By Rick Riozza

I don’t know where I’ve heard this—but, if you ever meet Marco and Paolo, the first thing they’ll tell you is that “our Sheep Thrills wines are made to impress. They’re big in flavor but light in cost”—which is a hit anytime, anywhere.

Marco and Paolo will tell you that their vintners in the mountains of Italy have got it down. “They’ve created the impossible and it tastes so good.”

The Abruzzo region in central Italy is home to many wonders and many, many adventures. On one side, lay the fabled peaks of the Gran Sasso, Laga Mountains, and Mount Majella with their ancient villages and natural reserves. Indeed, if one where to climb to the top of the mountain known as Gran Sasso, on a clear day you could see both the Tyrrhenian Sea on the west—an arm of the Mediterranean Sea between the western coast of Italy and the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily.


On the other side, looking to the east, the hashtag-worthy beauty of the Adriatic Sea coast complete with fanciful monasteries and whimsical castles are in view. It’s a really cool thing. But do remember that the Gran Sasso is a slate mountain, which means it is very slippery at the top, to the point that one has to walk on all fours a lot of the time. Everyone hiking on top looks like they belong to a modern dance troop.

Anyways, nestled between these two regions steeped in history, tradition, and art is the perfect terrain for growing multitudes of the best wine grapes on earth alone with some sheep who absolutely love snacking on the wondrous grapes!

I don’t know where I’ve heard this—but, for centuries, it’s been a give and take between the vintners of this “greenest region” in Italy and the sheep. “Meddlesome sheep taking more than their fill of their grapes…but who’s to blame them really? Those grapes are really something else. Anyway, as Marco and Paolo have stated, “years of frustration and a few thousand Italian curse words later, our vintners have finally prevailed and today, we can enjoy Sheep Thrills.

One of our far-flung correspondents, Tonya the Farmgirl—who owns a master’s degree in speech and language pathology, and who grew up on a 300-acre farm in rural Virginia, and writes The Weakly Bleat wrote, “A couple of weeks ago, I was grocery shopping at our local Kroger when I spotted these whimsical wine labels featuring sheep attached to parachutes with the name, Sheep Thrills. Although I didn’t know anything about the brand of wine, the bottles were too cute to pass up, so I bought them.

And that’s the case in the wine aisle, more often than not, coming upon a label too cute to pass on. The Sheep Thrills label fits the category!

The Italian wine company produces two wines at the moment: a Pinot Grigio from Sicily, and a Red Blend from the aforementioned sheep infested Abruzzo region in the central south of Italy. Although we have not seen as many sheep lingering around the environs of Mount Etna as we see in Abruzzo, it’s thrilling none-the-less for us city folk to witness the fun and liveliness of the roaming sheep about.

And now: some independent reviews of the Sheep Thrills wine:

2022 Sheep Thrills Pinot Grigio Italy ($10) This wine is clear, pale, lemon. It has a clean nose with light intensity. This youthful wine is fragrant with hints of lemon zest, green apple, and chamomile. On the palate, it’s dry with medium minus acidity, 12.5% alcohol, and medium body. Its flavor intensity is medium and features lots of citrus notes and green apple.

This is a simple, balanced wine with a relatively short finish. Drink now for the best results as it’s not suitable for aging. This refreshingly, light Pinot Grigio would be perfect on a sunny afternoon.

Non-Vintage Sheep Thrills Red Blend Italy ($10) This wine is clear, medium, ruby. It has a clean nose with a medium-body plus intensity. This youthful wine is very fragrant with scores of black fruit–blackberry, black cherry, and black raspberry. It also has some spice, especially cloves and black pepper as well as a hint of earthiness.

On the palate, it’s medium-dry (tiny bit of sweetness) with easy acidity, 13% alcohol, medium body, and easy tannins. Its flavor intensity is up there due to its jammy personality. Once again, lots of blackberry, black cherry, black raspberry, blueberry, and a bit of green pepper. This youthful wine is well balanced with a medium finish. Drink now; don’t age. Overall, this wine is very good and would be lovely with cheese or your favorite pasta that can crave fruit.

One of our other favorite wine venture stories is that of the Chloe brand of wines. Back in the day, Georgetta Dane was born and raised in Dalmatia, which was part of the Yugoslavia nation. In the rough & tumble days, she was able to learn winemaking. And against all odds, she ventured out to our Sonoma County wine country and established a small winery.

Now, Chloe Wines is one of the successful women in wine stories around.

L’ Aventure at JAMESUCKLING.COM has recently written on a newly released Red Blend wine: Chloe Red Blend ($25) Most of you folks know of Chloe’s Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir, but now there is a new red blend on the block. “Lots of blackberries, cassis, dark plums, cedar and stones. Full-bodied with plush tannins. Serious and ample with a mineral edge at the center with some violets and blue fruit character towards the laser-focused long finish. 64% syrah, 23% grenache, 8% grenache blanc and 5% graciano. Try after 2026.”