I was first introduced to the wines of Albino Armani at a dinner several years. The dinner was hosted by the very interesting and knowledge Egle Capilupi, wife of Albino Armani. For the first time, I tasted wines from the Casetta grape, known in the local dialect as Foja Tonda (round leaf grape), an ancient variety cultivated in Valdadige, between the Veneto and Trentino. Until the 1980’s, the variety was on its way to extinction until it was rediscovered by Albino Armani. I have enjoyed all of their wines ever since.
Recently, Susannah Gold, a well respected wine professional, organized a Webinar event with the wines of Albino Armani. It was called Albino Armani Valentine’s Day Webinar. The speaker was Albano Armani himself and I was happy to take part.
The family has been farming in this area since 1607. They have 5 wine cellars in 3 different regions in Northeastern Italy in what is known as the “Trivento”: Friuli, Veneto and Trentino, all overseen by Albino, his wife Egle and their son Federico.
While they produce many excellent wines, Pinot Grigio has always been a grape of great interest to Albino who is a Pinot Grigio specialist. He feels that the “Trivento” is the best place to grow Pinot Grigio because of the climate and the soil. They do not use artificial pesticides or chemicals. Their Pinot Grigio is now part of a project on indigenous yeast undertaken with a local research institute where only the best strains are selected, tested and used. The indigenous yeasts which have long thrived in the vineyard’s climate conditions, continue to produce wines that embody the flavor profile of the territory. Albino feels that because this area is so close to the Alps, climate change has not been a problem. In his Pinot Grigio Albino likes to keep the acidity higher than the PH. Since 2016 Albino has been Chairman of the Consorzio Delle Venezie DOC so his name is linked with Pinot Grigio in more ways than one.
Prosecco Rosé DOC Extra Dry Millesimo NV made from 90% Glera and 10% Pinot Noir. The production area is Alta Grave Friulana and the training system is Guyot. When the cuveé is ready a long second fermentation takes place in pressure tanks ( Charmat method) for at least 60 days in order to obtain a more refined perlage and complex aromas from the Pinot Noir. This is a fruit forward wine with hints of lilacs, strawberry and raspberry. $16
Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave DOC 2020 The soil composition is loose and well aired and composed of typical calcareous white river stones dragged down by the flooding of the alpine brooks. The training system is Guyot. Fermentation and maturation is in stainless steel tanks in contact with the grapes’ own yeasts until the wine is bottled. The wine has hints of citrus, pears, apples and a touch of almonds in the aftertaste with good minerality. $13
Pinot Grigio “Colle Ara” Valdadige Terradeiforti DOC 2020 made from 100% Pinot Grigio from selected grapes cultivated on ancient terraces that are perfectly exposed to the late afternoon sun in the southern part of Valdadige in the Veneto. The vineyards are at 230 meters and are in the National Park of Messina. The soil is rich in glacier debris and is mainly calcareous. The training system is guyot. The grapes are soft pressed and cold maceration takes place with the skins for one night. Maturation in contact with the grapes’ yeasts in stainless steel tanks and partially in wood until the wine is bottled. Albino Armani said, “On the nose the wine offers fruity notes with scents of pomegranate and peach. On the palate it is smooth and persistent, with a pleasant sapidity which is typical of the wines springing from the valley.” The pink Pinot Grigio grapes are cold macerated with the skins, giving the wine a good structure and a sophisticated ‘gold rose color’ known as Ramato. He also explained that the juice of the Pinot Nero grape is white but the skins are pink and his grandfather sold the wine as a Rosé. The wine has hints of yellow fruit, peach and pomegranate with nice minerality and good acidity. $22
Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Classico Superiore 2018 made from Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella from high hills in the Valpolicella Classico production area at 300/500 meters. The soil is calcareous deposits on volcanic rock. The training system is traditional pergola Veronese on stone wall terraces, called marogne in local dialect. The fresh Valpolicella wine is poured over the Amazon pomace that is still full of un-fermented sugars and aromatic compounds that start a second fermentation. Then punching down the cap takes place and also some delestage until the complete depletion of the sugar content making the new wine rich and sweet in structure with sweet tannins. The wine is aged in oak barrels. The wine has hints of cherry and other red fruits with a touch of chocolate and a note of coffee. $20