Despite the Romans being credited as the ancient leaders in wine consumption, the Italian region of Lazio in which Rome lies doesn't conjure a clear image of vineyards and bottles in the modern eye. Grechetto, Trebbiano and Malvasia reign, and lighter, brighter, accessible wines represent the bulk of production.
Enter Gianmarco Antonuzzi and Clementine Bouveron of Le Coste Wines. He, a Lazio native and she, his French vigneronne wife. Clementine and Gianmarco are a power couple in Italy’s natural wine community. She is a fiercely intelligent scientist and takes care of the vines by hand with practices that incorporate biodynamics but are finely attuned for their own and overall plant diversity. Gianmarco is a fiery cellar master with a deeply cynical and black hued sense of humour, shined by seasons abroad in some of the world's most highly regarded wineries. The pair have worked tirelessly on their stunning fourteen hectares of vines, olive groves and chestnut trees in Gradoli, a small village between Pisa and Rome.
To describe the beauty of this polyculturous plot of land is to always fall short of its mystery and magic. Sitting lofty at 600 metres above the sea, the fertility of the volcanic soils lend to verdant, sprawling fields of plants and animals and a collection of microbial life within the cellar that is nothing short of vibrating with energy.
The microclimates that form within the peaks and troughs of their vineyards on the hills offer a diversity in the wines that allows the pair to create an expansive assortment across styles and varieties. There are the more playful, Litrozzo wines, litres of juice meant for tables with friends, the experimental range such as the Ripazzo, which turns traditional Italian winemaking style on their heads, all the way to the brooding and dense expressions of Sangiovese and Procanico, meant for thinking and sipping.
The vines are planted at a relatively low density, less fruit, higher quality. They care for everything by hand and farm in a way that falls in accordance to biodynamic principles, but in reality stretches much further. At Le Coste they react to the needs of each individual plant and treat every one as such.