Over the last three decades, a family-owned winery tucked away in the lesser-known Umbria region of central Italy has crafted wines that win accolades and high ratings from international wine critics.
Like other boutique wineries, Paolo e Noemia d'Amico produces limited quantities of its wines which are not easily available on the retail market.
But starting today, wine lovers can find signature wines from this winery and other boutique wines from Italy's wine-producing regions at ST Wine Club's online site.
ST Wine Club is launching a new series of wine packages featuring Italian artisanal wines in a special collaboration with one of Singapore's largest Italian wine distributors, Angra Wine & Spirit.
Mr Giacomo Pallesi, 30, who owns Angra Wine & Spirit, says: "We are showcasing small-production boutique wines that offer new experiences for those who want to explore beyond more accessible mainstream choices."
Angra has a network of 34 wineries in Italy as well as those from other wine-producing countries.
Paolo e Noemia d'Amico belongs to Mr Pallesi's uncle, who started the winery in 1985. It was his uncle's passion for wine which influenced Mr Pallesi to enter the business.
The winery produced the highly rated Cabernet Franc Atlante 2011, which turned out to be a hit. The winery stopped supplying it last year due to limited stock.
Mr Pallesi kept his remaining stock for his private collection, but released 60 bottles exclusively for sale at the first ST Wine Fair held last month.
He says: "There are many great wines from Italy, but the wines from my uncle's vineyards hold a special meaning for me and I want to share my family's wine culture with more people."
The Atlante 2012 won a bronze medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2016 and is part of ST Wine Club's new line-up of Italian wines.
The new selection includes a white wine, the Falesia - a personal favourite of the winery owner, Mr Paolo d'Amico, 62.
Mr d'Amico comes from a ship-owning family and is chairman of d'Amico International Shipping which has offices worldwide, including Singapore. He was in town recently on a business trip.
The Falesia is made from Chardonnay grapes which Mr d'Amico helped to plant in 1985 when he bought the land and farmhouse.
At that time, it was unusual to grow Chardonnay in a region where most of the other vineyards cultivated Grechetto and Trebbiano grapes.
But he went ahead and planted the grape on the first 5ha of his land. He was so eager to start the vineyard, he worked on the land before beginning renovation works on the farmhouse.
It took four years to produce the first batch of Falesia, from vine to bottle.
He recalls: "It was an emotional moment for me to taste a wine which my wife and I had a hand in creating together."
The vineyard now produces 9,500 bottles of the Falesia yearly.
Mr d'Amico also went on to cultivate other grape varieties such as Pinot Nero used in the Notturno dei Calanchi and Cabernet Franc for making the Atlante.
Today, his wines can be found in restaurants in major cities such as Rome, Milan, New York, Paris and London.
Mr d'Amico says: "My wife and I chose to start this wine business and built it up from scratch. Like most things in life, the winery comes with its own challenges, but we always discuss, find and agree on solutions. The winery is an important part of our family."
Including other wines in its portfolio, the winery produced 180,000 bottles of wine from 32ha of vineyards last year.
There is more in store for ST Wine Club members who can look forward to tasting more boutique wines from other regions of Italy, such as Brunello di Montalcino from five of the best boutique wineries producing this Italian red.
Mr Pallesi says: "We will be presenting a diverse range of wines so that wine drinkers can experience the unique styles of each region and wine-maker."
Italian wines from ST Wine's latest selections
Grape: Cabernet Franc
Bottles produced a year: 8,000
The Cabernet Franc grapes were originally intended for a Bordeaux-style blend, but the exceptional quality of the grapes led the wine-maker to create this single-varietal wine as the best expression of the grape. The wine is aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels, then aged in the bottle for six months. The wine is purplish-red with shades of violet. The powerful bouquet has aromas of violet and raspberry. It is full-bodied and has structured tannins for a lingering finish.
Bottles produced a year: 9,500
The Chardonnay grapes are grown on vines more than 30 years old. The wine is aged in French oak barrels, bottled and aged for another five months. Golden-yellow in colour, it has an intense and complex buttery vanilla bouquet. It is smooth and well-balanced on the palate.
NOE' DEI CALANCHI ORVIETO 2015
Grapes: 50 per cent Grechetto, 25 per cent Trebbiano and 25 per cent Pinot Grigio
Bottles produced a year: 28,000
Bright pale-yellow with a tinge of green, the wine carries a floral and fruity scent, has low acidity and smooth minerality.
TERRE DI ALA 2015
Grapes: 70 per cent Semillon, 30 per cent Sauvignon Blanc
Bottles produced a year: 7,800
Straw-yellow in colour with tropical fruits, sage and citrus notes on the nose. The wine is smooth and crisp, with an elegant persistence.
VILLA TIRRENA 2012
Grapes: 90 per cent Merlot and 10 per cent Syrah
Bottles produced a year: 30,000
A deep ruby-red in colour, the wine is musky and accented with raspberry on the nose. It is full-bodied, smooth and dry. The austere tannins are softened by oaky notes.
NOTTURNO DEI CALANCHI 2012
Grape: Pinot Nero
Bottles produced a year: 7,000 The grapes are harvested from 12-year-old vines and the wine aged in new French oak barrels.
Luminous and ruby-red, the bouquet carries the aroma of small red berries. It is full-bodied, sumptuous with silky tannins for a voluptuous finish.
Fine wines at great prices
Join the ST Wine Club and enjoy surprise monthly packages of fine wines delivered to your doorstep. The ST Wine Club is a premium wine club of The Straits Times which works with reputable wine merchants to curate and present a selection of fine wines with the best value.
Gold packages feature New World wines and Platinum packages feature Old World wines.
Those who sign up for any six-month Platinum wine subscription package can now purchase a Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky 12 Years at a special price of $188. The promotion is limited to stocks available.
The wine has a brilliant hue with greenish highlights. The fresh floral notes on the nose carry the scent of fig, apricot and bitter almond. Taste is tangy and sapid.
Tenuta San Guido Le Difese 2013
Rating: RP 90
Grapes: 70 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and 30 per cent Sangiovese The wine has a garnet hue with medium consistency. It is smooth and easy to drink with the flavours of blueberry, cassis and cranberry.
Siro Pacenti Rosso Di Montalcino 2013
Rating: RP 90
Grape: Sangiovese This vintage has more complexity with dark fruit intensity and background tones of spice and leather. This is a food-friendly Tuscan wine with a pretty mineral note.
Bastianich Calabrone 2011
Rating: RP 92
Grape: Refosco, Schioppettino, Pignolo and Merlot The Calabrone is an estate reserve released only when an excellent vintage is followed by a dry and mild September and October. A percentage of the Refosco and all of the Schioppettino are air-dried, which intensifies the flavours of these grapes while softening the tannic bite. The wine is rich with flavours of dark berries and warm notes of cinnamon.
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