At Rosenthal Wine Merchant, we have always taken great pride in finding maverick winegrowers in unsung regions and cultivating an audience for them stateside. On a different yet related note, it has been equally rewarding to meet producers working in commercially popular appellations who go far beyond their neighbors in the pursuit of excellence: the Crochet family in Sancerre, for instance, who harvest by hand and employ long lees-aging in a place where machine-harvesting is ubiquitous and wines are generally rushed into bottle; or Christophe Pueyo, whose “Tellus Vinea” is a low-sulfur, biodynamically grown Bordeaux Rouge that towers above its appellation peers (so many of which are wine-school concoctions made with the supermarket shelf in mind).
It is with relish, then, that we begin our partnership with the La Raia estate in Gavi, in the rolling hills of Piedmont’s southeast. A fully functioning biodynamic farm, La Raia encompasses 180 hectares, with 48 hectares planted to grapevines and the remainder devoted to pastures and to woodlands of chestnut, elder, and acacia which teem with wildlife. La Raia was acquired in 2003 by Giorgio Rossi Cairo, who immediately converted the farm to biodynamics and obtained Demeter certification in 2007. Run today by Giorgio’s young and deeply committed son Piero, La Raia’s embrace of biodynamics extends far beyond winegrowing: they have a Waldorf school on the premises, as well as a home-delivery grocery business supplying organically grown produce to local clients.