I’ll Drink to That: Mario Andrion of Castello di Verduno

Episode 383 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently and features Mario Andrion, who is the enologist at Castello di Verduno, in Italy’s Piemonte region.

Verduno has been having a real moment in the market, as consumers have sought out Barolo featuring fine-grained tannins and more finesse. These are hallmarks of Nebbiolo from Verduno, and Mario Andrion explains some of the reasons why this is true. He also points out the changing nature of the region itself in an era of climate change, and a large portion of this interview consists of Mario explaining his realizations about changing temperatures and what he has done in the vineyards and with the winemaking to adjust. It turns out that he is at two ends of the climate change curve simultaneously, as he works with vineyards in Verduno, as well as parcels in Barbaresco that are quite literally “feeling the heat.” As Mario discusses in this interview, his whole approach to the Rabaja vineyard in Barbaresco has completely changed as a result of climate alteration. What do you do when a particularly warm site gets even warmer? Mario has some ideas that he is willing to share. But of course, the whole interview isn’t about climate change, because Pelaverga is discussed at some length as well. Pelaverga is the grape variety uniquely found in the Verduno area, and Mario pursues several different renditions – white, red, and sparkling. What is unique about Pelaverga besides where it is grown? Mario has some ideas about that, as well as some insights into the history of the grape. It wasn’t that long ago that we never heard of Pelaverga at all, but now it is super popular and buyers specifically search it out. If anything, this interview is a reminder that even in the most traditional of regions, there is flux.

This episode features a Warm-Up from Erin about the Pelaverga grape variety that is a specialty of the Verduno area.

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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: @leviopenswine.