The polymathic David Giuliano — opera singer by training, wine guy by vocation — earned a loyal following during his years at Little Owl, bringing an impeccable selection to that sliver of Bedford St. Now he’s been handed the keys to the kingdom, as it were, on the other side of the Village: the atmospheric trove of a cellar underneath Donna Lennard’s longtime Bond St. spot, the contents of which were assembled over two decades by Roberto Paris.
The net effect is special: an Italianate list (with accents from France, Spain, Slovenia, and elsewhere) that finds a perfect balance of classic and contemporary. The outré Massa Vecchia can sit next to traditionalists like Cantina di Terlano, and everyone gets along. And the years spent building out the Il Buco collection means back vintages are sprinkled through the list like semi-hidden gems.
La Staffa Rincrocca Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2016 ($75)
The fortunes of verdicchio have improved markedly in recent times; no longer is it a simple seafood wine, so much as arguably northern Italy’s most soulful, compelling white grape. Here the young talent Riccardo Baldi shows off how profound a wine it can make, namely from a selection of old heritage vines.
Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella 2006 ($225)
Once upon a time, Amarone — the Veneto’s answer to late-harvest Zinfandel, basically — was Kind of a Big Deal. Lo, those days are kind of gone, with tastes growing lighter and fresher, which makes it precisely the moment to rediscover Valpolicella, which is Amarone’s lighter, fresher sibling. Here’s one from the region’s reference name, with a good 15 years ago — a reminder that this region, and its wines, are overdue for a New York comeback.
Giuseppe Mascarello Toetto Langhe Freisa 2017 ($85)
Freisa is among that gaggle of less-known Piedmontese grapes that the great Barolo and Barbaresco makers — including this particular Mascarello, whose cantina is in Monchiero — take deep pride in. The mineral headiness and forward fruit are everything you want for spring.