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The Thief

Allan Crum
March 10, 2021 | Allan Crum

Discover FUSO, Italian Terroir and Workhorse Wines


Spring is coming. Winter doldrums are being beaten back into dark cupboards, attics, and basements to hibernate until next year, and vineyards around the northern hemisphere are waking up. Dry January is a distant but surprisingly clear memory, and we are all, hopefully, drinking wine again.

Now, I love a nice bottle of Champagne to celebrate a promotion or birthday, and I enjoy savoring a bottle of Barolo that’s older than I am. Unfortunately, I’m typically working with a Prosecco or Langhe Nebbiolo budget. Lucky for me, the shop always has a ton of fantastic budget options. So, join me in raising a glass to the Tuesday night wines, the workhorse wines, the “little wines”, the three-day weekend Friday afternoon wines, the pizza and burger wines. These are the wines that got us hooked on vino in the first place.

FUSO is one of our favorite recent discoveries in the land of budget bottles. They are a company that sources wine from a wide variety of excellent growers and winemakers throughout Italy, from north in Piedmont all the way south to the island of Sicily. While they lack a regional focus, all of their wines share a consistent approach to viticulture and winemaking. Their requirements, from their website:

  • Delicious and terroir-driven
  • Made by farmers (not tank-farms)
  • Certified organic or practicing organic wineries in conversion
  • Native grapes
  • Native yeasts
  • Low sulphur (45 mg/l or less of added SO2)
  • Unfiltered or slightly filtered
  • Dry farmed

These wines are light, quaffable, chillable, sustainably grown, and the price is just right. The whole range would be awesome with a charcuterie plate featuring dry-cured salumi, castelvetrano olives, and boquerones, or any number of fancy pasta dishes. Their approachability and natural acidity also make them fantastic for tacos, cheeseburgers, frozen pizza, hamburger helper, tater tots, Thai takeout, tuna casserole, or any number of easy-button Tuesday dinners. Because even Tuesday night deserves a well-made bottle of wine, don’t you think?

Col Di Luna ‘Flora’ Prosecco Brut

  • Veneto
  • 100% Glera
  • Limestone and clay
  • In conversion to organics
  • Fermented for 20 days in stainless steel
  • No malolactic fermentation
  • Asian pear, green apple, cut flowers

Denny Bini ‘Spuma’ Frizzante

  • Emelia-Romagna
  • 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara
  • Sand and limestone
  • Certified organic
  • Double curtain training
  • Native yeast fermentation with no temperature control in stainless steel for first fermentation
  • Bottle fermented in the spring for 30-60 days using must from the same vintage
  • Full malolactic fermentation
  • Raspberry, rainier cherry, nettle

Dario Serrentino ‘Cala’ Terre Siciliane

  • Sicily
  • 90% Nero d’Avola, 10% Grillo
  • Limestone and clay
  • Certified organic
  • 20-60-year-old bush vines
  • Native yeast fermented with 6-day maceration in stainless steel
  • Aged 6 months in stainless
  • Lightly filtered
  • Tart strawberry, umeboshi, coppa

Filippo Cassano ‘Calx’ Primitivo

  • Puglia
  • 100% Primitivo
  • Limestone
  • Certified organic
  • 20-30-year-old vines
  • Native yeast fermentation for 15 days, 7 day extended maceration in stainless steel
  • Red currant, blackberry, dried and fresh fig

Tenuta Maiano 'Brusco' Sangiovese

  • Tuscany
  • 100% Sangiovese
  • Limestone and silt
  • Certified organic
  • 15-year-old vines
  • Native yeast fermented for 15 days in concrete
  • Aged 3 months in concrete
  • Lightly filtered
  • Pie cherry, leather, eucalyptus

Walter Massa ‘Fuso’ Rosso

  • Piedmont
  • 100% Barbera
  • Clay and limestone
  • Practicing organic
  • 10-35-year-old vines
  • Native yeast fermentation for 12-20 days
  • Aged in concrete
  • Black plum, blueberry compote, balsamic drizzle



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