Alexia play “La Femme Fatal” by Digable Planets.
Young winemaker Alberto Rigon cultivates about seven hectares in Veneto. His farm/vineyard is nestled between Lake Garda near the Alps and the Mediterranean coast. The region is fruitful *wink wink* of microclimates lending a hand to making it one of the country's largest producer of wine and diversity of grapes. Also known as the home of Amarone, where older vines are picked late for ripeness and the grapes are then left to dry like raisins. Rigon primarily focuses on Vespaiola, one of the region’s native white grapes. However this bottle, Anonimo is primarily Merlot with Gropello (another native grape) and Pinot Vanderville. As expected, he doesn't use fining or stabilizing agents and his vines have never been treated with pesticides.
Gropello and graffiti may seem like an odd combination, but Natty Wine, a regional importer, found a way to showcase both in an explosive and colorful light. They are currently working with their Italian winemakers and DC artists to bridge the gap between Italian winemakers and East Coast consumers by featuring them on labels. I chatted with Natty Wine; they noticed that either labels were too similar to labels on the market already or the labels were outdated. So the importer linked up with a local muralist. This label features DC based artist Kelly Towels, known best for his imaginative murals that can be seen both on H-Street and around the world. Natty Wine has worked with the artist in the past and asked him to do a series for Matervi.
Inspired by the mix of old-school (aka. native grapes) and new world graffiti art, I paired Anonimo with Digable Planets. The 90’s hip hop group formed in Brooklyn, but all members have connection close to the DMV / Philly area: Mary Ann “Ladybug Mecca” Vieria, originally hailing from Silver Spring, Craig “Doodlebug” Irving attended Howard University, and Ishmeal “Butterfly” Butler comes from the Philly arts scene. Their mix of jazz and hip hop can easily be felt and pairs perfectly with this wine. The wine is light body yet has structure much like Digable Planets instrumentals and lyrics. Instant mouthfuls of ripe red fruits like black cherry and pomegranate hit you like the random notes of a saxophone! The soft-ish tannins keep me thinking but it's also pretty chill much like their lyrical flow. Pro Tip: download the live album, turn up the volume and it will almost feel like 2016.