Winebow Founder and CEO Leonardo LoCascio recently unveiled what he called Italy’s 25 most influential wines as part of his company’s 25th anniversary celebration. As expected, many of the wines were drawn from Winebow’s extensive Italian portfolio, but LoCascio also singled out several wines imported by other companies.
“These are wines that are critically important to me,” said LoCascio. “Not just Winebow wines, but Italian wines that made Italian wines what they are today.” Today, more Italian wines are imported into the U.S. than from any other country, and imports (measured by value) of Italian wines have increased in 14 out of the last 15 years.
LoCascio started Winebow in 1980, and for the first seven years worked out of his home office. “There was nothing wrong with what I was doing at Citibank, but there was something missing,” relates LoCascio. From those humble beginnings, Winebow has grown to handle 1.3 million cases this year, or as LoCascio puts it, “Every 2.7 seconds, someone is buying a Winebow wine.”
Among the Winebow selections on the list, notable wines included the Cantina di Venosa Terre di Orazio Dry Muscat from Basilicata. “Muscat is not popular. Basilicata is not popular. And those are the kinds of wines that turn me on,” said LoCascio. With the other southern Italian wines he selected, it shows the importance LoCascio ascribes to southern Italy and the islands.
That LoCascio’s brand new Poggio al Tesoro Dedicato a Walter made the list came as a bit of a surprise, since this was the wine’s debut in the States. However, given his personal involvement, it should have been an obvious choice. Owned by LoCascio with partner and Amarone-producer Marilisa Allegrini, Poggio al Tesoro, in Bolgheri, is LoCascio’s first effort as a vintner. This micro cuvée (250 cases) of 100 percent Cabernet Franc is dedicated to the memory of Allegrini’s brother, Walter.
Wines LoCascio singled out from other importers included Gaja’s Sorì Tildìn; Ornellaia’s Masseto, which “showed the quality of Tuscan Merlot”; Antinori’s Tignanello, which “created the super Tuscan category”; Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia, “the first world-class wine from Bolgheri”; Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio, which “created the Pinot Grigio category”; and Riunite, whose “marketing helped introduce Italian culture to mainstream America.”
Leonardo LoCascio’s 25 Most Influential Italian Wines of the Last 25 Years
- Riunite Lambrusco (Lombardy)
- Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio (Alto Adige)
- Kris Pinot Grigio (Delle Venezie)
- Cantina di Venosa Terre di Orazio Dry Muscat (Basilicata)
- Falesco Vitiano (Umbria)
- Taurino Salice Salentino Riserva (Apulia)
- Tasca d’Almerita Rosso del Conte (Sicily)
- Montevetrano (Campania)
- Morgante Don Antonio Nero d’Avola (Sicily)
- Argiolas Turriga (Sardinia)
- Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia (Bolgheri)
- Antinori Tignanello (Tuscany)
- Tenuta dell’Ornelaia Masseto (Bolgheri)
- Altesino Montosoli Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany)
- Poggio Scalette Il Carbonaione (Tuscany)
- Tua Rita Giusto di Notri (Tuscany)
- Poggio al Tesoro Dedicato a Walter (Bolgheri)
- Coppo Pomorosso Barbera d’Asti (Piedmont)
- Giacosa Barbaresco Asili (Piedmont)
- Gaja Sorì Tildìn (Piedmont)
- Roberto Voerzio Barolo Vecchie Viti Capalot e delle Brunate (Piedmont)
- Zardetto Prosecco Brut (Veneto)
- Zenato Valpolicella Ripassa (Veneto)
- Allegrini Amarone (Veneto)
- Maculan Torcolato (Veneto)
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