The King and Queen of Wine, Barolo and Barbaresco Ceretto Winery & Castello di Neive
Barolo & Barbaresco- dubbed “the king & queen” of wines. There couldn’t be a wider contrast in Italian wines than the explosive wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Piedmont is home to several renowned wines, but the greatest wines come from the villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. Both districts often get confused with another red wine, barbera. However, the juicy wines made from the barbera grape don’t compare in terms of structure and ageability to that of the infamous nebbiolo.
Castello di Neive and the surrounding 150 acre estate are owned by the Stupino family, siblings Anna, Giulio, Italo, and Piera. The Castello di Neive winery began when Giacomo Stupino, the family patriarch, capitalized on his experience as a surveyor and his knowledge of the area to purchase favorable vineyards and land whenever possible. In the small cellars of their family home, the Stupino’s began their first wine production (including Messoirano, Montebertotto, Basarin, Valtorta, and i Cortini) and, over time, their acquired vineyards grew with the family’s production and ambitions. In 1964 the family purchased the castle with its spacious cellars, along with more land and farmsteads in Santo Stefano and Marcorino.
Castello di Neive comprises a 150 acre (60 hectares) estate, all in the Neive town council, in the Langhe area of the Piedmont region. Sixty-two acres (25 hectares) of the property are devoted to grape growing and all the production (approximately 12,000 cases a year) is obtained from Castello di Neive’s own vines in the following vineyards: Basarin, Cortini, Gallina, Marcorino, Messoirano-Montebertotto; Santo Stefano and Valtorta. Winemaking Philosophy Tradition, research, and creativity make up the philosophy of the Castello di Neive winery. Recently released photographs from the winery’s library show that, as early as 1904, Pinot Nero was being bottled at the castle, and that by 1925 Nebbiolo was recognized as a fine wine grape with varietal labeling. Now, roughly one century later, the Stupino family continues tradition of cultivating and vinifying these noble varieties as well as the often overlooked Barbera and Dolcetto and the local favorite, Grignolino. The Stupinos’ winemaking philosophy is to respect a centuries-old heritage of winemaking while embracing new technologies and research activities—both in the vineyard and in the cellars.
Castello di Neive, Barbaresco 2014 :: $46 Sale $40
A clear garnet colour this wine’s classic Nebbiolo has scents of fragrant blue flower, new leather, aromatic herb and red berry waft out of the glass. The firmly structured palate offers Marasca cherry, sage, truffle and ground clove flavors framed by tightly woven but refined tannins and vibrant acidity. A licorice note rounds out the finish.
Castello di Neive, Piemonte Grignolino 2016 :: $25 Sale $22
The Langhe hills of Piedmont constitute that area of northern Italy where the wide and flat Pò river valley suddenly disappears and gives way on all sides to hulking and precipitous slopes. The Langhe hills are more than hills. They are ancient and rugged earth. Their narrow peaks are topped by castles, and they are thick to the horizon with grapevines. The Langhe hills are home to a small group of farmers and winemakers who, together, have succeeded in creating some of the planet’s finest expressions of place.
The Ceretto family is among that fortunate group. For three generations members of the Ceretto family have transformed the fruit of the Langhe’s vineyards into wines that speak of the regions identity. The famed Italian gastronome and intellectual Luigi Veronelli wrote, “The land, the land, the land, the land, always, the land.” This philosophy is central to the Ceretto family. Reverence for this land has passed from Riccardo, who blended fruit from the region’s best vineyards, to Bruno and Marcello, who purchased Langhe vineyards and began bottling single crus, and finally to Alessandro, who is taking the winery into the 21st century by using natural methods to foster vines that are stronger, healthier, and more in balance with their environment. The Ceretto family has always been committed to producing the most expressive and authentic wines their land can yield.
The Ceretto family has become one of the largest vineyard proprietors in Piedmont with more than 400 acres of estate-owned vineyards, located primarily in the Langhe and Roero region. This includes the prestigious DOCG areas of Barolo and Barbaresco. The family name is synonymous with estate-grown; carefully produced wines that express true varietal character with purity and elegance.
In 2012, under the leadership of Alessandro Ceretto, the Ceretto family began the lengthy process of obtaining Organic certification for all of their vineyard holdings. The Ceretto family does not apply herbicides in the vineyards and fertilizes with manure only. Green cover crops are planted between the rows of vines to reinforce soil fertility and structure. And in the single vineyards, natural sprays are applied to vines to boost plant vitality and photosynthetic capacity. All this is aimed at developing a sensitive and healthy vineyard system capable of maintaining its own natural resources over time.
The family owns four wine estates in the Langhe, each devoted to the production of specific wines and each named for its geographic location
Ceretto, Barolo 2012 :: $68 Sale $60
Zonchera was created as the first Barolo of the house of Ceretto. The majority of the fruit came, at that time, from the Zonchetta vineyard in La Morra. Zonchera was considered Ceretto’s top Barolo until the 70s, when Bruno and Marcello decided to invest in prestigious single-vineyards and began to purchase the first hectares of vines. From that point forward, Zonchera became the second wine of Ceretto’s Barolo offerings. The grapes are sourced from multiple vineyards across the appellation, as was common before the movement to single-vineyard bottlings. Ceretto Barolo DOCG is a classic wine, intended to be like those from the turn of the century, when the concept of ‘cru’ was totally unknown to the region’s winemakers. Made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, the wine is aged for 30 months in both large and small barrels to round and soften the tannins in the wine. This is a classic Barolo – light garnet in color with Barolo’s quintessential aromas of roses, tart cherries, and hints of truffles. Ceretto’s Barolo DOCG is extraordinarily approachable now, but it will continue to reward the patient wine drinker as it evolves over the course of several years
Ceretto, Dolcetto d’Alba Rossana (2015) :: $25 Sale $22
This 100% Dolcetto comes from the Rossana vineyard which is located on a hill just south of Alba. This area’s clay-loam soils and favorable exposure make this one of the best areas for cultivation of the Dolcetto grape. The wine is aged in stainless steel for seven months followed by brief bottle-aging before being released. This wine is ruby red in color with a garnet rim. Aromas of red cherries mingle with notes of lavender, violets, and a touch of sweet almonds. On the palate, black cherries and sweet spices lead to a soft and lingering finish. Ruby red, with a delicately vinous nose, packed with flowery and fruity sensations. Its dry taste is highlighted by a slight almond note, typical of this varietal’s character.
We start sippin’ and tastin’ at 4pm. Hope you can make it! Tag your pics #pickitupatpearl and #Neverabadbottle so we can CHEERS!
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