Wine, Frankly: FUSO21

By now most of you know that I like to be straight forward and blunt when it comes to wine. I’m not gonna wax poetic about all the romance of the vineyards or bore you with scientific verbiage that goes into the technical side of winemaking. Come to the shop and I’ll happily go one on one with you over a glass of wine. When you decide to open one of my emails and you skim through it on your iPhone while stuck in traffic I need it to stand out. Hopefully they do.

The guys at PortoVino are pretty much the same way. Nothing worse than a wine rep coming to the shop with a bag full of beat-up wine samples that are a vintage behind, have the word “skinny” on the label or yet another flavored Moscato that they know I’m not going to even taste.  Jon Bruno never wastes our time here on North Union Street. He’s always loaded with current vintage, cool selections that you won’t find at the big box, grocery or drug store chains… ever.

This is their schtick:  Good, honest, solid wines that over deliver on price and expectation. Yup, that’s the way they roll at PortoVino.


Many of you have traveled to Italy and come back nostalgic, and thirsty, for those delicious local regional wines that you drank there. We are too. Here’s our chance to metaphysically rub elbows with the locals again! These are authentic daily drinkers, vini quotidiani – no tank farms or factory-made wines. In fact, they are grown and made by producers whose labels you’ll find on our shelves here at FranksWine.


This project connects growers in small towns throughout Italy to folks just like you (and me!) who don’t want industrial plonk as our daily drinkers. “Fuso” is a play on vino sfuso, the name for the every day wine that you buy directly from your local winegrower. The project name FUSO21 reflects the guys at PortoVino desire to find and export a local, authentic wine from each of the 21 regions of Italy.

One day PortoVino founder Ernest asked Walter Massa (2011 Gambero Rosso Wine Grower of the Year) for a favor: Walter is the most famous as the prophet of Timorasso in Colli Tortonesi – but the area has a long tradition for delicious Barbera including the “Sentieri” which you’ll find on our shelves at FranksWine!) FUSO Barbera isn’t a private label with wine from anywhere; it’s 100% Estate fruit grown in Piemonte, vilified with a slow, traditional fermentation and aged in concrete tanks. Ernest and Walter worked closely to choose the vineyards and to make this final cuvee.

The 2012 Barbera Piemonte is a racy, totally gorgeous wine. Sweet floral notes meld into red berries, spices and mint in a supple, highly expressive Barbera that captures the essence of the region in its juiciness. All the elements fall into place. What a beautiful wine and a great value this is!

Le Salse is a collaboration with Cantine Belasario – top producer in Matelica – that PortoVino found in their hunt for high-quality local daily-drinkers from regional varieties. Verdicchio is the white wine of the Marche (central Italy along the Eastern coast). It’s Ernest’s response to the ocean of Pinot Grigio that has washed up on U.S. shores: Refreshing, versatile, and glug-able… BUT this white has the real character that most PG’s lack.

This white has great freshness and energy which is evident in its crisp acidity and the vibrant length across the palate. It has aromas and flavors of fresh herbs, squeezed lime, ripe pear and apple, almonds and honey. The le Salse sports Verdicchio’s characteristic saline note along with an undertone of minerality. In your mouth the wine progresses from being broad and rich at first to sleek and edgy in the rear palate. Love love love this wine!

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