MAY 13, 2021 • 5:00AM
Felix: [00:00:00] Hello, welcome to the Slate Wine Club. I’m Felix salmon. And you may know me as the host of slate money or guide to the business and finance news of the week. But I am also as many slate money. Listeners will remember a bit of a wine lover. I like to drink wine. I like to talk about wine and I’d like to think about wine and.
really underneath everything. I like the storytelling of wine. I really think that wine is about stories and memory and experiences and the idea of transporting yourself to a different place. These are the things that the heart of the. Slate wine club. It’s not about tasting notes and tannins and malolactic fermentation and micro oxygenation, and that kind of thing.
It’s about place and people and stories, and just getting to enjoy a variety of. Premium wines and learning about them from these expert wine makers. Often who’ve been making wines, not just themselves, but in their families for hundreds of years. And these stories really help me enjoy wine. They’ll help you enjoy your wine.
But before we talk to today’s winemaker, you probably want to know why you should join the club. And how to become a member of it. So as a sleep wine club member, you will get expertly curated selections of premium wines made by some of the world’s best winemakers. Each shipment includes three bottles of unique high quality wines delivered right to your door in joining is easy.
Just text slate to eight, seven, eight, seven, seven, slate that’s SLA T E two eight seven eight. Seven seven seven five two eight three. Once you receive your wines, you’ll be able to sip each one while listening to an interview with Piero Mastrobernardino. For instance, who’s coming up right now. He might prefer you listen to Jim Morrison and the doors will.
That’ll be coming up in the interview. Pro is a 10th generation winemaker. Believe it or not, this is the kind of thing you find when you go to Italy. 300 years ago, his ancestor Angelo Bernardino was knighted by the King became Mastrobernardino, and the Mastrobernardinos have been making wine ever since.
So Piero, tell me who you are and what you do.
Piero: [00:02:28] I am the representative of the 10th generation of Mastrobernardino family in the wine business. And I’m in charge currently of the. Winery and vineyard management in this family business.
Felix: [00:02:42] 10th generation, this is something which Americans can barely even conceive of.
You can trace not only your own lineage, but actually the vineyards back to how far?
Piero: [00:02:56] We have a family museum here in the cellars where we have documents dating back to the beginning of 17 hundreds. Testifying the purchase of land around here in a small village named Santo Stefano, where we have still now a property and where we had the plants of Fianno gray planted there at the time.
So I continually have good, grape varietals and a territory. And the family ownership. It’s a, it’s a long story.
Felix: [00:03:24] So, first of all, let’s talk about the region, your outside Naples?
Piero: [00:03:27] We are in the region of Naples, but this is a quite unusual geographic situation because Naples is very well known for the coast for the sea, of course, but we are in the middle of the mountains
Felix: [00:03:39] and this isn’t just the mountains. Is it? This is Mount Vesuvius.
Piero: [00:03:43] Yes, mam Vesuvius is quite famous and it’s a kind of divinity in the region and influences the whole region, even in the mountain side. We have ashes in this soil stratification almost everywhere. So the influence of the volcano is almost in every part of the region.
Felix: [00:04:02] If drink this wine, which I’m now going to start opening, I’m going to somehow be tasting the ashes of Mount Vesuvius.
Piero: [00:04:09] You’re going to taste the two main characteristics that give the personality of, I would say all the wines that we produce. So the first is this a vertical style going direct to the mineral compounds of the soil. And this is the influence that probably Vesuvius gives his best. And the other is freshness. That means a good level of acidity that brings this wine always very vibrant and also gives a huge longevity that is outstanding in the region.
And the radici taurasi is a flagship wine for us is a great symbol for the family. It’s a project that my father started in 1981, right after the big earthquake that we had in the region we had in November, 1980 big earthquake that made the 3000 people killed in the area of Avellino. So my father gave me the name of radici, meaning roots to this project saying that the family.Had so deep roots in the soils of your team. Yeah. That, that work wouldn’t have been capable to change the linkage between the death family and the territory.
Felix: [00:05:19] I need to ask you about that cuckoo clock of yours. How old is that?
Piero: [00:05:23] It was a present from my wife, maybe 25 years ago, but it’s not very well organized.
So sometimes it does it for a short periods and it doesn’t work very well.
Felix: [00:05:36] Taurasi. I see this is an area?
Piero: [00:05:38] Taursai, I would say is the appalachian. So it’s a geographic name. So it’s an area and you can produce tauraci DOCG only in this area. These are wines that need to be a little explained to the consumer because of course it’s not very easy to understand all the complexity of the presentation of a wine.
The Italian model can be Sometimes even more complicated than the rest of Europe, because we have so many information, Taurasi is the Appalachian and then radici is the name of the property. But then of course, Mastrobernardino is the family name. And then you find that denomininazion the regional controller agantita, and sometimes people don’t understand the difference between.
This a classification and an IGT or between the DOCG and the doc. So, so it’s a challenge and we need to be there. That’s why my business is always like this meeting people and explaining the wines and tasting with them. This is exactly what my grandfather used to do in North America at the beginning of 1900.
