Grapes

Here’s a little intro on us, wonderful hand-picked grapes!

Barbera

Indigenous to the Asti area and grown there since at least 1512. It is the main grape of this region where it prefers sunny hill sites. Barbera makes a deep ruby and brilliant wine that with age tends to garnet red. Good Barbera will start off with fruity notes of cherries and plums and a certain suppleness followed by its typical acidity, floral notes and medium tannin. The more age-worthy examples will also show a long finish and a warming intense complexity.

Freisa

The name derives from the Latin word for strawberry – try some and you’ll see why. It is related to Nebbiolo. First documented in the Renaissance period this old Piemonte grape variety is now mostly found north of Asti. It makes ruby red wines with a delicate nose of roses, strawberry and raspberry that with age can evolve in more complex hints of moss. It generally has a light fruity body with medium-high tannin and often it retains some fizz. It is undeniably light and delightful.

Malvasia di Schierano

Aromatic purple-blue grape that makes a very pleasant, sweet, sparkling red wine with fresh and delicate notes of rosehips and red berries.  It is less vigorous and matures later than the related Malvasia Nera Lunga. It originates in Monferrato, north of Asti.

Sauvignon Blanc

It is well represented in Italy where it was introduced at the end of the 1800’s. The most refined examples hail from Sudtirol.  It has a light straw color with green reflexes, intense aromas that can include gooseberries, red currants and passion fruit but also notes of freshly cut grass and elder flowers. Its typical trait is its zippy acidity.

Chardonnay

Easily found in many parts of Italy.  It is used extensively in Franciacorta and in smaller percentages in the Oltrepò for quality sparkling wines. It has thick, strong skins, greenish to yellow berries.  It has freshness, a certain softness and displays a wide aroma palette depending from vintage and location. The cooler Italian regions can show tropical notes but tend to display elegant aromas of baked apples, pears and flowers with hints of caramel.

Pinot Nero

Known worldwide as Pinot Noir, it finds its Italian home in the Oltrepò for both quality sparkling wines and red wines. Also present in Sudtirol where it makes the most delicate and complex reds, rich in dark berries, clove and violet aromas.

Pinot Bianco

Known worldwide as Pinot Blanc,its best examples are grown in Sudtirol and other areas of North Eastern Italy.  It is also one of the minor grapes used in Franciacorta sparkling wine.  It has good vigour and beautiful greenish-yellow clusters. It makes wines with a full and elegant body and good acidity, showing traits of pears, baked bread, almonds and hazelnuts. 

Croatina

Referred to as Bonarda in the Oltrepò region where this grape is widely grown.  Yet it is not the same as Bonarda Piemontese (the “true” Bonarda) or Bonarda Novarese (Uva Rara). It makes expressive and unique red wines with an inky purplish color, often slightly fizzy with a generous nose of macerated berries, roses and violets. It has a balanced round mouth, with medium-high tannin and a slight impression of sweetness even in its dry versions. It is used in red blends to give Nebbiolo or Barbera less acidity, more color and softness. It is native of the Rovescala area of the Oltrepò where it has been documented since medieval times. It is quite unique and deserves discovering.

Uva Rara

Also known as Bonarda Novarese.  It is used mainly in Northern Piemonte and Oltrepò as a blending grape.  In the Pavia area it is commonly made into a rosé wine.  It adds a degree of softness, fruit and a perfumed bouquet to red blends such as Buttafuoco.

Ughetta di Canneto

Related to Nebbiolo. It is found in the Oltrepò and in Piemonte where it is called Vespolina. It is used in blends such as Buttafuoco for its complexity and spicy notes.  On its own it creates rich ruby red wines, with medium body and a perfumed bouquet of flowers and spices. 

Merlot

Due to its versatilitysince the mid 1800’s it has always had an important role in the North-East and North-Center of Italy. It prefers hilly sites, well ventilated and not dry in summer. In fact it thrives in the Valcalepio area where it is used in the traditional Valcalepio Rosso blend together with Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a certain fruity character and roundness and can achieve greatness in the right conditions.

Cabernet Sauvignon

First introduced to Italy in the 1820’s. It generally produces wines with body, tannin and as a result good ageing potential. It adapts well to various conditions and tends to be a big producer.  In the Valcalepio region it gets into a lot of mischief with its buddy Merlot to create a Bordeaux-style blend that when well made is rich in color, plush, age-able and very enjoyable.