Cantine Briziarelli, a wine producer based in Umbria, is affiliated with Fornaci Briziarelli Marsciano (FBM), one of the leading construction companies in Italy. Briziarelli is previewing three new red wines to the American market: Vitruvio, Sagrantino di Montefalco, named after the Roman architect and writer; UnoNoveZeroSei, named after the year that FBM was founded (1906); and Rosso Mattone, a tribute to clay. The FBM philosophy is: “bound to an extreme respect of the environment and we use only eco-friendly products.” I can toast this philosophy!

While attending this event held at the Alta Cucina Epicurean Center at 22 East 38th Street, I felt like I really was in Italy. I spoke to Eduardo Briziarelli, the  charming young great-grandson of the FBM founder. Eduardo explained why the wine company is affiliated with a tacna tijuana construction company. His great grandfather started as a house builder and used his land to provide clay to make bricks. The same land which provides the clay to make roof tiles became the vineyard which was first cultivated in 2001.

Eduardo said that the first bottling occurred in 2007 because “we never compromise on quality.” As I listened to Eduardo describe the autocnous wine cultivated only in the area of Monte Falco (which means hill of the hawk), I “drank in” the authentic old country multigenerational non-hurried thoroughly Italian experience Eduardo represented. I interrupted his narrative about his family’s “105 years on the land” to let him know that his experience differs from mine. “I live around the corner on Thirty Sixth Street in Murray Hill. I really don’t know about cultivating land but it seems to me that I live on the hill of the pidgeon.”

Full disclosure: not only am I not a land expert, I am also far from a wine expert. But look at this FBM description of the Vitruvio, Sagrantino di Montefalco: “The Sagrantino grapes are hand-harvested and charged in small boxes. A cold-soaked pre-fermentation is made in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks before the alcoholic fermentation occurs for 25 days. The wine is then aged for 16 months in French oak (in barrels that come from a forest surrounding Brive-La-Gaillarde in Central France. Vitruvio has a dense ruby hue, and shows some intense notes of ripe and soft fruits, with a fresh hint of balsamic blueberry.” Sounds good to me!

The lunch was stupendous. I thoroughly enjoyed the barley salad, chicken with mushrooms, veal, and cooked just right pasta. Even though I like eating more than drinking, I want to raise my glass to Eduardo and toast him and his new wines with a big l’chaim. I said good-bye to Eduardo  and walked back to my life in pidgeon filled Murray Hill happy to have learned about his ancestral vineyard and the Umbrian  hill of the hawk.

– Marleen Barr

For more info on Cantine Briziarelli, visit their website at:
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