Having founded the distillery in the later 1800’s, four generations of the Quaglia family have guided the business through more than a century of artisan production, modernising it where needed whilst simultaneously cherishing the older, traditional art and methods of distilling. The distillery was established just after the Unification of Italy in 1871 between Monferrato and the hills towards Turin; an area renowned for its exceptional winemaking.
For the Italians in the Astrum team, tasting the Liquore di Chinotto in particular, was like going back to our Italian childhood. The aroma and flavour of these liqueurs are so intense and so beautifully crafted, they really are a pleasure to taste. However Distilleria Quaglia are as talented at producing grappas as they are liqueurs, and as the name suggests, the Grappa Storica is one of Quaglia’s most antique recipes. At over a century old, this beautiful example from their grappa selection achieves a delicacy and elegance on the palate, that is both challenging to achieve and rarely seen in a such a powerfully alcoholic spirit.
Antica Distilleria Quaglia
The Jerry Thomas Project
The Jerry Thomas Project is no ordinary producer. Their Headquarters are mysteriously difficult to find; hidden behind a secret door, down a nondescript street near Piazza Navona in Rome, and accessible only with aparola d’ordine, a password, obtained from a fortnightly-changing riddle.. Yes – you’ve guessed it; the Jerry Thomas Project is better known as Rome’s best speakeasy cocktail bar.
Apart from its website and highly active facebook page (an uncharacteristic feature for most on-trend speakeasies), the Jerry Thomas Project embodies 1920’s ‘Prohibition Chic’; a small, cosy, crowded and smoky venue whose luxurious red walls and gigs of blues and soft jazz is most certainly the remedy to Rome’s lack of cocktail bars. For those looking for an alternative to the far more common wine bars and increasingly popular artisan beer scene in Rome, the existence of the Jerry Thomas Project and it’s recent partnership with Distilleria Quaglia in a bid to start producing spirits as well as serving them, is a breath of fresh air.
Ronco del Gnemiz
Owned and managed by Serena Palazzolo and her sons, Ronco del Gnemiz has been one of Friuli Venezia Giulia’s leading wineries for more than a decade. The Palazzolo family bought the estate back in the 1960’s, and Serena took over from her father in the early nineties when she returned home after college graduation. Her management of the winery has enabled it to reach new heights in terms of uncompromising quality, natural viticulture and most notably, aging potential. The wines are outstandingly ageworthy, with whites which are still beautifully balanced after ten years; a quality which Serena and her partner and fellow winemaker Christian Patat attribute to their deep-rooted respect for the terroir, preservation and improvement.
Ronco del Gnemiz wines are characterised by bright acidity in the whites, with a very careful use of oak, while the reds adopt a classic Bordeaux style and austere tannins. All wines are made with fully mature grapes which are never overripe, and subsequently the rich fruit is the focus for both reds and whites. It is the purity, length and display of true varietal style which places Serena’s wines among the gems of the region, and make them a testament to her commitment and passion.
Born from the coop, Cantina Sociale di Ortona, Caldora is a very young business based in the province of Chieti in Italy’s Abruzzo region. This is a historic cooperative with over 1500 hectares of cultivated land and around 700 farmers. Striving to reduce the yield per hectare, Caldora was created as the cooperative’s ‘Progetto Qualità’ (Quality Project) whereby vineyards were selected from all the various terroirs belonging to the coop, which due to specific position, grapes and age of vines, gave the best quality guarantee. The rigorous quality checks of this project mean that today a total of around 200 hectares of high quality fruit contribute to making Caldora’s delicious wines.
Since the original purchase of their one-hectare vineyard, the Silvestrini family's winery in Bordeaux now comprises 35 hectares in total and three of the most prestigious appellations of the Libournais, and their expertise spans three generations.
Since 2005, the most recent generation, Jérôme and Sabine, aim to combine traditional and modern techniques to achieve an inextricable balance to the finished wines. They particularly concentrate on monitoring the growing cycle of the vines, a plot-by-plot harvest and a strictly controlled fermentation process. Although Vignobles Silvestrini’s vineyards are based in the hottest, driest part of Bordeaux, the climate is temperate and oceanic and assists in the formation of these stunning wines.