Genius Loci: New Allocations of Italian Icon & Natural Wine Giant Paolo Bea

Posted on: 12/5/18 4:56 PM

Paolo Bea

There is nothing left to write about Paolo Bea. No stone has been left unturned which hasn’t been been used to pontificate or hype. Hipsters love them, retired people adore them. So do restaurant owners from Manhattan to Topeka, not to mention NBA stars Instagram. Paolo Bea has reached that level of the wine stratosphere that rarely exists.

We’ve loved these wines since the start. Though we have problems with many “Natural” wines Paolo Bea is not one of them. They are superb. They’re beautiful. There is simply nothing quite like them.

Bold, rustic, intensely cerebral, everyone has had a unique Bea experience, and everyone has an opinion on that experience. They are immersive, unusual and deeply expressive of terroir. That is what makes them so endearing and rare. In an age of hype and a disappearing attention span, they are firmly still in present conversation – be it of experimental organic viticulture, of place, of the use of native grapes, of skin contact vinification ¬ and this discussion has been going on since the mid-1980’s.

2011 was an exceptional vintage for Bea. More from importer, Neal Rosenthal: “Bea has a history of performing extremely well in hot vintages, as proven by his jaw-dropping 2007s and 2005s, and these 2011s are indeed among the most arresting and lively wines we have experienced in our long history together. Bea is justly lauded for producing the most nuanced, layered, energetic renditions of the thick-skinned, difficult Sagrantino in existence, but his Sangiovese-driven wines in 2011 easily equal the Sagrantinos in power and depth.”

Each new series of releases from Paolo Bea is eagerly anticipated and tightly allocated. We’re very happy with the amount of wine we have received, but we still expect there is not nearly enough for everyone. Please get your requests in early.

2014 “Lapideus” Trebbiano Spoletino Umbria Bianco

“Giampiero acquired a parcel of 80-year-old Trebbiano Spoletino in the town of Pigge di Trevi several years back, and thus with this 2014 we have an exciting new addition to the Bea lineup. apricots, cloves, and candied ginger. If “Arboreus” is a sea to swim in, “Lapideus” is a rocket to ride, emphasizing drive and lift over layered density. It is still a wine of impressive power, especially given its modest 12% alcohol, but the fruit here is more direct, pure, and foregrounded.” -Neal Rosenthal Imports

2011 Rosso de Veo Umbria Rosso

“Bea’s red wines in the 2011 vintage are explosively intense, and the never-exactly-demure “San Valentino” delivers even more firepower and gutsiness than usual. Well-balanced despite its 15% alcohol, its exuberant nose is a maelstrom of Indian spice, black fruits, and sandalwood, with a subtle yet crucial note of volatility—a classic Bea signature—adding lift to the primordial funk. Despite its richness, the palate is kinetic with plenty of acidity and a real sense of energy to the formidable tannins. This is a wine of controlled chaos, an unabashedly wild creation borne of risk and patience, and none of its many historical fans should find it anything less than stupendous.” -Neal Rosenthal Imports

2011 Montefalco Rosso Riserva “Pipparello” 

“Similarly large-scaled as the “San Valentino” above, “Pipparello” is more overwhelmingly brooding, and even more intense in its concentration. The glowering, ultra-savory nose is a thick swamp of camphor, black olives, fresh tar, and sandalwood, with pretty high-toned spices lurking in the background. Like “San Valentino,” its palate is arrestingly dense, yet it carries an incredible amount of energy given its overall disposition—a study in opposing forces that contributes welcome tension. This is a rough-and-tumble, wholly uncompromising wine without a polite bone in its body, yet it still manages to be erudite and nuanced—an embodiment of the spirit of the Bea style at its most extreme.” -Neal Rosenthal Imports

2011 Montefalco Sagrantino Secco “Pagliaro”

“Bea produces perhaps his most renowned wine from pure Sagrantino grown on the prized hilltop site of “Pagliaro,” situated at 1300 feet above sea level in Montefalco proper. As one might expect given the power of the 2011 vintage, this wine approximates a cosmic event—neutron-star-dense, with a brooding interweaving of elements that seem to have its own gravity field yet bristles with explosive energy. On the nose, one feels the presence of the whole plant and the earth in which it grows: savory, complex fruits both fresh and dried, all laced with a balsamic undertone; black licorice and warm spice cake; and stem-influenced, wispy, almost herbal notes which counterbalance the wine’s bottomless depth. This is a bold, riotous, flashy vintage of “Pagliaro” that will surely stun all those who cross its path.” -Neal Rosenthal Imports

2010 Montefalco Sagrantino Secco “Cerrete”

“It is difficult to believe that Montefalco Sagrantino can get any more profound, any more layered, than Bea’s fabled “Pagliaro”—but it can. From a vintage that deftly balanced Sagrantino’s innate ferocity with an appealing balancing acidity, this wine displays a thrilling tension between its coiled, seething tannins and its still-youthful fruit. Aromatically speaking, the 2010 “Cerrete” is a passionate love letter to spice. One can imagine a weathered spice trader from centuries ago, his woolen coat bulging with wares from exotic locales; this wine is the inside of that coat. This is Sagrantino whose wildness is given full rein, yet whose precise and lithe movements still convey a sense of discipline, and the lucky few to gain access to it will find it nothing short of a marvel.” -Neal Rosenthal Imports

Posted in Daily Flash By Tim Sellon