Keepin' it Real

Simioni Imports is all about small-batch, native Italian wines

To Danny Simioni and his partner, his father Robert, "real" Italian wine means under-appreciated and native Italian grapes, grown and bottled with as little manipulation as possible.

Their new Evanston-based import company, Simioni Imports, works with small-batch, family run wineries, most of which produce naturally or organically. In other words: They keep it old school. "The places doing natural, organic viniculture are doing it because it's tradition," says Simioni–who ships his wine in refrigerated containers to keep it as pristine as possible.

Seek out these three bottles and other Simioni wines at Taste Food and Wine, Paired Wine Co., Lush Wine & Spirits and Artisanal.

2011 Poggio Alloro Vernaccia di San Gimignano ($18) Vernaccia is the indigenous grape in this smooth, round, certified organic Tuscan wine. It's a white for fall: "The winemaker cooked turkey with saffron and served it to me with this wine," Simioni recounts. "It was unbelievable."

2011 Comelli Pinot Grigio ($20) Simioni describes this Friulian wine as: "the producer's attempt to re-introduce Italian Pinot Grigio." The grape's charachteristic light body and citrusy acidity are anchored by rounder fruit flavors. "Pair it with raw seafood or herby garlic sauces and gnocchi, a Friulano specialty."

2012 Puro Chianti ($22) This organic Chianti is as un-manipulated as they come. "I think of this wine as a history lesson. It's what Italian wine was 2,000 years ago." We think of it as a superb pairing for roasted vegetables or a simple, meaty pasta.