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  • Cassius & Theresa Downs

Slow Wine USA Tour 2024

Note: Italicized quotes come from the Slow Food and Slow Wine organizations.

Wine By Appointment attended the Slow Wine USA trade show in San Francisco this week (March 27, 2024), where 80 Italian and USA wineries presented their wines.

  • Many small Italian and US family-owned wineries presented their wines.

  • Several Italian wineries were looking for US importers to sell their wines in the USA.

  • Attendees were distributors, importers, restaurants/bars, wine consultants, and media.

  • All the wines were high quality and a good representative of the grape varietal.

The Slow Food movement, added wine as an agricultural crop that can be certified to meet the Slow Food Manifesto, which states that wine, just as with food, "must be good, clean, and fair — not just good."

Sidebar:  An explanation: the Slow Wine movement grew out of the Slow Food movement. It started in 1980s Italy by Carlo Petrini, who grew alarmed at what he saw as an invasion of fast food, i.e., McDonald's. He wanted to preserve the Italian food heritage of quality food from local farmers. Hence, the principles of the Movement became good, clean, and fair, meaning quality food produced in a sustainable way that supported farmers and artisans while being available to consumers. Slow wine focuses on producing good, clean, and fair wine by promoting small producers that practice sustainable viticultural processes, emphasizing terroir-driven wines. See our other blog for more info on the particulars: Slow Wine Blogs.

It's always fun to visit the different wineries in the tradeshow, and we quickly glommed onto the Barolo and Valpolicella presenters. But this year, we had a bonus as we were lucky to attend two break-out sessions featuring wines from Oltrepò Pavese and Asolo Prosecco DOCG.

Slow Wine - Asolo Prosecco DOCG

Let's talk about bubbles first. Asolo Prosecco DOCG is lesser known than the more famous prosecco DOCG, Conegliano Valdobbiadene, but equally splendid.

As an aside, how Asolo Prosecco, or for that matter prosecco in general, differs primarily from Champagne is two-fold (okay, only counting the big ones) is: Prosecco is largely made from the Glera grape instead of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the case of Champagne. Prosecco goes through its second fermentation in a tank instead of the bottle. (The second fermentation in sparkling wines is where those lovely bubbles get created.)  The method, called Charmat or Martinotti (depending on whether you are Team France or Team Italy), is used primarily to preserve the freshness of the grape or, depending on the delicacy of the grape as in the case of glera, retain the fruit flavors and aromas. 

Asolo Prosecco DOCG, created in 2009, is a region located in Veneto, in the northeastern section of Italy. Celebrating gorgeous terrain with equally great wine, we were lucky enough to sample six of the best that the area had to offer: 


  • Montelvini, Asolo Prosecco DOCG Sui Lieviti "Il Brutto,"

  • Bresolin-Bio, Asolo Prosecco DOCG Extra Brut “Benny” 2022

  • Villa Sandi, Asolo Prosecco DOCG Brut Biodiversity Friend

  • Bele Casel, Asolo Prosecco DOCG Extra Dry 2022

  • Giusti Wine, Asolo Prosecco DOCG Extra Dry

  • Leterre, Asolo Prosecco DOCG Dry Millesimato 2022

All of these wines exhibit the lovely freshness and fruit character that make prosecco so popular. Most wines are available in the United States (check out Wine-searcher for availability), and they are very affordable (less than USD 25.00 in most cases)

Slow Wine - Oltrepò Pavese

I was particularly excited to attend the next session featuring wines from Oltrepò Pavese. 

Oltrepò Pavese is a jewel of a wine area in northern Italy's southern part of Lombardy (Lombardia); we discovered it on our trip to Italy in 2022. The area is named after its location south of the Po River as considered from the provincial capital, Pavia, and, generally, from the rest of Lombardy.   I was interested in visiting this area because Oltrepò Pavese is Italy's Pinot Noir (which I love) capital. Famous for their Pinot Noir sparkling wine, I was intrigued and not disappointed by their amazing wines. So, it was with great pleasure that I could sample more of their wines at the Slow Wine event.


The following wines were served at the event. All were Pinot Noir except the Giovannella Fugazza, which was Bonarda.  Bonarda is one of the chief wines of Oltrepò Pavese. It's a delicious blend of Croatina, which must contain 85% of the grape, and  BarberaVespolina, or Uva Rara.  Famiglia Guarini, Sangue di Giuda is a sparkling sweet red wine made of Barbera and Croatina grapes with Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir, Uva Rara, and Vespolina, which can still be frizzante (semi-sparkling) or spumante.  Sangue di Giuda means "Blood of Judah" or "Blood of Judas. Interesting, no?


  • Delfilippi, Oltrepò Pavese DOCG Metodo Classico Pinot Nero Maria Cristina 2018

  • Frescciarossa, Oltrepò Pavese dell’ Oltrepò Pavese DOC Carillo 2022

  • Cordero San Giorgio, Pinot Nero dell’ Oltrepò Pavese DOC Partu 2021

  • La Travaglina, Pinot Nero dell’ Oltrepò Pavese DOC Casaia 2020

  • Giovannella Fugazza, Bonarda dell’ c DOC Sommossa 2022

  • Famiglia Guarini, Sangue di Giuda dell’ Oltrepò Pavese DOC 2022


All of the wines are definitely worth exploring. Again, check out Wine Searcher for availability in your area.  

Interested in reading more about Oltrepò Pavese? Check out our other Italian wine blogs.

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