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Why Wine-Lovers (and Everyone Else) Are Obsessed With Italy

Italy is more than a country. It is an idea, a way of life, a dream—and a nightmare, depending on who you ask. But the country has indisputably captivated the American imagination for generations, appearing time and time again in the American zeitgeist via film, fashion, music, food and wine.

Perhaps it’s because for many, the country represents an ideal life—an escape from the daily grind of the United States. It’s a place where ancient and modern combine to create something special. The feeling it elicits? The so-called “la dolce vita.” 

In this episode, we explore the concept of “Italianality” with newly minted Master of Wine Andrea Lonardi and journalist Jessica Dupuy. The pair are writing a book that explores and explains the subject and why it has never been more important—not just to Italy, but to the world. Together, they seek to distill the beauty, culture, history, food, wine and regional differences found throughout the country via stories with winemakers, chefs, cultural icons and more. 

As the duo explain, “Italianality” is more than just a clever play on words; it’s a philosophy that encapsulates the very soul of Italy. Whether you’re sipping a spritz, Negroni or glass of wine, savoring a plate of homemade pasta or admiring the sleek lines of a Ferrari, there’s an unmistakable quality that permeates all things Italian. 

Whether you’re a seasoned Italophile or simply curious about what makes this country so special, this episode is not to be missed.

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Episode Transcript

Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting.

Speakers: Jeff Porter, Andrea Lonardi, Jessica Dupuy

Jeff Porter  00:09

Hello, and welcome to the Wine Enthusiast podcast. You’re serving drinks culture and the people who drive. I’m Jeff Porter writer at large and reviewer for Northern Italy here wine enthuse Italy and its wines hold a special place in many people’s hearts and on the table, but it remains a mystery to most of us. Because of its diversity of grapes, 1000s of years of history and numerous styles of walk. Today, we are speaking with two people working hard to break down those barriers and get to the root of what makes Italian wine so special. Master of wine, Andrea Lonardi, and journalist Jessica Dupuy. Together are exploring the ins and outs of Italian wine via Andrea’s philosophy of “Italianity.” What does that mean? And how can we use it? Well, that’s what we’re gonna find out today.

Jeff Porter  00:57

Good morning to Jessica and good afternoon to Andrea. This is the beauty of the global Internet that we have now I sound like an 800 year old person, the global Internet. But I’m super excited to talk to y’all today. I have two of the most esteemed journalist writers wind professionals that there are across the globe. On our podcast today we have Andrea Lonardi and Jessica Dupuy, a combination that I think on paper, we wouldn’t be sure that happened. But the beauty of the wine business is chance meetings, develop relationships that last a lifetime. And that’s, that’s what we’re going to dig into today. Jessica hails from Texas, my home state as well, and is a renowned journalist who has also contributed to Wine Enthusiast amongst many other publications. And is Andrea’s partner in this project they’re going to speak about later today. And then Andrea Lonardi is one of Italy’s foremost wine scholars, winemakers, vignerons, when you pull up your MW profile, you have expertises on so many different things that we’re gonna dig into, you have to actually scroll like, if you look at my bio on one thing, you just look at it, but you for you, you have to kind of go down. There’s so many things that you you’ve touched in your career. And I was thinking back, Andrea, like when we first met, this is most of an adult posto maybe over a decade and a half ago. And just the energy that you brought helped kind of transformed my wine career. And I think a lot of other people around the globe say the same. But today we’re going to talk about what brought y’all two together, and why Italy now specifically holds this place in the world of wine that I think is greater than it’s ever been and its existence. So welcome to you both. And thank you very, very much for joining us, Jessica, I’m really, really curious about how a Texan like yourself, got into wine in ended up being the partner with Andrea on this project that we’re going to speak about soon. 

