Villa Parens Winery
This is what happens when your friends become famiglia
As they say in Italy, when you’re here, you’re famiglia. Lucky for me, Villa Parens, winemakers in the northern Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, takes this sentiment to heart. Founder Vittorio Puiatti was one of leaders of the modern-day wine-making industry in Italy.
Why I love Villa Parens
Their wines are artistic and elegant, using pure methods that allow the natural complexities of the grape to come through in every glass. They were recently reviewed in Edible Arts for their artistry in Metodo Classico Sparkling Wines from Northern Italy. The Puiattis are very creative people and have a strong belief that “before wine is a drink, it is an idea.” And that idea means everything leading up to your first sip matters.
For two generations, they have pioneerered new techniques, which all focus on minimizing the biggest threat to the winemaking process – exposure to oxygen. Their father, Vittorio Puiatti, spearheaded these methods, calling them the “Puiatti Concept.”
Today, Giovanni and Elisabetta (brother and sister) continue the family tradition of employing their father’s methods throughout the winemaking process: growing, fermenting, bottling, aging and preservation. The family winemakers were the first to introduce a pneumatic press in 1983 that extracts the juice under inert gas – with 100% protection from oxidation. This “soft press” is equivalent to the pressure of fingers delicately extracting the juice.
In addition to limiting the exposure to oxygen, they also believe that wine should never touch wood. Pretty contradictory to the basic concept of winemaking. For Villa Parens, fermentation and preservation only takes place in stainless steel tanks and in-bottle aging is supported by suitable temperatures in each phase to complete the method for achieving their wine’s quality.
Their techniques produce extraordinary, low alcohol wines that never follow the trends. For them, excellence is not a single act, but a habit, used to control every step.
Genuine People Making Genuinely Special Wines
I met Elisabetta and Giovanni Puiatti in early 2016 at a wine tasting in Venice, their Blanc de Blancs was my top-rated sparkling wine among nearly 100 offerings. I met them again in April at VinItaly when they hosted me for a series of tastings and dinners “Puitatti style!” Their booth was teaming with friends, clients and general admirers. All were there to taste their delicious wines and soak up some of the amazing hospitality that no other winemaker comes close to. Here I had my first taste of the Rosè de Noir and was anxious to add it to my product selection. They don’t make a lot of these wonderful classic method sparkling wines so I am lucky and honored to represent their wines in California.
One evening during the VinItaly event, Elisabetta and Giovanni hosted me for a tasting and dinner at Vittorio Emanuele in the amazing Piazza Bra of Verona, where Giovanni had the chef prepare us a risotto made with Villa Parens’ Pinto Nero.
This request was kind of my fault because, being in Verona, I desperately wanted an Amarone Risotto (classic red wine risotto from the region), but considering we were drinking Villa Parens wine, Giovanni took over and asked the chef to use the Villa Parens Pinot Nero instead of Amarone… we were very glad he did! It was fabulous.
That’s the kind of people Elisabetta and Giovanni are — full of warmth, hospitality and desire to make every meal and interaction memorable. I have been invited to their private dinners in their vineyard kitchen where they bring in top Italian chefs to create unique meals around their even-more unique wines. They are spontaneous and innovative, with a naturally creative style about them. They bring this element to each wine they make.
Here I am in the Maison Villa Parens concept room. Everything they do is elegant and stands out. >>>