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Why do we love this wine?

Nonno’s in the backyard stoking the fire of his makeshift pizza oven while Nonna throws ingredients around the kitchen with spirited abandon. A dusting of flour, a handful of leafy basil, too much garlic and the sweetest of tomatoes plucked straight from the garden (of the backyard lined otherwise fence-to-fence with concrete). She’d wink, flash a cheeky smile and waggle a finger at you when asked about that secret sauce she had tucked away in the cupboard… Salami hangs from the rafters. Passata from February lines the pantry. In this house, wild gesticulation is a language universally understood.

Profile

Cherry
Herbaceous
Leather
Medium-bodied
Fresh
Elegant

Who is Gusto Mama?

Wine’s usually an unceremonious affair, opened as much to quench thirst as it is to flesh out the ragout. But Gusto Mama is for those good occasions, when family’s around. It’s on the top shelf in the kitchen, away from underage fingers. Usually this would be the worst place for wine due to heat, but the turnover’s high. It’s still drunk from tumblers, but it’s accompanied by a mumbled, satisfied ‘mmm’ from Nonna and a ‘hfff’ from Nonno as he sinks into his chair. That’s a lot more than you’d get from anything else. You can tell it makes them feel more at home; and you didn’t think that was possible. 

Made by Joel Pizzini & Family

Joel Pizzini’s taken his dad Alfredo’s legacy of making renowned King Valley wines and doubled down on the region’s standout specialty: sangiovese. He’s trained at top wineries around the globe, including Isole e Olena in Chianti - one of the world’s best sangiovese makers. Joel regularly walks the vineyards with his dad, forever honing his knowledge of the land’s foibles and features. 

Of course it’s a family affair, with siblings Natalie, Nicole and Carlo all playing key roles in the business. Alfredo remains Pizzini patriarch, but perhaps the most important person of all - of course - is Katrina, who isn’t only Pizzini ambassador but, fittingly, also runs her own cooking school. A mama with much gusto indeed! 

The Wine

Her secret is out, and we’ve bottled it. Gusto Mama is effortlessly fresh, capturing that 2017 vintage goodness with panache, assuredness and a certain suavity. An inescapably seamless bundle of red fruits, spice and earth lures you in. Perfectly ripe red cherry, sage and a touch of lime, black pepper and cocoa, rolled up in that hedonistic sense-memory of pottery clay. There’s a fresh jam-filled doughnut thing going on, too, that speaks of grapes kept happy from budburst to bottling. The palate’s brightly juicy, packed with more generous red fruit. It’s lightly dusty to match the juiciness, with a fine line that lengthens everything just the right amount. This is a wine not of power or boldness, but of tension and poise. Deliberation, if you will.

Gusto Mama truly is the matriarch of the dining table. On her command, family rivalries are set aside, at least for the day. This is unpretentious, humble wine with a generous soul but a calm, commanding presence - simply pour into a carafe, share liberally and drink with gusto! 

The wine is rewarding, but wait till you add pizza. We’ve worked out how to make pizza better and that may just be the greatest discovery of all time. Gusto Mama tastes best when paired with lashings of rich tomato sauce, spread over a crispy base and topped off with, well, whatever you want. Pineapple? Controversial, but you do you, mofo. Gusto Mama judges but we sure as hell don’t. 

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Wine Nerd Stuff
It’s cool, we get it, you want to know absolutely everything about this wine. Well here you go, go nuts.

Specs

Region
King Valley
Vintage
2017
Cellaring
2025
Preservatives
Sulphites
Alcohol by Vol.
13.5%
Closure
Screwcap
Bottle Vol
750mL
Blend Info
100% Sangiovese
Serving Temp.
15.0°C

Winemaking

Viticulture
Crafting

Region

King Valley
Food Union
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Goes with

Light Pasta
Pizza
Pork
Life Union
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Autumn by the fire
Banger sangers and BBQs
Weekend in the country
Deejay Mofo
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