The April selections - Unconventional Piedmont

vitigni piemontesi

Step #2

Led by Gabriele Scalici , April 2018

Fontanabianca winery

Fontanabianca is a small, large company in the Langa, founded in the Bordini district by Matteo's grandfather, the current manager, in 1969. The first bottle produced was the Barbaresco Bordini, a true purebred horse and the house's flagship wine, the following year . In my grandfather's time, grapes and loose wine were sold in demijohns; then, due to his bad illness, the reins passed to the second generation, to Matteo's father, who began to renovate the machinery and structures of the cellar. The great journey of quality began in 1985 with the first sales abroad, in Germany and Switzerland, and subsequently in the United States and northern Europe. This is what Fontanabianca is for Matteo: "For me the choice to stay in the company was obvious, we grew up in this world since we were newborns. Just think that our maternal grandfather, since we were little, made us taste Dolcetto at lunch with a a little water. And during the harvest period, every afternoon we were in the cellar or in the vineyards with our parents to harvest and press. From there was born a burning passion for wine that leads you to understand, as you grow up, not only the playful and carefree aspects, but also the difficulties of this job. During the harvest, for example (few say this), we work for 16-18 hours a day because the fermentations and pumping overs can never stop. The vintages, then, are not all exceptional; for example in 2002, due to terrible weather conditions we didn't bottle anything. A similar impact, for a small family-run company like ours, is enormous. And then, to promote the wines we make exhausting journeys and when we return at home the work has tripled. For a couple of years my dad has given me more and more space in the company , especially in managing the winemaking. From this growth path the project of proposing a Classic Method came to life a few years ago, also thanks to the insistence of some of my friends from Leva. They are the ones who registered the name of the wine, calling it Classe '91, in honor of our year of birth . In the immediate future, we want to expand and renovate the cellar, to provide more and more efficiency and guarantee a better offer to our guests. It's nice to think that my little brother has also recently undertaken studies in oenology! The hope is that he too will stay in the company and that the Pola family will continue to cultivate this great passion for generations and promote Fontanabianca wines around the world."

Mario Rivetti Agricultural Company

1930 is the year in which the Rivetti family's history as winemakers began. A small reality, whose lands are where the Barolo crus end and those of Barbaresco begin: a hill just outside Alba, the Bricco Capre, which shares the air, the land, the culture and the unique terroir of the Langhe. We had to wait until 1968 to find in Mario a strong passion capable of elevating production towards quality and the marketing of his own wines. A forerunner, he was able to become independent by making wine from his own grapes, a truly daring practice for the time. The corporate imprint was expertly instilled by Mario until his untimely death in 2000, but he found fertile ground in his daughters Anna Maria and Loredana (it must be said!). Thanks to them and the commitment of their husbands Domenico and Giuseppe, today we are witnessing a further acceleration. Their passion for wine translates into taking care of every aspect of production according to the rule of good practice . Environmental sustainability and respect for the vineyard, use of natural fertilizers, minimally invasive winemaking practices . This is the signature of a united and successful family business. There are 10 hectares of vineyards which offer a small, precious production with 6 main labels at the forefront including three reds from Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, two whites from Chardonnay and Favorite and Moscato d'Asti. Wines with a soul, everyday, each with its own facets. Perfumes and sips capable of giving that refined, intimate and important aspect, which is typical of fine wines, wines that excite when tasted.

I Carpini winery

In the south-east of Piedmont, south of the Gavi region, there are Tortona and the Colli Tortonesi. These reliefs are the cradle of one of the most fascinating native vines in Italy: timorasso. It is a grape that has the gift, like only a few others, of developing types of aromas and flavors of incredible complexity over the years. Paolo Carlo Ghislandi, manager and winemaker of the I Carpini company, is the man who gave life to Cascina di Pozzol Groppo as it is today. Purchased at the end of the nineties, Paolo Carlo dedicated months of study, of real listening , before designing the vineyards and cellar. The pedoclimatic characteristics in the farmhouse are excellent, but for wine production this was not enough: it was necessary to conceive a production system that adhered as closely as possible to the ideal conditions for the ripening of the grapes and for their transformation into wine. And so it was. Paolo Carlo sees winemaking as a combination of art and nature and refers to his products as Art wines . It is no surprise that he works according to the dictates of organic viticulture, often following even more natural practices combined with the use of indigenous yeasts, low yields per hectare, few added sulphites, carefully controlled fermentations. The wines of I Carpini come to life in the glass, they are multifaceted, never banal, produced with universally known grapes such as Barbera or semi-unknown grapes such as Albarossa. And of course the Timorasso, the pivot around which the rebirth of the entire territory revolves, thanks to the intuitions of winemakers such as Paolo Carlo. A "local juice" where only the peculiarity of the vintage gives the stamp and uniqueness of each bottle. The wines of I Carpini take you by the hand and you have to abandon yourself to their aroma and flavour. Paolo Carlo often says: "it's the wine that decides when it's ready, let's leave it to it and wait for it without haste". A natural, holistic approach towards the wine element, in its broadest and most territorial sense possible.

