"If it's food, music or whatever, anything that I feel deeply touched by, I can feel there is someone behind it that has mastered their craft. That is what I search for in products and what I want people to find in mine"

"If it's food, music or whatever, anything that I feel deeply touched by, I can feel there is someone behind it that has mastered their craft. That is what I search for in products and what I want people to find in mine"

Azienda Agricola Philine Isabelle

Nov 29, 2022

Monforte D'alba |Piedmont

When we started Thatcher's Imports, we weren't entirely sure which direction it would take us geographically. We just knew we wanted to be a part of the future of wine, the next great producers and innovators that are changing the landscape of the wine world. Spending most of our time in Burgundy, we thought naturally most of it would be in France, until we discovered some of the magic happening in Italy. Now, we keep going back for more.

Philine Isabelle didn't grow up in a winemaking family in Piedmont. Native to Germany, she studied politics at University, and like myself felt more fulfilled with her job in restaurants than she did in a classroom. While working in a Biergarten, Philine developed a relationship with a few local wineries and ultimately built her interest in wine. Since 2009, Philine has spent time in various vineyards and cellars focusing on biodynamic viticulture including Odinstal, Pranzegg, and Heinrich, as well as working as a consultant for master pruners Simonit & Sirch, who consult for wineries such as Leroy and Roederer.

Currently, Philine has settled in Preda, located in-between Cannubi and Vignane, in which she manages 1.2ha and buys grapes from an additional 1ha. The time she spent working in vineyards in Germany has influenced a lot of her.

decisions today. While working for Heinrich, which is over 100ha, Philine oversaw a technique known as ‘composting on field’. This focused on building humus, which takes over a year to begin (on 100ha of land).. While working as a pruning consultant Philine finally felt like all things viticulture to vinification made sense. She decided she wanted to try to start her own project and settled in Piedmont. "The food, the produce, the people, it brought me there." In 2019, she bought Dolcetto (from Massimo & Luigi Veglio in Diano d’Alba), and Barbera in Monforte, with Nebbiolo fruit (also from the Veglio brothers) from a parcel in the Castagni MGA in La Morra. Everything she produced in this vintage was vinified at Rinaldi. Philine was able to agree to the on going purchase of the same plots year on year from Massimo & Luigi, affording her a better relationship with both the fruit and the growers.

Viticulture and Vinification

Her idea of not having her own vines quickly changed as in 2020 a 2ha parcel in Preda became available. Having a close relationship with our friend Tom Myers, they decided to rent it together and cultivate each of their plots as they choose. The parcel is planted mostly to Nebbiolo, with several rows (0.3ha) of Chardonnay at the bottom of the slope. Philine is not yet certified biodynamic; however, once she has established her relationship with Preda, she plans to begin the process of certification. This doesn't mean she isn't working hard to get the vineyards to where they need to be,. She also notices a difference in the grapes each year. Though acknowledging both the pros and cons, she admires the consistency certification offers as well as believing that it serves as a strong, visible rejection of conventional, chemically intense agriculture. Philine is meticulously getting to know her vineyard with the goal of bringing bright, elegant and energetic fruit into the winery. Canopy management plays a big part in her vines, depending on the vintage and how much sun needs to be controlled. There is never any hedging rather rolling of the canopies. She does her own compost brewing, and BD treatments.

In the Winery, Philine's goal of bringing in bright and clean fruit is a direct representation of what her wines look like going into bottle. For now, her Nebbiolo is entirely de-stemmed. Philine does not think too much of the exaggerated carbonic-related aromas. These can often result from whole- cluster and therefore opts to negate this risk entirely. Fermentation is spontaneous with maceration lasting the duration of the fermentation (roughly 24 days for the Barolo and 19 for the Langhe Nebbiolo) until the cap begins to drop. Punch-downs occur during the final third of the fermentation, opting for gentle pump-overs twice a day during the initial stages of fermentation. She aspires to a pure, fresh and vivid profile. She hopes to craft wines that are finely woven, well-structured and intellectual.

The Wines of Philine Isabelle

2020 Philine Isabelle Chardonnay

THE VINEYARD Preda, Barolo
SOIL Marl lime
FERMENTATION pressed whole cluster for 5 hours, spontaneous in concrete, malolactic fermentation

2020 Philine Isabelle Langhe Nebbiolo

THE VINEYARD Castagni La Morra
SOIL Clay Marl lime, slightly more sand
FERMENTATION destemmed, spontaneous in concrete, maceration for the whole fermentation

2020 Philine Isabelle Barolo Preda

THE VINEYARD Preda, Barolo
SOIL Clay Marl lime
FERMENTATION destemmed, spontaneous in concrete, maceration for the whole fermentation