Over the past 50 years, few families have been as involved in the promotion of Italian food, wine and culture as the Bastianich family. Matriarch Lidia Bastianich has been recognized as one of America’s top culinary personalities and it was her New York restaurants that brought the family in direct contact with some of Italy’s most important winemakers, starting with the opening of her first restaurant in 1971.
Lidia’s passion for Italian wine focused not only on the most well-known regions, but also in the promotion of Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, the region of her Istrian home. The Bastianich family became world-renowned for their authentic expressions of Friulian culture, which led to their mission to reconnect with their roots and rediscover their origins. In 1997, it was Lidia’s son Joe who drove the family’s mission to plant vines in Cividale del Friuli, one of Italy’s most historic areas to produce white wine.
These estate vineyards focus on the production of varieties native to Friuli and are located in two distinct areas of the Friuli Colli Orientali DOC. The first vineyard is planted in the hills of Premariacco, in the hottest, southernmost area of the DOC. Influenced by the heat from the sea, it offers grapes to produce the fuller-bodied, structured Cru wines, such as Vespa Bianco, Vespa Rosso, Plus and Calabrone. In Cividale, 10 miles to the north and cooled by mountain breezes, vines are planted to focus on the fresh, aromatic wines of the Vini Orsone line.
The soil of the Friulian hillsides, composed of a mixture of clay and limestone, is one of the world’s great terroirs for white wine. Red grape varieties also thrive in the calcium-rich terraces, famous for giving the Bastianich wines their great body and structure. This creates longevity in balance with the classic minerality and salinity of the terroir.
In addition to their estate in Friuli, the family also built a winery, La Mozza. Launched in 2000, La Mozza is located on the southern Tuscan coast of Maremma and focuses on Sangiovese-based wines including their critically acclaimed “Aragone” Super Tuscan.
Today, the Bastianich family continues to be recognized for their commitment to the promotion of Italian wine. Lidia has been a recipient of multiple James Beard awards for her work as a chef, author and TV personality – even referred to as “The First Lady of Italian Cuisine and Restaurants in the United States” – and continues to be a partner in the Italian culinary phenomenon that is Eataly. Her son Joe Bastianich is also an accomplished restaurateur, author and culinary personality, writing the Italian wine book Vino Italiano and hosting the acclaimed TV show MasterChef.