The selected wines


Arneis, Fontanabianca

There is a bad boy among the vineyards of Piedmont: "t ses propi n'arnèis" is said on those roads, in the villages and in the taverns, when you meet a bizarre and rebellious person, but also nice and jovial. Arneis is like this: its difficult character has made it risk extinction due to low yields and low acidity. Fortunately, since the seventies we have been witnessing, especially in the Roero, its rediscovery: ambitions, after all, are not lacking and neither are the abilities, so why not try? With its Arneis, Fontanabianca offers a rich version of this wine , very tasty and fragrant: citrus fruits, white flowers and pear accompany the taster to the comfort of the sip, punctuated by precise fruity returns. A perfect partner for summer aperitifs or for light lunches based on fish or vegetables.

Dolcetto d'Alba Ciabot 2017, Mario Rivetti

Dolcetto in Piedmont is the popular wine par excellence, the undisputed protagonist of crowded village trattorias, where ravioli del plin and tartrà reign supreme. Popular, sure, but never banal. Daily, but never conventional. It is a versatile, pleasant, disengaged and - also for this reason - successful wine! The two souls of Piedmont winemaking coexist in Dolcetto: frankness, typicality and recognisability, combined with an important qualitative fabric , which make it a perfect companion for many occasions. In the Ciabot that I have selected for you the color is textbook: purple red with violet reflections. It teases the sense of smell and boldly offers aromas of irises and wild strawberries, plums and blueberries, and fearlessly continues in the mouth with powerful but not violent tannins. It is not a shy wine and every sip is generous on the palate, with immediate freshness, embellished with a highly persistent finish. In every glass of Ciabot by Mario Rivetti the joy of informal dinners and the joy of simple, genuine, good things relive.

Timorasso 2016, I Carpini

The Timorasso grape, native to the Monferrato area, is perhaps the one that has enjoyed the greatest success in recent years on the Italian scene. Almost unknown (or rather forgotten - bordering on oblivion - until 7 or 10 years ago), it is going through an acute phase of notoriety. Among the explanations for such success is the painstaking work of passionate winemakers, the recovery of abandoned vineyards and their care with sustainable cultivation, together with minimally invasive cellar practices aimed at preserving the raw material. In addition to all this, Timorasso stands out for some of its taste-olfactory characteristics which link it to the more famous Rhenish Riesling. And here is the extreme freshness of the sip, the hints of hydrocarbons that develop with the passage of time, the great savory minerality, so intensely satisfying, which makes it a unique wine. Timorasso by I Carpini is an example of how Piedmont can express itself with white wines of absolute value, with personality and even unsuspected longevity.


Brut Class '91, Fontanabianca

When we talk about sparkling wine, the mind travels to images of celebration, of joy, with the sweet and frothy flavor of muscat grapes. Piedmont is famous for this favorite son, a tradition that is now part of our cultural heritage. However, it was the desire for dry bubbles, without or with little residual sugar, that transformed and elevated the very concept of Italian sparkling wine, which until a few years ago was relegated only to some areas, especially northern Italy. For some time now we have been lucky enough to enjoy bubbles from every Italian region with previously unthinkable results and peaks of excellence. And Piedmont has its say in this field too: the production of dry sparkling wine is concentrated in the Langhe and in the Chardonnay grape, the vine of choice in the world for sparkling wine production together with Pinot Noir. And, mind you, it is not a passing fad: in the Langa there are examples of very high level sparkling wine production . Fontanabianca's Brut Classe '91 is a concrete example of this: its fine bubbles emphasize the delicacy of the sip, the great readiness of a balanced drink and the great affability of the nose. A soft and refined bubble , to be combined from the appetizer to the second course, with the only small "defect", typical of good bottles: it always ends too soon...

Nebbiolo d'Alba Capre, Mario Rivetti

The prince of Piedmontese vines needs no introduction. The grape of the kings , the vine that gives life to some of the greatest wines in the world (Barolo and Barbaresco), known and appreciated everywhere, can also be enjoyed in less aristocratic versions, while maintaining an adequate prerogative for aging and to evolution. And to quality. The Nebbiolo from the Mario Rivetti company expresses itself in a large glass, offering everything one expects from a great wine: from the intense and luminous ruby ​​red, to the precise nose with notes of violet, crushed raspberry and a sprinkling of spices, to the great finesse of the sip with a finish reinvigorated by a balsamic touch that amplifies sensorial satisfaction. Finally, the perfect combination with traditional dishes, from tajarin to white Alba truffle, to Piedmontese boiled meat. A refined wine, not snobbish, proud but not burdened . A bottle to be consumed immediately or to be kept for a while longer, when the years have further enriched its characteristics.

Terre d'Ombra, The Carpini

In the Nebbiolo and Dolcetto region, it is difficult to emerge with a wine made from red grapes, especially if the grape variety in question has always been defined as "minor". But there is nothing minor about the Albarossa. On the contrary. He has a difficult story, like that of a reckless young man who no one trusted but who knows how to redeem himself with conviction. Only a few courageous winemakers, including Paolo Carlo Ghislandi, believed in it . Albarossa is a relatively young vine, born in 1938 and registered in the National Register of Vine Varieties as recently as 1977. It has long been believed that it was a cross between Nebbiolo and Barbera, but this is not the case: it is even more intimately Piemunteis , if we want, since it descends from the Nebbiolo di Dronero, a native Alpine variety historically cultivated at the foot of the Maritime Alps and known by the name of chatus . Terre d'Ombra has its main characteristic in its fullness of taste : supported by a strong and spicy bouquet , it gratifies the palate with a well-balanced structure and an unforgettable, subtle elegance.

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