Episode 369 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Ampelio Bucci, the owner of the Bucci winery in the Marche region of Italy.
Ampelio Bucci made a key move for the Marche region in the 1970s when he decided that his winery there would focus on high quality wines from the local Verdicchio grape variety. Most of his contemporaries in the zone were busy turning out schlock in large quantities, but Ampelio went in another direction. When you think about the steps Ampelio took back then, he clearly avoided what are now considered some of the mistakes of that era. Instead of going for an international grape variety, he went with a native one and dedicated his attentions to it. Instead of using the latest clones, he searched out old vines. He emphasized the soil type above all, and selected parcels that were high in limestone. And instead of buying new barrels, he resuscitated old, large barrels that were already 80 years old back at the time. These are the types of things that a forward thinking young vintner might do today, but at the time this was unusual. Also unusual were the wines, which set a quality benchmark for the area and even, dare I say it, for Italian white wine as a whole. But even with all he accomplished, Ampelio Bucci is little known amongst American wine drinkers today. While everything he has done has become more popular, his own fame has languished behind. This episode is a chance to reacquaint yourself or perhaps to find out for the first time about someone who did something special for his place, his grape, and his time.
This episode also includes a Warm Up from Erin on the Marche.
I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine