Paolo Scavino: Crossing over into Italy

Old grape vines, like old people, have a soul, Riccardo explained.  Take Enrico Scavino, for example.  Enrico, he always says I know more than him, but, of course, he knows more than me.

View from the loading dock.

Enrico, the son of Paolo, was out on the fields that morning at 6:30.  He is 74 years old.  Enrico was helping with the green harvest, trimming away bunches of unripe grapes to let them decompose back into the ground.  There are only a limited number of resources, and fewer grapes means higher quality.  This rule always seems to hold true.

The wine library at Paolo Scavino.


We only make wine from grapes that are at least 15 years old.  Time, suffering, deeper roots- these are things that create a great wine.  At some point back in the 60’s, Enrico decided he wanted to stop blending all of his Nebbiolo grapes together and make a wine that represented the best that his land had to offer.  Then he made the single vineyard Bric de Fiasc, 1978.  Enrico was an iconoclast, a part of a group of iconoclasts.


The land has been good to us, Riccardo said.  The land has given to us.  We decided that we would give something back.  He pointed at a label of the 2008 Bric de Fiasc Riserva.  This vintage of the Bric de Fiasc was the only reserve they had ever made from that land, and it was the only reserve they would ever make.  All of the proceeds from that reserve would be invested into charities that protected the land.  We’re not in America, anymore, I said.  We’re not even in France, anymore.

The bigger barrels in the back are made of Slovenian oak. Slovenian oak barrels are sometimes used for decades.

Ricardo brought out three tasting glasses- one for me, one for my brother, and one for himself.  They were Zalto glasses.  These glasses are the best for the wine, Ricardo said.  He poured a tiny amount of wine into each glass and swirled it around until it coated the inside of the glass.  You must prepare the bed for the king, he said, and winked.