And then I asked him: “do you think he would like to make a drawing for this wine to be used as a label?”. He immediately said “Why not? You have always been so kind to me”.
Welcome to the second episode of a new set of pods on the Series “On The Road Edition” hosted by Stevie Kim. Join Stevie at San Salvatore winery in Paestum, Campania where she met Giuseppe Pagano. In this episode Giuseppe Pagano will tell the story behind his most famous wines, “Omaggio a Gillo Dorfles” and “Pian di Stio“, the result of an almost heroic viticulture. This episode is also available on our youtube channel Mamma Jumbo Shrimp with subtitles. And don’t miss the next episode next Saturday!
Stevie: Ok this is part two, Ciao! Of the interview with Giuseppe Pagano, ok? All right. See that…where are we in the first place? We are in the barrique cellar, okay? Because most of your wines are made in steel tanks, right?
Giuseppe: That’s right.
Stevie: So what kind of wines do you have in barrel?
Giuseppe: In barrique there are mainly reds, we have only one white which is barrique but also in a limited way, only during fermentation.
Stevie: What about these big barrels instead?
Giuseppe: I will explain these large barrels right away. We use barrique of first passage only for a wine called “Omaggio a Gillo Dorfles”.
Stevie: Yes, Gillo Dorfles this one.
Giuseppe: And that’s exactly what this is, see?
Stevie: Which is an homage….
Giuseppe: Which is a tribute to Gillo Dorfles. And here I have to tell why it’s called that. You must know…
Stevie: Yes, who is Gillo Dorfles?
Giuseppe: Gillo Dorfles was the greatest art critic of the entire Italian twentieth century. He was originally from Istria, he was born in 1910 in Istria, when Istria was still Austrian, practically under Franz Joseph. Then in 1918 he became Italian, but in 1943 he was supposed to become Slavic, but he didn’t like that and so he fled to Trieste, and the family wanted to remain Italian. He told me that he was a friend of Primo Levi’s daughter, that he attended Primo Levi’s house. So I had the pleasure of meeting him because he was a great lover of Cilento and Paestum, a great lover of art, of art history, a lover of Paestum and Cilento and of nature. And in 2002, when we had just opened the Savoy, he started to become a client, a guest of the Savoy and he was a guest until 2013. For us, and for me especially, it was as if I was waiting for my grandfather who came from Milan, and stayed with me for two weeks. And he in these stays in Paestum always dispensed me great pills of wisdom, great love for art. He brought out in me the love for the beauty and the good, and I must say that when in 2010 he had the opportunity to taste our first wine that was a wine made only for us, for our…
Stevie: What kind of wine was it?
Giuseppe: It was Jungano of the 2009 vintage, it was made with the few grapes of the very first ones…and we let him taste it because it was a wine that we had used only for the hotel because there were few bottles. And he complimented us a lot for this buffalo on the label, for this very particular label and for this very good wine. He paid me all these compliments and I asked him “But Professor wouldn’t you like to visit the winery, the vineyard?” and he was enthusiastic about it, the next day we ventured in the vineyard and then in the winery and here I took the opportunity, since he kept on complimenting me for this wine I took the opportunity to tell him “Look we have an even better one, but I cannot let you taste it because it is in barrique, it is not ready yet”. And then I asked him: do you think he would like to make a drawing for this wine to be used as a label? And he immediately said “Why not? You have always been so kind to me”. So, he asked me “Give me the size of the label and I will try to make something for you”. I said, “Professor, I don’t have anything here, but now that we’re going to the hotel, I’ll make you a card, something”. When we arrived at the hotel, I prepared six pieces of cardboard because I was afraid that if he made a mistake on one piece of cardboard, I would no longer have my label. And so, after 4, 5 days he showed up, called me and presented me with three drawings, fanned out like this and said, “Choose which one you like”. Without even looking I said “Professor, we like them all, and you know what we do? Let’s do what the Rothschilds did with their Mouton.” He already knew everything, he knew who the Rothschilds were, he knew what the Mouton was, and he said to me “Yes, but there are only three of them, but you and your graphic designer are good, with the computer you change the colors and always go forward.” And this is the beautiful story of this label and of this name “Omaggio a Gillo Dorfles” and afterwards he authorized us to call it like that because he liked the wine. We let him taste the wine and he thought the wine could be named after him because it was a great Aglianico, it was a great product.
Stevie: Okay, so now I would talk about my favorite wine which is a “Pian di Stio” Fiano and we were in the vineyards today. So, tell us a little bit about this wine. What does it represent to you as a company?
Giuseppe: This wine, is my heart wine because to be able to plant vines in Stio, you saw this morning, you yourself with your heart said this is almost heroic viticulture.
Giuseppe: But the heroism it took to think of this vineyard, to make this land cultivable, to be able to plant a vineyard there was really a gamble. There were all the conditions for not being able to carry out the work, I couldn’t leave something unfinished and I couldn’t leave something ugly to look at, so I really had to work hard to do it, but I did it with all my heart. And after that, this vineyard and this territory has given us, has rewarded us with the quality of this product, with the beauty of this product. Because for me, this wine is truly beautiful and good.
Stevie: Listen, tell us for people who don’t know where Stio is….
Giuseppe: Stio is located 25 km from Paestum, in the heart of the Cilento National Park, so this wine is a mountain wine but also enjoys the sea air.
Stevie: Yeah because how much altitude are you at anyway, 500?
Giuseppe: About 600 meters of altitude. We have vineyards, our highest vineyard is at 600 meters, but we also have vineyards at 550 meters on the same property, and even vineyards at 450 meters.
Stevie: It’s very extensive.
Giuseppe: The Stio estate consists of 75 hectares in a single plot. So we wanted to leave a lot of things as we found them. The only turkey oak coppice that was there, we left it because we wanted these woods to remain and be able to do their job of being good for the environment, good for people. We had to do an extraordinary reclamation work and this was just the beginning and then we planted the vineyard that brought us this wine. But I repeat, this wine is a wine which has immediately found a great success on the market, a great success among critics and especially a great success among women. And when women like a wine it has already won a battle.
Stevie: We’re on horseback. Not buffalo but on horseback.
Giuseppe: It has already won the battle.
Giuseppe: It is a wine which is very appreciated by the experts, that is by the guides. I do not want to mention the names of those who award it the most, who more or less, they are all…
Stevie: Is it also an organic wine?
Giuseppe: Yes, all of our vineyards, you should know are organic.
Stevie: Even Gillo Dorfles?
Giuseppe: Even Gillo Dorfles. Yes all our organic wines are produced exclusively with our own grapes. The others, it is not true that they are produced with grapes of other producers, but as we grow we take over the management of vineyards of friends who entrust them to us. They trust us because they have confidence that we know how to cultivate them well. So, they are not normally organic, so we have to wait for the time that passes for these vineyards to become organic and in the meantime where this wine goes it cannot be classified as totally organic, and this is the only point why not all our wines are organic. So, this wine, Pian di Stio, always gets many awards, always gets all my admiration but also all my love for the endless work we have done, especially a work of land reclamation, of love for this land.
Stevie: Good. Then I would say let’s close this.