1. Angiolini Maule "I Masieri" Bianco Garganega - $15.99 - Angiolini Maule is a former pizzaiolo, or pizza maker, who became obsessed with making natural wine in a place called Gambellara, the foothills of Vicenza, which are an extension of the famed Soave foothills of the Veneto. The white wines are quite similar, made from the Garganega grapes, which can produce a very fine wine, with hints of lemon, almond, and spice. Maule is dedicated to cultivating a living, dynamic ecosystem in which his vines can flourish. He doesn't use any chemical treatments in the vineyards, and follows biodynamic principles to foster healthy and vibrant soils. He believes without healthy soil, you can't have healthy grapes or wine.
Angiolino is the founder of Vinnatur, an association dedicated to exploration, research and analysis of what goes on in the vineyards -and most importantly in the soil- in order to find reliable and proven methods to work as naturally as possible. Francesco, Maule's son, says their ultimate goal is to eliminate mildew and oidium in order to stop using copper and sulphur treatments, which he and his father feel is the final step to producing 100% natural wines.
Maule's "Bianco" is pretty close to a perfectly natural Garganega. It's textured and delicate, with citrus and floral notes, and a yeasty character. Drink it with polenta with lemon and mushrooms, or do what they do in the Venetian plains and serve barbecued meats together with grilled polenta and vegetables.
2. Angiolino Maule Rosso “Masieri”- $19.99 - Maule's rosso is a sort of northern Italian Bordeaux blend. He combines Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and sometimes Lagrein, depending on the vintage, into a bright, bold red bursting with red and black fruits and a hint of spice. It's dry with some grippy tannin on the finish. Though the grapes are similar to a Bordeaux, the wine is distinctly Italian. Perhaps it's indicative of the terroir that Maule is fighting so hard to restore and preserve? Serve this with grilled or roasted meats and vegetables--though it also would pair well with the earthy flavors of a mushroom risotto or polenta dish.