A Matter of Taste

Winegrowers

Valentina - Mother of natural wine

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10 years ago, Valentina Passalacqua found herself studying business in London. At the time, she wanted to help her father with the family marble company in Italy.

But her return home to Puglia - an Italian coastal region of fertile soils and fresh seaside air - brought with it a realization: she was an artist, not a businesswoman.

Business was too conventional, too rigid. Valentina yearned for creativity. And she wanted to stay in Apricena, her childhood town.

With the birth of her first daughter, Guila. Suddenly, Valentina also felt the unique and compelling emotions of a mother. She was immediately taken by a desire to leave a better Earth for her daughter. It was an emotional pursuit as much as a physical one. How to make a positive contribution to the world while respecting soil, sun, mountains, forest, and sea?

She discovered her answer: wine.

Of course, wine was a part of Valentina’s life for as long as she could remember. All Italian families cherish vino, but this was different. She wanted to do more than enjoy it; she wanted to create it as a showcase of inspired art to honor Nature. And it was her daughter who gave her the inspiration to follow this dream.

With youthful energy, Valentina committed herself wholeheartedly to making wine that honestly reflected Puglia to the rest of the world.

This is no easy feat: Puglia is one of the most unique terroirs on the planet. Among the many aspects of its natural beauty - the Gargano Mountains, the Adriatic Sea, the preserved national forests - perhaps none are more important and challenging than the soil.

Puglia does not have the fertile brown soils of traditional farmland. Instead, it is covered with crushed bright white rock. This calcareous limestone is difficult for a vine’s root to penetrate, which makes the plant work hard to find water and nutrients deep in the earth. The white rock also acts as a mirror, reflecting the sun’s hot rays back away from the grapes.

The result is fresh fruit of the highest quality, made from a nutrient rich, hard working vine and without high levels of sugar commonly found in conventional wines. Lower sugar at harvest results in lower alcohol during fermentation.

 
 
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Femininity. It is the first thing you notice when you taste Valentina’s wines. The presence of alcohol is there, but subtle. There is a freshness, a dynamic acidity that captures your tongue. Then, a mineral presence of salty rock provides the backbone to every wine. And finally comes the expressive fruit. Valentina only grows native, local grapes, so whether it’s the red Nero di Troia or the white Bombino, the hand-picked grapes produce a vibrant juiciness that wakes up your palate.

Valentina’s wines reflect Puglia - the land, the grapes, the culture, the people - with such vigor and passion. But, if you ask her what her wine reminds her of, she will say her daughters.

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In fact, Valentina’s approach to winemaking is the same as her approach to motherhood. A wine is like a child. You need to tend to it, show it love and keep it on the right path, but ultimately it grows and expresses itself on it’s own.

Valentina’s farming and winemaking style is best described as “Vino Naturale Puro”. Grown in lush vineyards surrounded by the Gargano Mountains and the Adriatic sea, all of her wines come from dry farmed, biodynamic grapes in Puglia, Italy. Her obsession with living soils in the vineyards and nature’s logic in the cellar are her purpose. And, fermentation occurs only with wild, native yeasts found in this unique terroir.

On a deeper level, Valentina looks for harmony in all things. She guided by the lunar calendar and she relates the celestial energies of the stars to the Earth. She considers her vineyard workers part of the terroir, treating them with love and respect because their energy is transferred into the wines and wines as much as her own.

All of this is Natural Wine according to Valentina Passalacqua. It is a philosophy she discovered after she became a mother, and deepened after the birth of her second daughter, Agnese. It gives her a stronger connection with her home, a chance to share Puglia with the world, an outlet to express her art, and a chance to connect with people through emotion and personality.

Thank you, Valentina, for sharing your love with us through your wines.
With love and gratitude.

Shawn Bankston