Jessica Dupuy  03:05

Well, not to embellish the stereotype for Texans. But as they say, everything’s bigger in Texas. And in my case, my mouth is really big stuff. I have a tendency to throw out a bunch of ideas at times and end up getting myself tangled into things. So in the case of Andrea, I was on a trip while he was working with Bella Suga and Montalcino few years ago, and that’s the first time I met him. And like you, Jeff, I was very kind of enamored with the energy that he brought to the room. He was not just an ordinary winemaker talking about all the tools and bells and whistles he had in his cellar, he was talking about something much deeper than even the wines on the table. And so it was kind of my first intuition like this guy. This guy’s got something going on that I think he wants to express and I can’t figure out quite what it is. So then about a year later, I came back and this time was at Bertani in Valopolicella. And he was speaking again and this is when he started using this word Italianality or Italian that he. And I think that it was this connection point for me, I was like, Ah, this is kind of where he was going. The first time I met him his energy. So really high. He’s very inspired when he starts talking about this. And there’s this passion there. And yeah, I think, you know, you could you could argue that a lot of Italians have this kind of passion and this great energy when they come talk about just about anything that excites them. But with Andrea, this was deeper. And so I don’t know, we were talking and I was like, you know, you’re really into this I think you should really capture this and you should you should write a book about this. This would be an amazing book because it really spans the country it really give people kind of like an under the hood, look at the personality and and beyond just what’s in the glass. The people behind it. You know, he’s like, that’s a great idea. I totally want to do that. But I don’t right. So I’m going to do I need you to write it for me. And I was like, Oh, okay. And that I mean, I mean, but once you know, once I grab an idea like that I’m like, Alright, let’s run with it. Let’s see, let’s see how far we can take this. And so that’s been the process for the past few months is developing, really charting it out. How do we do this? And, you know, using connections that I have in the US and obviously connections he has in Italy, and it’s been a really, really exciting time.

Jeff Porter  05:27

Well, I think it’s like you again, the infectiousness of Andrea is kind of the charm that just not charm as a as like charming personality, but a charm that like you want to be next to all the time to learn and grow from Andrea sorry, to to make you blush a little bit I can see through this screen because you’re one of the most humble people I’ve ever met in the wine industry. For someone that has a resume that one day you look at it, you don’t think one person could do all that. And I want to start kind of we’ll start at today and work a little bit backwards to get the background on why Italianity exist and bring me back to it everybody, because I’m going to say a few times rock because I’m still learning Italian. But now we’re cramming Italian and part of an English word together. So, Andrea, can you can you tell us first the title of the philosophy that you’ve been working on the past few years?

Andrea Lonardi  06:25

It’s first of all, thank you for for the presentation. Thank you, Jeff. Thank you, Jessica. I’m really proud to be here today about talking about this product. Jessica was really…both of you were very important in this project. First, Jeff because the third time that I was I pronounce the word Italy it was in front of Jeff and Jeff brought me the idea about the developing this concept. It gave me the dimension. What is Italianity? So Italianity it was before just an idea which if it became an idea with a weight it for me wonder is weight is like wine when it hits mid-palate is that to be such wine. And thanks to Jessica, because Jessica was the person that when I met I’d realize it how much is important to do things in a team. And I say if there is an there is only one opportunity that I can I can give to somebody else the opportunity of reading and understanding about materiality is if I will do that with a professional person. And I say the right person to do is not just because she’s a great journalist, writer, but for me because she’s a great person. And I feel that this is the right person to share their music with her. So Italianity is just expressing the fact that I’m not 100% In terms of blood Italian but I grew up in in Italy and I come from a long generation, fourth generation eventually China winemaking family was actually Vigneron, we own the land and making wines for such a long time. But probably there are some parts of my blood as many not such a feat that he did. There’s some Austrian blog but I I am Italian and I really realized that I became a stronger Italian when I moved away from Italy for many years because they work in international in many different places regionals countries. And finally I realized that my background my DNA was in some places different and and again I’ve realized that that is beautiful work in an environment where people are different and everybody can bring in more complexity to the table. But there is for sure in this table, the fact that there are if the different people you can easily recognize a guy that is follow a girl that is from Italy. They are talking about expressing their they are showing the fact that they are in tiny and a very unique way you might not probably say where exactly this guy is coming from but you can sure say okay this person is for sure Italian because it is such Italian. And I think that there is a perfect connection between people and why. So is the same in terms of wine. When you taste a lot of wines. You can say probably I don’t know exactly where this wine is coming from but for sure is a little bland and probably this wines from Bordeaux or maybe can be from South Africa. But it is not for sure in Napa Valley or in Australia. But if you taste some Italian wines you can easily say I don’t know If it is Barolo if it is Sangiovese from Tuscany or from Brunello or maybe he’s Nerello Mascalese from Etna. But there is one thing that I’m sure under the sun, this is a such an Italian why. And so, it reality is expressing the sense. And that is not a sense of simplicity. But it is acting by communicating something that is very simple analyzing the complexity that is inside

