DiBruno Bros. makes its own wine with Philly Wine Cru and La Clarine Farm
Though there are DiBruno Bros.’ gourmet cheese and salumi salons scattered across downtown Philly and suburban areas, their home and heart, nearest my home and heart, is their locations in the Italian Market. The intimate, original DiBruno Bros., and its still, new-painting-smelling corner 9th Street Bottle Shop. That’s the scene of my crime – where I picked up DiBruno Bros.’ latest creation… Di Bruno & Friends Wine Collaboration #1. Their debut exclusive and limited release wine.
DiBruno’s new friends are Sande Friedman, wine category manager and president of Philly Wine Cru. And the people at La Clarine Farm, a minimal-intervention farm in the Sierra Foothills in Somerset, California. Biodynamic and lo-fi farming being a thing at present, DiBruno’s hearty Wine Collaboration #1, available exclusively at Di Bruno Bros. Bottle Shops and their soon-to-debut Wayne, PA location is a blend of 50% Barbera and 50% Zinfandel grapes. Plus, when they say limited, DiBruno’s isn’t kidding. They only produced 51 cases of #1’s deep red, Italian-inspired savory blend.
There is a natural progression to the thrill of their grape as well as its history and the idea of collaborating on a wine. La Clarine Farm wine can be found at DiBruno Bros.’ Wine Shoppes, as well as having, what Friedman calls, “a similar ‘taste of place’ to our renowned cheese selection.” That’s probably why Di Bruno Bros. staff and Friedman wanted to collaborate fully and get their hands (and feet) dirty with the La Clarine Farm team by their sides.
The legend goes thusly: “During the 2019 harvest, Friedman, along with Beckmeyer and his assistant, handpicked one ton of Barbera grapes from the Suma Kaw vineyard in Placerville, California. Suma Kaw is an organic-practicing vineyard from where many La Clarine Farm grapes are sourced. The Barbera was foot-crushed and whole cluster fermented with native yeasts, then pressed into the tank after nine days. After several months of aging, Beckmeyer sent the fermented Barbera juice, along with a few other options for blending, for the Di Bruno team to taste and create their own desired Cuvee. Gathered in Alimentari, Di Bruno Bros.’ Italian café & bar located upstairs at their Rittenhouse location with beakers and bottles laid out like a boozy laboratory, they landed on a blend of 50% Barbera and 50% early-picked Suma Kaw Zinfandel. Beckmeyer blended the Cuvee back at La Clarine Farm in July of 2020. And the final wine was bottled, without fining or filtration, on August 8th, 2020 and left to rest for six additional months of bottle aging.”
From there, the combined teams tasted, as you will and as I did, notes of white peach fronted by dried dark red and blue fruits for a rich, hearty and, again, savory smoky flavor and subtle acidity. While #1, is what they call a “utility knife” red wine perfect for pairing with all styles and textures of different cheeses (seriously, that’s what DiBruno’s famed for, think soft Taleggio, or Colston Bassett Stilton), it also works well with everything from a pesto pasta dish to a Mexican meal of chorizo and chicken from Blue Corn in the Italian Market. I know this because upon bringing my wine home that’s what I stopped to eat.
“We’re immensely proud of this collaboration and the expertise of our team,” says President Bill Mignucci, Jr., third-generation owner and grandson of founder Danny Di Bruno, in an email note. “It’s always been our passion and purpose to bring great products from all over the world to our guests, and this wine will be no exception.” Guests may expect two future collaboration wines from Di Bruno Bros. with Wayvine of Nottingham, Pennsylvania, and Maloof Wines of Forest Grove, Oregon. The local rosé and Oregon Pinot Gris will be available later in 2021.
Good stuff. Start wine-ing.