Selim Spumante NV, DeConciliis

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When we first came across this wine more than a decade ago at Incanto in San Francisco, we were immediately taken aback by its one-of-a-kind nature: sparkling wine made from Aglianico and Fiano? That's crazy! But Bruno DeConciliis, the man behind this wine label, didn't really care too much about convention. So, he crafted Selim (Miles spelled backwards) in honor of a jazz great who was also known for turning things on their heads: Miles Davis. This wine truly is a birth of the cool, showcasing the freshest characteristics of the grapes it's made from: Fiano lending round (almost fat) yellow fruits that are still, just under-ripe, tempered by green almond skin and beeswax, and Aglianico giving its fair share of black pepper and black fruits, albeit enshrouded in an elegant, blanc de noir gown. And all of this is encapsulated in round bubbles with just the right amount of rising bread dough. Honestly, this is as good as any Champagne, at a fraction of the cost.

About the Winery

De Conciliis is located in the relatively uncharted Cilento zone on the Campania coast. The vineyards are situated atop high-altitude cliffs looking out on the Mediterranean, De Conciliis specializes in full-bodied, fruit-forward wines from Aglianico, which, in the relatively hot climate of the Cilento, makes wines that are a little more accessible than young wines from Taurasi. The signature red is the 100% Aglianico ‘Naima’ (named for the famous John Coltrane song).

De Conciliis's philosophy is that the first thing is to respect nature; respect the land. This means the lowest possible use of chemicals and a move to organic and then biodynamic viticulture. The second thing is to respect the culture of the area. Every area expresses its own material culture – not only what people eat and drink, but the local relationship of humans to the earth. The third thing is to respect the people who do the work. De Conciliis is located in one of the poorest areas of Campania. Part of their effort is to re-hire workers, pay them a real wage, and guarantee them year-round work.