Jeff Porter  10:28

When you were abroad. And this is I think before the the idea of italiana it kind of sunk into your brain. But you had mentioned that it was not until you were abroad. I’m curious where you were, and what was the thing that triggered you to realize, Wow, I’m Italian, I find that an interesting thing that it was going away from your home country to realize kind of who you were internally.

Andrea Lonardi  10:52

That would be a chapter, say inside the book that is really expressing the sense. One of the big supporter of my Italianity sense was Rocco Lombardo. When Rocco Rocco he is the president and of Wilson Danis United States and it was my boss when I started to work as a sales guy in New York. Back to 25 years ago, you were assessed division Rocco was the GM of the Metropolitan Searcy division of Manhattan fulfill requirements. And, and always we were discussing with Rocco and Rocco recently told me something that is unique and say, you know, the Italian has like his sense of minority versus de France.

Jeff Porter  11:43

I think I understand what you’re saying. Yeah,

Andrea Lonardi  11:45

There is an always and that is the reason because I move away from Itality. The sense of inferiority

Jeff Porter  11:53

Inferior. I think this is the thing I’ve explained to a lot of people in my time as a sommelier working in Italian restaurants and speaking with producers. And I feel it’s until recently and this is you when you and I spoke last, when we were doing that Petroni event in New York, there was a chip on the shoulder for Italian wine producers. With regards to France. There’s this thing you always had to look over your shoulders. What are the French doing? What do we have to do to be like them? And I feel like today and I this is where I think your philosophy Andrea really struck me is today I feel like Italians only need to look forward and so many of them are they don’t have to look back and there’s no inferiority.

Andrea Lonardi  12:31

There is no inferiority and then by traveling and by tried to go around, I went to Languedoc Mon Palais and move it to Bordeaux, Rhone Valley, Burgundy, Champagne, I went to Sonoma when Sonoma started to be the most important wine region in the world for the new type of Chardonnay made in the boonies style. On the same time, I was traveling Napa Valley, and there was always a resurge of trying to be somebody else. And after doing this experience, and after that, starting the master of wine, I realize it that Italy need to remove completely the sense of inferiority that we have versus other wine regions, estates, we have our sense of place, we have our sense of the tinium. Let’s explore that bar. And starting by the big concept and say, I’m Italian and after that, I will tell you why. I’m Italian from Sicily from Tuscany, and if I’m from Tuscany, why I’m different. If I come from Cantania, or why I’m different try personalities from Vino Nebbio or Ticino or if you have a project in the coast, so, and but without any sense of inferiority, but but try to bring out the values of the different areas. And you know, when you start to master of wine, you start to have descriptors that tell you why this wine is from Bordeaux, why this wine is a Pinot Noir from region and why it is a premier group from region. And I started to think how we can express that in Italy, which are the different elements that distinguish us and I started to realize that by tried to find the different elements that were making the difference between the regions and integrate varieties, I started to realize then more than any other other place probably South Africa as we sense of a South African style or regions. Italy has some aspects that are common and not all the regions has this aspects like a Nebbiolo or a Sangiovese or a Nerello Mascalese from the habit advantage aspects that are common between between that

