Lasorte Cuadra releases first vintage of Valle d’Itria IGT ‘Silos’ through partnership with local wine co-op
MARTINA FRANCA (Taranto) 18 June 2021—A field blend from a tiny parcel of indigenous white grapes which most of the world has never heard of, much less ever tasted, is the catalyst and substance behind Lasorte Cuadra—a collaborative effort in experimental winemaking conceived by husband and wife Roberto Lasorte, CEO of Querciabella in Chianti Classico, and Stephanie Cuadra, founder of Utah-based Terrestoria Wine Imports, during regular sojourns last year under lockdown at the family farm in the Valle d’Itria, a limestone plateau in central Puglia.
Despite the tumult and gravity of 2020, the pair admits the pandemic had everything to do with a shared epiphany about the committed role each wishes to play in defense of ‘generational wine’ in this elevated (400 m.s.l.) sub-region of the heel of the boot. That Lasorte and Cuadra’s surnames combined fortuitously translate to ‘fate squares’ offers the most fitting message of encouragement as the maiden vintage of Silos Valle d’Itria IGT is released across Italy.
“We may have been there every step of the way—while harvesting grapes alongside our grower Donato and his family and through our personal involvement in key winemaking decisions—but seeing finished wine in the bottle is still nothing short of amazing,” says Cuadra. Part of that disbelief is likely rooted in the challenges and roadblocks the couple faced prior to making the acquaintance of enologist Angelo Soleti, technical director of UPAL Cantina Sociale di Cisternino, the last surviving wine cooperative operating in Valle d’Itria today. Though Soleti was not the first person Lasorte and Cuadra approached with the idea of producing a small-batch wine from local white varieties according to unconventional methods, he was in fact the first to listen—and was even quick to embrace the project with an open mind and willingness to experiment with quality-oriented protocols rarely, if ever, attempted before with Apulian grape varieties like Verdeca, Minutolo, Bianco d’Alessano and Maresco.
In a region of Italy best known for high-octane reds of an unmistakably Mediterranean character, Lasorte Cuadra joins an emerging cohort of artisanal producers determined to renew and cultivate further interest in the rich viticultural heritage found at this higher altitude of Puglia, where virtually only white grapes reach optimal ripeness and alcohol levels of wines scarcely exceed 12.0%. With a focus on extracting the greatest possible complexity and preserving discernible territorial traits, Lasorte, Cuadra and Soleti agreed from the start that their first vintage together should be limited to a single tank or silos, effectively capping the potential risks associated with bolder-than-usual approaches to vinification: including extended skin contact, lees aging and restricted sulfite use.
Total production of Silos 2020 amounts to a mere 6,500 bottles, half of which are earmarked for export to the U.S. market where Terrestoria will soon launch a pre-shipment offering for Utah residents exclusively through the DABC special order system.