Le Guaite di Noemi Wines
Tempus fugit, said Virgil, and wine must fly with it. The ancient Classica region may form the core of Valpolicella’s traditions and reputation, but the wider allargata area is full of exciting, innovative winemakers who are every bit as engaged with the land and the old ways, whose renown is growing and who are expanding awareness of what Valpolicella wine can be, in all its potential.
Perhaps represent this fearless frontier spirit more than the tiny boutique winery of Le Guaite di Noemi in Mezzane di Sotto. Began as a small olive grove by Stefano Pizzighella, the purchase of vineyards in 2002 (especially of the high-altitude hilltopping Le Guaite vineyard) led to expansion into wine territory, since when their standing has grown and grown in both sectors. These days it is daughter Noemi, who took the reins in 2016 after having helped on the farm since the age of 8, who is responsible for the winemaking, and has fast established herself as one of the most exciting young winemakers around.
Just ten acres of vines comprise this micro-winery (as well as seven acres of olive groves), but not a millimetre of it goes to waste. Noemi Pizzighella is a modern, savvy winemaker, using all she has learned on the farm (as well as from their famous neighbour, legendary winemaker and one-time Quintarelli-protogée, Romano Dal Forno, who Noemi describes as the winery’s ‘mentor and still our first friend’) to extract every ounce of quality from this small number of sites, and has created a range of vibrant, deeply-flavoured, contemporary and boldly-labelled wines which nonetheless retain their strong local identity and profound sense of place. This boutiquest of wineries is flying with the times, a glimpse into the future of Valpolicella.