Jeff Porter  15:00

It’s even though I mean, this is like, in a more metaphorical sense than scientific sense, obviously, is that there’s a DNA that runs north, south east west that links all these things together, I think unknowingly at the beginning and it’s only now through people like yourself through tasting and I was thinking that do you feel that you’re Masters of Wine Experience going through that whole process tasting wines from all over the world having to be didactic about places that have nothing to do with Italy? Do you think that experienced help you draw inferences and understanding on Italy itself?

Andrea Lonardi  15:39

Yes, yes, for sure. The mindset of wine was brought me in another dimension. But brought me in another dimension not because gave me the title of Master why because it was a place and it was a network where I needed to show and I needed to present and I needed to develop net in connection in a different way. So I was expose it in a certain situation when I really realized that that it was an opportunity for me to to talking about detail in another level. And that is part of also how our team with Gabrielle and Pietro we were the first not just because we were better than somebody else just because we decided to work in team and we brought inside the institute the Italian way of being of being a master of wine so we totally study it live it and we share it wines morning finance or tales all together. And that and but on the same time we were always very elegant. We were always on time we were always on top of the of the subject. So we brought the new Italian away so and that was a sense of bringing to the room and say a Italians are not just pass them on. Italians today have something different.

Jessica Dupuy  17:05

Yes if I could add I think it’s a fascinating from an outside perspective. I feel like in knowing Andrea Now the way that I do what’s interesting is the master of wine almost was like that final key that allowed him to be able to use the word Italianality so leaving his home and working in other places is one of them. But then the master of wine and Jeff, you may, you may know this, because we’re both American. I’ve lived in the UK or been in the UK quite a bit. And, and I feel like we almost take for a take for granted as Sommeliers and wine professionals, the world of wine that is at our fingertips, and how we’re taught to express it either on the floor or in our writing. But having that Italian-ness a lot of times you get those those narrow blinders if you’re not traveling, if you’re not tasting wines from around the world. And the more he was talking about Italian wines in this way, it became clear to me that it’s because he’s had the experience of comparing wines from other places, even South Africa not just France, right, not just the French curiosity complex, but everywhere else so to me I just wanted to mention that that is that’s kind of that final little piece of the puzzle that given him that that ability to kind of emphasize it with with more clarity with more definition.

Jeff Porter  18:28

Yeah, I want to just back up a little bit for those people who aren’t so inside baseball as we are the master of wine program is in my opinion, having studied for the master small yay and taking the test two times and not passing it. I never pursued the WSET. I’m thinking about it now now that I’m older and feel like I have a different kind of path in my life. But so WSET in the Masters of Wine program is I think in my in my head kind of the most comprehensive education program and and to become a master of wine is a monumental feat that I think is greater than climbing Everest or even being an Astronaut, but I’m a little biased, but for those that don’t know, so there are three Masters of Wine from Italy. Andrea was number two, there was another gentleman who was all our friend Gabrielle Gorelli who was the first one and then Pietro Russo from from Sicily. Got his recently and this is all within the past 18 months. Yeah, the three of you have all become masters of wine.

