Producer Profiles - Cantine Ilauri

14 November 2019

Introducing Rodrigo Redmont at Cantine Ilauri in the fabulous region of Abruzzo, we first bought the Bajo Montepulciano in 2013, and over the years it has become one of our most popular red wines, especially at Christmas, this wine really is Christmas in a glass, dark almost candied fruit notes with hints of clove and spice, the only thing that beats a bottle of this montepulciano, is a magnum OF THIS Montepulciano !    We now have 7 of Ilauri's wondeful wines in our portfolio.

I recall Rodrigo bringing the first vintage of Pecorino to our annual cellar tasting in 2015 to show to our restaurant clients,  it was so new it didn't even have a label, the Pecorino appeared on so many of our feedback forms as the best wine / surprise of the day, we shippied it as soon as it was dressed.  This really is a cracking wine for the Christmas table, great depth of fruit to match the instensity of your roasted Turkey and enough interest and complexity to cope with all the other flavours on the Christmas plate, seriously..... sausages, bacon, sprouts, cranberry sauce, stuffing and so much more... you need a special wine to stand proud against that line up !!! 

We're offering a 25% discount on a mixed case of wines from Ilauri to support this feature, this is a brilliant opportunity to find your favourite from this incredible region and family producer, it's not an easy task as they are all great - so just comes down to your personal taste ! 

Have fun exploring, homework has never been so much fun.

up close and personal with rodrigo redmont


1. How did you get started as a wine producer ?

We are a first-generation family of winemakers. Fresh out of university, in Spring 1996. At 22 I moved from bustling Rome to sleepy Montalcino in Tuscany choosing to live on the Castello Banfi estate. The Bunello craze was just about to explode. Tuscan Rib eye, Ribollita and Wild Boar became my staple diet, which I gladly washed down with Sangiovese.

Here I had the fortune of working side by side some of Italy’s true legendary winemakers and forging some of my strongest friendships. It is here that I would meet many of the men and women that would mentor me during the creation our very own estate in Abruzzo, Ilauri.

2. Do you have a favourite grape variety to work with, and why?

The marvel of the Pecorino grape: From almost extinct to one of the fastest growing grape varieties in Italy. Pecorino is a native semi-aromatic white grape that has found in Loreto Aprutino its “spiritual home”. With the Adriatic Sea having covered most of our region millions of years ago, limestone abounds, producing an extremely mineral and refreshing white wine. Today we produce a single block unoaked Pecorino. You cannot ignore the sheer exuberance, aromas and fruitiness of Pecorino – it shouts from the glass and dances on your palate. It doesn’t require oak, or over manipulation by the winemaker to make an extraordinary wine. We planted the vineyard in 2004 and have since fallen in love with its kaleidoscope of aromas and flavours

3. What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

The wine business, from agriculture to winemaking to sales and education, has so many aspects that make it appealing.

However, I would have to choose the ability to inspire. I question myself everyday on how to transmit our passion and purpose to every team member and person I meet.

I remember once reading an article about the total number of people you meet in the course of your life. I think the figure was 80.000 people in an average life of 80 years. How do I impact them?

From the vineyard worker and cellar boy to the salesperson. Our success, firstly as a community and second as a winery will depend strongly on how we are able to build a team with the right talent, motivation, and education, and inspire everyone we touch during the course of our own life.

The second challenge is the ability to adapt to ever changing world and climate that requires constant adaptation and challenges our decision on how to leave the vineyards for future generations: what varietals, what training methods, what philosophy? It is also a choice we end up partially making for them and that carries a certain sense of responsibility.

4. What is the most rewarding part of your job ?

The people I meet. I enjoy learning about different cultures, questioning our own, hearing their stories. There is no greater satisfaction then creating something new (your wine) and sharing it. Wine in Italy is about social ties and sharing with friends and family more them about luxury and fine dining (as I France). If you can do this with the woman (or person) you chose to live with then you have won the lottery.

5. Who do you most admire in the wine world ?

Ezio Rivella - the guiding hand behind the success of Castelo Banfi. During my working experience in Montalcino we would find ourselves at 21:00 working late side by side as our offices were a few meters apart. He is probably together with Biondi Santi the person who most influenced the region of Montalcino, one of the most important winemaking areas in the world. A force of inspiration and perfection who became the first Italian to lead the Union des Oenologues.

Antonella Di Tonno - I cannot exclude my wife, Antonella, in this question. I admire her fiercely professionally (and not only). From a family that has always sought excellence in their food and in their relationship to nature in Abruzzo, she is a trouble-shooter by nature, she strives for excellence in her life, eco-system, estate and product. Over the last 5 years, as our life project has grown and we have made the most important economic investment of our life, she has simultaneously given birth to three beautiful children. That takes persistence. Without her Ilauri would not be here.

