Roberto Anselmi isn’t afraid to make some noise and turn some heads. Whether it’s riding his motorbike through Italy, flying his helicopter, or changing the way the world thinks of Italian white wines, he’s happy to be the one that stands out. While today his wines are widely respected for their great quality, he’s worked hard and happily burned some bridges to get the recognition he deserves.
From the 1920s Roberto Anselmi’s grandfather was known locally for his quality vines; unfortunately during the economic crisis linked with World War II, Roberto’s grandfather was forced to sell the vineyard. Roberto’s father remained in the wine industry, but rather making wine from his own vineyard, he brought in grapes from surrounding vineyards and bulk produced low-quality wines. Still, Roberto dreamed of one day buying back his grandfather’s vineyard.
After travelling to Alsace, Australia and California and trying the wine these regions had to offer, Roberto had a hard truth to accept- that his family’s wine lacked the quality these wines had. At 25, he returned home and, without the support of his father who wanted to continue producing bulk wines, begun to create a winery that produced high-quality wines and buy the land of his dreams.
As he produced his wines with a quality over quantity mindset, he worked hard to build a better reputation for the Soave wine area across the world markets. He wanted more from the vine growers and wine makers of this area and wouldn’t accept any compromises. Frustrated by the low quality, high regulations, and lack of ambition, Roberto made the bold decision to leave the Soave appellation in 2000 and forego the Soave name, even after putting the region on the map for quality wines.
And like with anything Roberto does, he did it by turning heads. Roberto left the appellation by writing an open letter stating “You are not “suave” as your name implies, you are uncontrollable, untamable, unfaithful. So that’s it. I’m going. I’m leaving you, and this letter tells you why…” He also stated in the letter that he “is tired of belonging to an appellation which, instead of boosting my image, pulls me down.”
Roberto’s quality-minded approach starts in the vineyard with the grapes and extends to the cellar where he uses cold maceration and low temperature fermentation. Anselmi is the first in Italy to utilize French oak to ferment and mature white wines and utilizes advanced and current technology during the vinification process. The winery produces about 750,000 bottles a year of high-quality wines, only 5% of what Roberto’s father produced per year, but at a much higher quality.
Roberto’s hard work and bold choices continue to pay off for him as today Anselmi is widely considered one of Italy’s best white wine producers, and Roberto is credited with single-handedly reversing the waning reputation of the Vento wine region. He continues to focus on raising the quality bar and improving the perception of Italian wines worldwide.
Palate: Medium bodied, with plum, black currant, walnut, and pepper throughout. Soft on the palate with velvety tannins with a long finish.
Pairings: Venison stew, lamb, and pastas.
Tasting Notes: An expressive white, creamy and lightly juicy throughout, offering flavors of blood orange granita, fresh tarragon, yellow peach and mineral, set in a
light-bodied frame. The finish is juicy.
Pairings: Mussels sautée and other rich seafood preparations.
Palate: Light floral and fresh herb notes accent the flavors of white cherry, ground white pepper, apricot and orange zest. Light-bodied and fresh, with a hint of almond on the finish.
Pairings: Savory cheese, paté, potato gratin with goat cheese.
Palate: Fresh and well-knit, this floral version layers juicy acidity with flavors of ripe apricot, stone, lemon pith, anise and salted almond. Smoky finish.
Pairings: Branzino in salt crust with rosemary potatoes, pan-seared chicken with spring salad.