Andrea Lonardi  19:27


Jeff Porter  19:27

And I like what you said is you brought an Italian-ness that was known but then the new Italy which now living in Italy, I think so many people specifically estates have a misnomer about what does it mean to be an Italian they’re always late. It’s a little like Manana mentality. And that’s not true. Italians are some of the hardest working on time punctual, get it done. people I’ve ever met my life and this is for the entire country, north, the south. It’s a little different in every region, but the there is a misnomer. And I think for the three of you to work like that together and prove to the world that this is the new Italy is is such a milestone and chapeau to to you and your colleagues for this great achievement. I remember that the day I saw that the Instagram that you passed I DMed you and was like oh my god, congratulations! But to be able to I like what you said to unlock that that unlocked that final door for us to speak about that. And that’s what I want to get into. But the heart of the matter now that we’ve we’ve all kind of caught up this this philosophy and I’ll never forget it. We were at a seminar for Brittani about Amarone which is a wine that’s near and dear to my heart. I’m one of the weird similes in the world today. That’s that I’m a supporter and I believe in Amarone and I think people need to stop looking at it just as a line of process. There’s terroir a unique quality to the wine. But it was at this this this luncheon that we’re having that you brought up, you know, Italian, in again, correct me, Jessica. It’s Italian and personality put together. So it’s Italianality 

Jessica Dupuy  21:07


Andrea Lonardi  21:09


Jeff Porter  21:10

So Italianality and you mentioned it Andrea and it hit me like a giant wave in Hawaii like it bowled me over because for 20 years, I could not put a finger on what I’ve been trying to explain to people and you wrapped it up in one word, and I was instantly hooked in you kind of explained it as a whole but could you give us you know, an obviously for the people will dig in deeper into the book. But as you through all these things that put together and finally having the MW kind of unlock that key. In a brief overview, how would you really describe, you know, Italiananlity to us as the lay people that aren’t so deep into Italian wine culture?

Andrea Lonardi  21:54

Italianality it is a matter of three things. If we are talking with a glass of wine in front of us, it’s a matter of color. It’s a matter of aromas and a matter of power structure. Colors let’s let’s see what we let’s talk about reds. They have always pale Ruby color. But there is a second aspect about pale ruby color. It;s not just pale is a pale Ruby, that if you age, the wine stays for many years the same. And she wrote to aromas s another the other aspect there almost is this combination of what I call Campari character. It’s orange peel, maritime air, a little bit of pepper, some cherry candy fruit, some balsamic that is what we call is better to explain like Alpine herb. So this very complex combination of things is what they call amaro Campari. And the third element is the power structure. And it is wilted by two things. It’s what is made by acidity and tannins level they bring into the palette and in tradable energy. So the combination of the two things express as one element that they like to call verticality, but it’s more and it is more about energy. So that is something that Jesseica invented in a really love his part is there are grips that are connecting very well to this aspect. And Jessica expresses that part in pieces a spy, you know, is our spine in the batch. And starting by Nebbiolo, you stop in the node with a little bit of Schiava and Corvina. And you go down to to Tuscany and it is all about Sangiovese and you go down a little bit farther and you arrive in Siciliy is Nerello and a little bit of Nero d’Avola. So these wine, these grape varieties, they’re all connected in spine, the have a bone in the middle, and a machine that is and that this is also the part where you know our nerves, the moving and I think that Italy has this spine that is connecting these varieties, for sure they are different if you go inside that specific element and in the book who will explain about the different elements about that. But they are all connected in an incredible way.

Jeff Porter  24:52

And Jessica, when you first sat down to discuss this book idea, how did you how did you compute this And what were the things that you know, you were like, okay, and it kind of created this energy within yourself to like, be like, okay, ah, the spine like in my head. Once I saw and read earlier about the spine, I immediately thought, Okay, well there’s the app nines, and that’s kind of a really good metaphor. And then also, is that kind of that when you were sitting down these these, like light bulbs went off, and you’re just connecting all the dots?

