THE HILLS, A SYMBOL OF WINE-GROWING EXCELLENCE AND A UNESCO HERITAGE
As is well known, winegrowing in the Asti and Monferrato area boasts a centuries-old tradition and has always played a leading role, shaping, over the years, not only the landscape – to which it has given that unique beauty that has allowed it to receive the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation – but also the life of the communities that have inhabited it since ancient times.
Never as in Monferrato can it be said that the landscape is intrinsically linked to the culture of wine. Here, the endless number of vineyards, interspersed only by villages and medieval castles, is the expression of a territory characterized by a historical tradition linked to the cultivation of vines and deeply rooted in the community. A treasure chest of cultural, landscape and natural uniqueness that find in wine a very special ambassador.
The soils on which Barbera and the other Monferrato grape varieties are grown, which contribute to the development of their characteristics and quality, date back over 2 million years, when the sea began to leave the current Po Valley, initiating a process of landscape shaping that characterized the change and the present-day conformation of the hills.
Among the wines and the various designations within the territory:
Barbera d’Asti DOCG is certainly one of the ones most linked to the ancient farming traditions and representative of the area, which has been able to renew itself over time to meet different needs and tastes. Alongside the vinification in steel, which produces fresher and more immediate wines, the use of barriques and barrels has developed, aimed at producing the Superiore style, which is more complex and age-worthy, yet also accessible and easy to drink young.
If Barbera d’Asti DOCG is perhaps the most representative designation of the Monferrato area, Nizza DOCG represents its utmost excellence. Produced with only Barbera grapes, Nizza DOCG is a wine that comes to life in a production area that touches the 18 municipalities that have always been among the most suitable for the cultivation of these grapes and selected as sub-areas of the highest quality.
The broadest and probably the most versatile of the designations is undoubtedly the Piemonte DOC, that today offers a remarkable variety of varieties and styles : Barbera; Bonarda; Brachetto, Grignolino; Cortese, Chardonnay; Moscato Bianco; Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio; Pinot Nero and through the possibility of producing still, sparkling, spumante or passito wines.
From the extensive production areas of Piemonte DOC, we move on to the few municipalities within which the production of Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG is permitted. An uncommon vine grown in the province of Asti, in the area of Castagnole Monferrato and in a few other municipalities, Ruchè is one of the rarest native vines among those grown in the Asti Monferrato area, along with Freisa d’Asti DOC, a wine with ancient origins which, in the peasant tradition, was produced as a sweet wine to accompany fruit-based desserts.
Terre Alfieri Docg, Albugnano Doc, Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato, Dolcetto d’Asti, Grignolino d’Asti, Loazzolo, Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco are other important prestigious DOCs and DOCGs.