Be it the freshly cut flowers or sweet cherries and spices, its silky open knit texture or its excellent focus, Monte Bernardi’s one-liter bottle of “Italia Ti Amo” is an open love letter to Italian wine. And no, we don’t mean one particular appellation, but every appellation.

The author of this love letter is a winemaker named Michael Schmelzer, an ex-pat from Michigan who has wrangled fruit from all over Italy (Sangiovese, Malvasia Nera, Canaiolo, Frappato, Nero d'Avola, Nerello Mascalese, and Montepulciano) and crafted a remarkable little table wine worth its weight in gold.

2016 Monte Bernardi “Italia Ti Amo” 1L Bottle


More About the Wine

“It’s fresh, it’s chuggable and it’s cheap.” Yes, you can easily summarize what is admittedly an easy, delightfully straight-forward bottle of wine. But then you are also missing the point of why this bottle is special.

First, all the fruit Mr. Schmelzer has sourced is coming from organic vineyards. While that may feel not particularly exciting, it represents an important reflection on why Mr. Schmelzer is so good at what he does.

Fruit grown 100% organically is not an easy feat. Nor is it cheap to buy. Add in the complex and time sensitive transportation involved in sourcing from all over Italy and I wonder how at this bottle even exists.

Although he was born a million miles away from Tuscany, Mr. Schmelzer has clearly demonstrated his talent for not only making wine, but for finding fellow growers that share his passion for honest, organic viticulture. How he has managed to do that all over Italy, from North to South, and blend it together to make something so fresh, and clearly seriously well-made, is beyond me. It’s an accomplishment that deserves a bigger billing than your Tuesday night pizza wine, but then again Mr. Schmelzer, a down to earth man who, like his wines, delights in the magic of simplicity, making your weeknight special may be good enough. Besides, isn’t that what great wine is about?