Jessica Dupuy  25:26

Yeah, it’s, it’s a combination of a lot of things. Because I think, you know, north to south, we always talk about Italy as the boot, and now we’re moving away from the boot. And we’re talking about this spinal cord. And but I do think that, you know, we want to be, I want to be careful. And Andrea is the same way, because we’ll talk about whites in a similar way. But you know, in terms of the red grapes, there are hundreds of, of grape varieties throughout the country of Italy. So we don’t want to dismiss any of them. But there really is these these core elements, especially from a global perspective, right? Like, these are the grapes, the grape varieties that are really getting out there, and that people are starting to understand and lock in and zero in on that. Okay, this is the core of what Italianality is in terms of red wines. And it just so happens that it really does go north to south along that along that geography is that the app nines, I don’t know, or ebony, nice. Is it a scientific thing? We’re not scientists. So we’re not even going to touch that we will bring in some voices of different people who scientifically may be able to speak to that. These aren’t necessarily great varieties that are familiarly woven together. But it is definitely a common thread that you definitely experienced throughout these Italian wines. But for me, my background is also in food in addition to wine writing, and it’s in social culture. And so the more we were talking about it, it’s like, okay, so there’s that. There’s the common thread. This is how the winds function. But it’s so much more than that. And, and when you taste some of these wines in the glass, you’re never except for Sommeliers like us who might be like training for a new vocation or something. The wines are enjoyed, at a table with people among friends among family, it’s part of the lifestyle, it’s part of the way things are made. And so to me, it was like, how do we encapsulate that all together into one story? And so I think that’s what you’re going to find in this book is not only is it a very I don’t want to say academic because we’re trying to not be too academic, but we’re trying to be very much show not tell if you will, through the words that we right, but you’re gonna see things like you know, I don’t want to name specific names yet. But, you know, being in Bulgari, like, this is a perfect example of a region where perhaps French inferiority was a problem for a while but now after so many decades of creating Bordeaux blends. Bulgari has adopted a French way. And now those grapes have adopted Italy, right. But well deeper into showing someone that’s from there that wasn’t trying to prove this in any particular way other than just working hard and doing what needed to be done. And at the same time, raising a family and cooking you know, local ingredients and having you know, this, this coastal lifestyle. So you may find a recipe or two from that person, you know, there’s going to be more depth to it than just the wines but it’s certainly going to be the wines that guide it.

Jeff Porter  28:37

And Italy right now is going through this kind of I feel like generational shift amongst many, many estates across the entire peninsula with with Italianality, are you seeing a shift in philosophy amongst the younger generation coming up because they’ve had maybe more exposure to travel or more wines? Or is that just more information just like you add in studying for the MW, but they’re still retaining the essence of Italianality as you see it?

Jessica Dupuy  29:07

Yeah, I think you know, you know, Vino Nobile is a really interesting region in terms of being on the precipice of having a next generation really wants to take the reins to a different direction. And I was recently earlier this week actually with with a number of the younger, kind of next gen rube. They were on at a tasting in Houston. And I’ve met them before at Anteprima and it’s this group of guys and I was talking to one of them and they said we literally have put together a tasting group we are trying to make sure that we’re tasting wines from other parts of the world. We’re traveling they’re doing these tastings in different parts of the world. And they’re more than that. They are just wide eyed and and like a sponges just sucking everything in that they can because Their goal is not to emulate or copy what else is out there. But it’s giving them perspective on what they have, and how they can use all the tools that the rest of the world is using to be able to make their region I regional identity stronger. And I think we all if you know anything about you know, nobody lay, I’m obviously not saying di Montepulciano, right, because it’s there’s, there’s a little bit of a name, name game that’s troublesome for them from a marketing standpoint. But these guys are all and I should say, girls, too, because you know, it’s Francesco and Maria Stella Poliziano, they are brothers sister team that are going into this. I think that like that is an example of how we’re going to start to see this next generation take things forward, and particularly in a region that needs that. You know,

Jeff Porter  30:49

I want to follow up on a quick thread that you said, Andrea, you said it, you saw this kind of this shift, where the Italian ality really started to deform that you that people could identify specifically that because prior to that, I’d said I agree, I think the majority of Italy was chasing something else trying to be, you know, somewhat someone else. Was it everyone working up to this point to get the French monkey off their back? Or was there a mentality shift? Or is it a global shift, and that is because you, you’ve traveled the world, you’ve had your hands at everything all over the place for wine. So you’ve had a much better picture on how the world is adapted to Italy and Italy adapted to the world. So I’m really curious about this point.

