Angelo Nicolis from the family-owned winery Nicolis in Valpolicella talks about why he would recommend his family's single vineyard Amarone to Elon Mask and what his winemaking experiences in the US taught him.

Angelo Nicolis is the third generation family member of Nicolis Winery in northern Italy’s San Pietro in Valpolicella. The family winery founded in 1951 has been crafting elegant, balanced and age-worthy Amarone for years and is particularly renowned for their single-vineyard Amarone ‘Ambrosan’ made from the namesake and gently sloping vineyard. In this interview, the third generation owner talks about why he would recommend the wine to Elon Mask, what his winemaking experiences in the US taught him and the only wine he would drink for the rest of his life!

Angelo Nicolis
Angelo Nicolis is the third generation family member of the boutique and family-owned winery Nicolis in Valpolicella

How many years have you aged so far?

I started to work at the winery two years ago. I represent the third generation of Nicolis Winery but I have been involved in the cellar activities since I was a child. My vintage is 1993, just 11 bottles of AMARONE AMBROSAN left at the Winery.

What led you to wine?

I come from a winemaking family so I have always been part of the wine world. I grew up watching my family working in the cellar and I frequently traveled with my father to promote our wines. These experiences helped me to find my way in winemaking.

What’s your pet peeves about wine?

I love wines because they represent their terroir and each vintage is like a history book with specific and different characteristics. Therefore, it’s a pity when I open a bottle and there are some cork defects, which don’t allow me to appreciate all the work behind the bottle. Furthermore, sometimes this problem causes misunderstanding: some people could think a corked bottle is due to the wine. If it’s corked, please ask for another bottle!

Describe what’s an alcohol-free day like for you?

To be honest, there are not many alcohol-free days for me… I’ve been always used to taste a glass of wine during lunches and dinners. Anyway, for example, during the harvest, when you work hard all day long and you finish working late, you just go straight to bed to be ready for the next day. That’s a typical alcohol-free day.

What’s your secret passion?

I’m a sportsman. I like sports in general, because when you play you just relax for a while and you don’t have to think about anything else. My passion is soccer, I have been playing soccer since I was five years old. I like my team and love sharing this sport with my friends.

The winery’s single vineyard Amarone Ambrosan is the standard bearer for the estate. (Photo by Justin Lim)

What kind of wines are in your wine fridge?

Even though I like cooking, in my fridge there are more wines than food. In my wine fridge there are Italian white wines like Soave and Lugana, but also some French wines as Chablis, and German ones like Riesling from Mosel. I like exchanging wines with the other producers, “art by art” like in the past.

What’s the weirdest wine you’ve tasted so far that you actually liked?

I worked in California at Kosta Browne Winery in 2018 for the harvest. I was living in a small town called Sebastopol, close to Santa Rosa, and I used to go out to visit wineries with the other guys working there. We went to Pax Winery’s wine shop once, in the town center. I had never tasted such wines before: they had fresh fruit scents due to the carbonic maceration, mixed with peculiar spices. This tasting was really new for me!

If you can recommend one wine to any leader in the world, who would it be and what would you recommend?

I would recommend Elon Musk a bottle of our Amarone Ambrosan and to ask him to bring our wine to the space!

If you can drink any wine in the world, which wine would you like to have?

I love discovering new wines, especially red wines from all over the world. I am a fan of Pinot Noir so I would like to taste a Romanée-Conti from Domaine Romanée-Conti.

If you are a wine, how would you imagine your tasting note would be like?

I would compare myself to a wine with a direct and authentic bouquet and a deep complexity that takes time to be fully discovered. Intense color and good structure, definitely dry and elegant.

What makes you happy?

I love staying outside, feeling free and in connection with nature. Even better with a glass of wine.

If you can only drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would it be?

What a question! Amarone, of course!

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