Having come upon a dream property in the heart of Valpolicella Classica in 1993, Alfredo Buglioni became the proud owner of a beautiful farmhouse and of 3.5 hectares of vineyards planted to local varieties Corvina, Corvinone, Molinara and Rondinella. This would be the beginning of a fantastic winemaking journey on which Alfredo embarked with his son Mariano.
Thirty years later, the Buglioni estate now spans across 55 hectares – 50 of which in Valpolicella’s DOC and DOCG, with the remaining five falling within the Lugana DOC – all managed under organic practices since 2019.
Learning from the best
Confident about the quality of the fruit of their newly-bought property but humble enough to acknowledge their lack of expertise to make the most out of it, Alfredo and Mariano decided to donate their grapes to renowned producers in exchange for viticultural and oenological insight. This exchange, which lasted for seven vintages, allowed them to build their knowledge and define a clear vision for their own project and wines.
Their persistence and determination explains the father-and-son’s nickname: ‘Teste Dure’, two stubborn, perseverant and passionate men with a shared love for wine, Valpolicella and the art of sharing.
Building upon their acquired knowledge and passionate commitment, Alfredo and Mariano have crafted a truly interesting and characterful range that defies styles and stereotypes. With Diego Bertoni at their side since 2000, hired when he was a young newly-graduated oenologist, they’ve managed to quickly gain a reputation for their range’s expressiveness, quality and commitment to sustainability.
The collection now includes the traditional styles of Valpolicella (Amarone, Amarone Riserva, Ripasso, Superiore and Recioto), Lugana DOC, white and rosé table wines, a Pet Nat and two Charmat method sparkling wines. They strike a balance between terroir expression, understanding of tradition and a desire to create modern interpretations of classical styles.
The playful and evocative names given to each of the wines helps to convey this sense of modern, creative classicism.
Forging a unique path
Confronted with the scepticism of the industry’s establishment towards a newly created concept, the father and son used the challenge as an opportunity to forge their own path and create a unique, personal route to market. In 2005, they converted a shop in downtown Verona into a wine bar selling exclusively Buglioni wines. Osteria del Bugiardo quickly became a favourite among locals and visitors alike, catalysing the success of both the wines and the spirit of Buglioni.
The hospitality component of Buglioni has indeed become central to its name and ethos. The Osteria – and its sister Piscaria del Bugiardo – is now part of a collection of venues that also includes two other restaurants (Locanda Buglioni and Enoteca del Bugiardo), accommodation in Valpolicella (Dimora Buglioni) and apartments in Verona (Buglioni Residenze). These are now compulsory stops if visiting Valpolicella, as highlighted in Decanter’s own recommended itinerary.
Questioning assumptions and daring to think differently has allowed Buglioni to build a strong and committed following that has supported its growth while remaining faithful to the project’s founding principles.
The construction of a new, state-of-the-art cellar, to be completed in later 2023, will allow Buglioni to consolidate its commitment to quality, while allowing for more research and experimentation. Today, the project’s goal remains the same that inspired its inception: to produce wines that trigger emotional experiences and create shared memories.
‘You have to follow nature and touch everything,’ sums up Mariano Buglioni.
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