Andrea Lonardi  31:31

There are different elements, because at that time, there was a change. I was delighted to tell you mine first. My personal one was that I have moved to Sicily on 2003. And I remember that we used to have morning from the European community to plant Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, instead of neurodiverse muscularis. So if you were planting Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc you are receiving more morning, then planting Catawba. And we were also planting in a very continental world. So with 5000 7000 vines per hectare, and we were destroying part of the culture of the Sicilian culture. So the gugele and the bush wines, these type of things. And just a few years later, I’m not talking about 20 years later, I’m talking about five, seven years later, I was telling to a big group, you guys, what we’re doing here is wrong. He had the Mediterran viticulture and this Mediterrean viticulture in the next 15 years with that was the beginning of the climate change. And this is the final answer. The climate change that brought that he brought me the idea of saying, Hey, we have the gold in our hands, we have great variety that are supporting climate change, we have a model of viticulture that it will be expanded in other regions, because other regions, they will be in condition as we are now as we were in the past. And so I started and an in the company where I was there was a GM immediately withdrawn that was very sensitive about these type of things. And he say always, Andre, explain me more about that. Explain me what I say, you know, what we try to copy doesn’t work here doesn’t work in our club, in our Mediterranean climate. And even even now, if you are in every single place where you are in Italy, if there is not my time influence, there is a lake influence with something or there is a month and influence but you are in such meditate and atmosphere everywhere. And so for that reason, the first element was the climate change. Climate change started, tell me what you’re trying to copy doesn’t work here. The second element, or the the word climate change, it was I would you like to say at that time was Bordeaux, the model that was influencing sound. And at that time, the Bordeaux model started to lose a little bit of interest. And we started to talk about burgundy. And exactly if you see, there were two big appellation that drove us in this dimension. One was Barolo you’d be right to say everything was burning, but all everything was born in Piedmont. So Piedmont was the first region where this sense of inferiority went away. And we say with the Barolo boys with that was even before but the real. The real change is when Barolo became an example for all the time and that is different. I don’t want to say when Barolo started to rise that is much more before it’s 195 97. But the 2010 was when Barolo became something to emulate in all the regions and that is where Brunello arise. And we and Sangiovese is strongly connected. And that is where we started to, to really hear, I want to admit the first time when she tells me she does nine, just to have a look and say, okay, and when I tasted the wines, they say, Wow, very similar than other things that you can find in Italy. And you say very similar then Shiraz, or Cab. I say, Well, this is another Italian region with with the soul. And that is the reason because also myself I decided to move and change my job at that time. And I decided to move in a place where I couldn’t express this identity in different places.

Jeff Porter  31:47

That’s awesome. And, and Jessica, in your, your partnership with with Andrea, how would you also have seen this change in talking to producers when when this light bulb because it’s you’ve been driving all around Italy? You guys have a lot of time in the car talking to each other but being producers tasting wine, from your Texas American perspective? What are you hearing in the conversations with the producers about, you know, this, this ability to have Italianality?

Jessica Dupuy  36:05

Well, it’s an interesting question from a perspective of someone not from Italy, because I think in many ways, it’s it’s the story of many new emerging regions, right? Because California did it Texas is has done it, and in many ways is still doing it. Oh, let’s do exactly what France did. Everyone’s got the French inferiority. But I think that you know, for so for someone who’s been experiencing that in a different place to see what’s happening in Italy is fascinating, because as you mentioned, it is technically a young country in terms of its actual unification. But what a word that Andrea keeps hovering and throwing out there in this conversation is the word soul. And yeah, I think is what is now starting to shine through through each of these regions were talking about within Italy is maybe Italy unified in 1861. Maybe for many years, they were emulating Bordeaux, or other parts of France. But what is undeniable is that everyone in Italy, regardless of if you’re in Sicily or Verona, you have an Italian soul, that is a common thread. And so that is what I think is really starting to bubble to the top is people are have, I hate to say pride and like some nationalist term, but more like, it’s this strength of identity that they don’t want to hide anymore. And they won’t hide it when they’re sitting around the table together, right. They don’t hide it when they’re enjoying life together. And so for many years, I think they thought they had to hide it in a way in their wines. And as as Andrea saying, Barolo kind of became that first region that’s like a, no more, we like we are the place to emulate. And we are going to start letting others within our own nationality or culture, follow that story, rather than the story of someone else who did it before us. That’s something that I think is becoming very, very clear, as you go up and down from north to south.

