Gradoli, Lazio, Italy
Le Coste is a stunning patchwork of vineyards sloping down to lake Bolsena just North of Rome. From a climatic viewpoint it is a near perfect place to grow healthy grapes for wine: the balm of central Italy cooled by the Lake, vines at high elevation in porous volcanic soils, and a lovely mix of fruits, herbs, and olive trees growing between the rows. When Gianmarco and Clementine, the couple who oversee the domaine, first heard of a vineyard for sale at the top of the Lago's cascading North side, they jumped at the opportunity and over the past decade have collected around 8 hectares beneath that now famous site, Le Coste.
Clem and GM are a proper power couple in the community of grower-producers throughout central Italy. She is an immensely talented agronomist and takes care of the vines by hand with select biodynamic practices and an overall holistic approach to biodiversity; no need for Msr. Joly's Powerpoint presentations. Gianmarco is a hotheaded, brilliant cellar master with a skeptical perspective sharply hewn after time spent with greats in France like Allemand and Schueller. Their cellar in downtown Gradoli has the feel of a serious Burgundy house rather than some countryside cantina, with wines from nearly every harvest since they started going through the motions until ready in old barrique and botti.
It should be said that Le Coste is often construed as deeply controversial, with Gianmarco's stubbornness and allergy to compromise ruffling feathers left and right. From his thirsty importers worldwide, a sommelier he didn't trust, to fed up winemaker neighbors, he can come across as almost eager to get in your grill about something he doesn't like. The influence regionally of the domaine however is nothing short of gargantuan. Dozens of young Italian vigneron/nnes have admitted to me how much of a credit they owe to Clem and GM for their inspired vision.
- El Rancho