Whether you know them, love them, or hate them, the name Le Coste certainly evokes a reaction from all. Gianmarco Antonuzzi and Clementine Bouveron have carved out a name for themselves in Giamarco’s childhood town of Gradoli in Lazio, their property now covering 8 or so hectares plus a few rented around Lake Bolsena. Here they make a wonderfully ambitious number of cuvees, each which sings of the deeply mineral soils of the region: volcanic, ironous, and fertile.
Of the 14 hectares they farm, the breakdown is as follows: 4 hectares of young vines, 4 hectares of old (rented) vines, 4 hectares of olive groves, and the remainder are abandoned terraced vineyards they’ve let the forest reclaim, allowing for bountiful biodiversity and for space to reintroduce mixed farming and livestock. The vines are some of the finest of the area: all ungrafted or planted in massal selection.
While we feel that the most stunningly memorable part of this winery is its connection to terroir and individuality therein, many might feel that Gianmarco’s personality overshadows the wines themselves. Gianmarco has certainly created something of a name for himself, and you don’t have to travel far to hear stories about his stubbornness, hotheadedness, or general belligerence. Perhaps he just loves to be a bit of a contrarian, and perhaps that persistent questioning and dogged commitment to his own beliefs helped shape the winery to what it is today. Alternatively, perhaps it’s the combined effort he and Clementine exert in the vines that makes for great wine all its own.
On these issues I tend to lean on my American sensibilities that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. And while the man himself may not be to everyone’s taste, we’re assured that the wines most certainly are.