Jeff Porter  38:41

Well, I think, you know, in the, in the world of wine books that that have been coming out, and I feel like in 2023, there are a few different Italian centric wine books that have come out, but none have really, you know, hit the hit this identity. I like that the idea that there’s a philosophical identity, and personality to a wine is near and dear to my heart, and I’m excited to see this book. I know, there’s a lot of work in front of both of y’all to put it together. When do you expect or you know, spediamo? Hopefully, when do you think we’ll be able to see the book?

Jessica Dupuy  39:21

Yeah, so the goal right now is in the, you know, the publishing business is a whole other thing. We could do an entire entire podcast on that. But the goal is fall 2025. But as Andre has mentioned, you know, kind of working on this new journey as a strategic adviser for different family and established brands throughout the country. We’re also launching the website, Andre, which will have a piece of Italianality on that, and so, kind of people can start to look, it’ll be a little teasers of how we’re going to be expressing that in the book. It’s not going to be the book itself. because that would make no sense. But the the goal is to give people a taste of this and make that a place where people can kind of really see what’s happening there.

Jeff Porter  40:11

Awesome. Well, I can’t thank you enough. I’ve taken up way too much of your time, y’all. I greatly appreciate it. Jessica. It’s a pleasure. I’m always excited to see a fellow Texas line traveler and that see your name on this book is very, very exciting. And Andrea, always a pleasure and honor. Every time I see and listen to you, my heart, my heart grows and my my knowledge expands. So I can’t thank you enough. And where can we find y’all online? We got we got the new website for Andrea coming but you have Instagram. Where can people follow your daily daily travels and exploits?

Jessica Dupuy  40:50

We’re going to work we’re going to work on Andrea becoming a social media influencer. You can find You can find me at Andrea, your @AndreaLeonardiMW on Instagram. Myself, I’m @JessicaNDupuy. And as in Nancy because someone else named Jessica Dupuy took the handles. So there you go Jessica N Dupuy. And we will be posting as much as we can. Just the process this book.

Jeff Porter  41:23

Well, thank you all very, very much. I can’t wait to see Italianality out on the shelves of books and in my house. Because I think again, this this this idea, this hypothesis, this philosophy, it’s not even a hypothesis. This is this is beyond theory. I think this goes into scientific law. It’s part of like, you know, we’re you’re in the canon of Copernicus, and you know, Newton, guys, so in wine, but, you know, I like to be a little bit hyperbolic, but this for me, it’s an extremely important qualification of of an idea because, like I said earlier, you guys are wrapping up, what 25 years of selling Italian wine has meant to me. So I can’t thank you all enough. And, and I look forward to seeing you both in person this summer in Italy. And we’ll follow y’all on social and look for the new website and the book in 2025. So thank you very, very much. And we’ll see you soon as I like to tell everybody our new word shouty. So see y’all later.

Jessica Dupuy  42:29

Grazie mille.

Jeff Porter  42:35

After this conversation, I feel like I need to explore Italy even more, and I live here. If you have any questions or comments, please email us at podcast at And remember, you can subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, Spotify and anywhere else you listen to your favorite shows. You can also visit the wine website at for more episodes and transcripts. I’m Jeff Porter. Thanks for listening