomorrow at Barone Pizzini

Tomorrow, the Barone Pizzini winery will host a tasting and wine pairing featuring edible wild grasses from their vineyards.

The guided tour and tasting begins at 3:30 p.m.

The cost is €20 per person.

Please call +39 030 9848311 to reserve a spot (reservations required).

The idea behind the tasting is to show how biodiversity and the absence of chemicals in the vineyards is part of what allows the winemaker to create such vibrant and brilliant aromas and flavors in the wine.

Part of the reason why the grasses are edible is that Barone Pizzini — a certified organic farmer — doesn’t use chemicals in the vineyard.

edible herbs

Palio di San Floriano, a medieval pageant held in Jesi every year


Today is the last day of the Palio di San Floriano, a wonderful medieval pageant that takes place every year in the town of Jesi.

Here’s a note on the festival from Silvia Loschi, manager of the Pievalta winery.

This week, Jesi is the backdrop for the famous Palio di San Floriano, a festival that dates back to the thirteenth century.

The modern participants in the pageant include the 21 townships of Vallesina, home to the Castelli di Jesi DOC (where we make our wine).

The festivities — dancing, flag bearing, parades, medieval re-enactments — commemorate the Christian martyr St. Florian, a popular saint during medieval times.

In the festival’s main parade, the mayors of the town play the part of the gonfaloniers and they re-enact their villages’ historic submission to the township of Jesi.

Then the “men-at-arms,” representatives of the municipalities present in the parade, compete for the “Palio” (a banner) in the tournament of the archers.

palio di san floriano

Image via