visit to Paolo Bea

Really wonderful time this morning, with nearly equal parts of it spent with Sergio (agronomist), and Giampiero; learned quite a lot, including that Paolo’s driving license was recently renewed, even at 90 years. As Sergio and I made our way from the new cellar to the old one, under the home of Paolo and his wife, there was Paolo, carrying in the groceries, multiple 6-packs of (1,5L) water, etc.; he’s doing great. What a treat today was, and a great way to conclude my 5 days in Montefalco area. Giampiero is the stuff of legend; totally brilliant.

(wasn’t quite sure what to give Giampiero as a gift, but a bottle of 2010 Rhys Alpine Vineyard caught my eye this morning, and so it is - after, he was quite ready to inform me of Toni Cotturi, a natural winegrower in Sonoma, I believe (I’m not familiar with him).

Pretty much the grandfather of organic in California viticulture.

Whose wines (IME) can veer from quite wonderful to horribly flawed…

The essence of natural winemaking in a nutshell. And as much as I love the Paolo Bea wines, I’ve had plenty of bottles that were flawed/problematic, or at least exceedingly strange. The wine is so idiosyncratic, however, that it’s always tough deciding what to make of those bottles–i.e. sometimes unclear if there’s brett, if the wine was cooked, or if one is just supposed to “embrace” the flavors of stewed prune, blood & iron.

Very jealous Tim, sounds like a good visit!

Did you happen to find out if Paolo Bea has a library of wine available for purchase? I tried a 96 Pagliaro a couple years and absolutely loved it. I’m noticing it’s hard to find aged PB, so hoping the next time I’m out that way I can purchase some older bottles with great provenance.

Thanks for sharing this Tim. I would love to visit him someday. He is an icon and makes wild and terrific wines of character.