6. What does the word ‘terroir’ mean to you and how does it relate to the wines you produce ?

For me Terroir is split into three categories, the first not sufficiently communicated. The first two come from Tradition:

1 “Italy was at the forefront of the artistic and intellectual developments of the Renaissance, which drew their impetus from a reappraisal of the Classical Greek and Roman world.” – Online Encyclopaedia Brittanica

The art of Italian beauty and taste. Passion for Taste, Lifesyle,

2 “The connection between the multifunctionalism and the peasant–entrepreneur typology is an especially intriguing one. Multifunctionalism highlights the tasks of agriculture beyond food and fibre production such as landscape, natural values, rural employment and rural vitality” – Wiley Online library

We have grown up with century old values of the agricultural world of Abruzzo. This implies at our core three key values: natural values, family, rural vitality

3 The classic term used by the French to include the unique characteristics of Climate, Soil and Terrain (including the Eco-system)

7. How do you practice sustainability and what is it’s importance to you ?

We are certified SNQPI. For us sustainability is more than simply an aspiration or mission. It is our lifestyle. Aside from the objective to save our resources, being sustainable on our estate implies practices that are used to ensure high quality in our wines, that keep vineyards healthy and productive over the long haul, minimizing negative environmental impacts, along with winery methods that conserve resources and reduce

Water Efficiency

No irrigation is ever used, reducing the waste of water and improving energy efficiency.

Energy Efficiency

We use exclusively 100% renewable energy sourced from local windfarms.

Pest Management

In our ecosystem, we seek first foremost the vine’s equilibrium in the management of our vineyards to minimize their susceptibility to insect and disease attack. Constant monitoring of the vines, the encouragement of biodiversity by removing broad-spectrum insecticide and herbicide use, and the creation of wildlife habitats such as raptors.

Soil Health

We use vegetation between the rows to protect the structure and nutrition of our soil. We seek to ensure varied greenery around your vineyard where insects can live, breed and feed. As the greenery decays and decomposes over their natural lifecycle, it provides crucial nutrients for soil life.

Waste Management

Landfills are overflowing all over the world. One of our prime objectives is to minimize landfill use. Therefore, we have been utilizing recycling bins since 2007 for all waste at the winery. In addition, the skins and pips after fermentation are partially used as compost to enrichen the soil. Fundamental is our use of lighter glass bottles to contribute to reduced levels of carbon footprint.

Community Building

We look closely at creating or enhancing our community by fixing town roads, promoting our region and encouraging tourism. We link ourselves closely with the school network from kindergarten to graduate schools, encouraging the love and passion for agriculture, our heritage, a sensible consumption of wine, and interaction with University research.

Employee Satisfaction

Our community starts at home and in our winery. We incentivize a healthy lifestyle for our workers, including providing incentives for a smoke free environment, English lessons, benchmarking trips and child-care. Safety is also of great importance to our estate. Our commitment to a sustainable ecosystem focuses on health, efficiency, waste and improving our habitat:

8. What role does family play within your business?

The family (La Famiglia) is the most important aspect of an Italian’s life. Relationships remain extremely close and family ties are still very strong.We grow up together and have a clear understating of our bond and individual strengths/weaknesses. If we are looking for local staff, the first question is always: who are his or her parents and relatives. Are they hard working and honest?

Family plays also an important role on the importance we place on the long-term impact of all decisions we make. Our thought is constantly directed towards the future.

As far as our children are concerned (our football team is comprised of three currently) we believe our role is key to their development. The family still plays an important role in creating social cohesion and a sense of belonging. We provide them with an understanding of their roots and bestowing on them our values or principles.

I need to add an appendix here: The importance of the female footprint. Our winery has a greater ratio of women in our workforce then men. This has been an equally driving factor in our business, together with the fact that it is family owned and operated. Remember: Italian women attend high school more successfully than do Italian men, and also more frequently.

9. Which wines were on your table last Christmas ?

We never drink our own wines during Christmas, but rather share this important moment with gifts from friends and colleagues. I remember very well last Christmas:

Champagne Joseph Perrier Cuvee Josephine 2018

Valentini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 1984,

Girolomo Russo Etna Feudo di Mezzo Rosso DOC 2011

Marco de Bartoli Passito di Pantelleria Bukkuram 2008

10. If you were a wine…… write a short tasting note that best describes you?

As a history buff, multi-faceted globe-trotter that embraces Heraclitus’ assertion “Panta Rhei” I would have to choose Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

Trebbiano Abruzzese is the benchmark grape of Loreto Aprutino yet due to its versatile nature and adaprtability it has spread throughout Northern Italy and Europe tainting the key wines such as Vin Santo, Chianti and in France - Cognac and Armagnac.

Dating back to Pliny the Elder (Gistorical), early ripening (I was born prematurely :0)), refreshing, light-spirited pure wine that is to be enjoyed chilled in great company.