And he presented the wines, promoted the wines and mSW. The tastings with the people, exactly what we do. Now.
Felix: [00:06:48] I have these dreams of finding some ancient steakhouse in Chicago and they’ll be like, Oh yeah, we have like a 1942 Taurasi from Mastrobernardino laying in the fella.
Piero: [00:07:00] It happens sometimes to travel, to visit a restaurant and you find the owner and he comes out with a bottle that has been signed by your father. 40 years before, and then he says, please sign. So this is nice,
Felix: [00:07:16] lovely. I’m sad. I’m opening up this 2016 now because I feel like I should be cellaring it for the next 20 years.
Piero: [00:07:22] It got here on my desk about all of 68 preserva, but I also have a bottles from 34. Very impressive, but I also have a bottle from 28, if you wish.
I wish these are really wines that are extraordinary because they are still very fresh. Even after 90 years, they are still expressing and evolving and they are still linked to the terroir.
Felix: [00:07:50] Oh, ready? Smells something spectacular. I have to say you and your family have been farming. These fields, these vineyards for 300 years, have you changed anything? Was it your job to just keep on doing what your father and your grandfather and your great-grandfather did.
Piero: [00:08:05] in this business You innovate every year. Because of course, nature is different every year. So of course there are big changes and small changes. year per year. You can have small improvements.
Yeah. But then at some point you got bigger, you know, turning points. There are so many different determinants that it’s always a very complex problem solving issue, but it’s a very fascinating for us.
Felix: [00:08:32] This is what you’re teaching your daughters. Yes. They’re going to take over from you and do the same thing
Piero: [00:08:37] and their sensibility will be the base for their creativity. I am very interested in understanding what is going to happen because I did the same with my father. And I made several experiments, introducing maybe new styles, new wines, and some of them were not very good. And some of them are still now very successful, but it’s a kind of a training.
Felix: [00:09:01] This looks amazing. That incredible legs on this. Oh my God. That’s so delicious. You’re right. It’s just, it’s got so much acidity and it’s very light on its feet for being quite a big red.
Piero: [00:09:13] This is something that it’s very peculiar of. The environment wines coming from the mountain have this characteristic, even if they come from a big, very important red grape. At the end, you have a very elegant and refined style. You’ve got a balance, you got the great equity, boom, and you never have the feeling of heaviness on the palette, a wine like this is always very agile in the glass and the nose. And on the palette, you always have this feeling of agility.
Felix: [00:09:43] Obviously go on Mount Vesuvius, you’re close to Pompeii, pay where there was a lot of drinking going on.You got to thinking like, what would they drink? It turns out what they were drinking was. Not very good.
Piero: [00:09:55] The viticulture was very high level of technical knowledge, but the winemaking processes were not refined. We have a lot of literature about the wines of the past. That as you said, probably wouldn’t be very nice to taste now. Wines were heavier and they used to dilute them with water before serving them. That is something very bad now. And there were also some habits during the process. When you have a mouse, you don’t have to pull it out. It has to be there with the wine. This was in the past kind for the romance.
Felix: [00:10:32] I’m getting like flavors of mouse, who knows. Maybe, maybe some people appreciate it.
Piero: [00:10:38] So things have changed, but we have this beautiful project that started 25 years ago in Pompeii, in the archeological town that we reproduced all the ancient, training systems of the vines. So we produce a wine from there that is called Villa de mystery, and it’s a blend of three ancient grapes of the region. One is aglianico. The same that we use for taurasi. The second is Piedirosso and the third is called Sciascinoso.
Felix: [00:11:02] So how many dogs do you have?
Piero: [00:11:04] A lot! I got two dogs here in my house at the wine cellar, and then I got four dogs in the countryside. And then I also have two cats in my apartment and
Felix: [00:11:14] white burgundy. Is it the greatest wine in the world?
Piero: [00:11:19] I liked the style and there are many similarities with our white lines. We have a partnership with the group of researchers from there, from Bourgogne and exchange wines and we exchange experiences and we have the same approach to the aging white wine answer. So this is a style of wine that I love.
Felix: [00:11:38] And finally, what is the best thing to listen to when I’m drinking your wines? Why should I be listening to, I don’t know if you listen to podcasts very often, but if not, what do you listen to?
Piero: [00:11:48] It really depends, but I would say for my personal taste, I will listen to something from The Doors.
Felix: [00:11:57] Wow. I was not expecting that.
Piero: [00:12:00] I was a radio DJ when I was a teenager and it was a rock show,
Felix: [00:12:06] so, okay. I’m going to crack out some Jim Morrison to go with my Taurasi. Thank you again to Piero I liked for joining us today and for telling us all about his amazing 2016 Taurasi. If you’re not a member of the slate wine club already, joining is easy.
Text slate to (878) 777-5283. To set up your first shipment and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying premium wines. Not to mention developing a better appreciation for the expert winemakers who fill out glasses.