Interview with Italian Wine Reflections

For over 100 years the Rivetto family has been making wine in the Piedmont region in northwestern Italy. Today this medium size estate occupies some 35 hectacres, 20 of which are vineyards, and faces the spectacular Serralunga d’Alba castle and the charming picturesque village of Sinio. Rivetto have recently opened a shop in nearby Alba, offering their delicious range of wines to the public whilst the estate has also opened its doors to visitors, allowing wine lovers and nature enthusiasts to stroll through the beautiful grounds.

Enrico says: “We are undertaking a number of new projects. Firstly, a Nebbiolo Spumante using the Champenois method and secondly, a new Barolo named Briccolina”.

The Questions and Answers:

1) How and when did you first get involved with wine?

I think I always wanted to be involved in wine, when I was 4 years old I helped my father in the cellar. My job was to switch the pumps, which transferred the wine from one barrel to another, on and off. So I started breathing in the wine atmosphere at a very early age. I graduated in Oenology from the University of Viticoltura and Enologia in ALBA and since then have been heavily involved in all aspects of the family business.

2) For our readers who haven’t been to Sinio and Serralunga, can you tell them a little bit about what makes this part of Piedmont such a great place for growing grapes and making wine.

Our winery is located on the top of a beautiful hill between Serralunga d’Alba and Sinio and first thing that you see is the view. The contours of the hills, the colour of the landscape, the castles and the panorama of the Alps. Everywhere the vineyard views are unique, it is very difficult to describe. The soil in this area is rich in clay and calcium which creates a perfect composition for growing grapes, especially for wines that require ageing. In my opinion, the soil accounts for half the reason why our wines are so special.

3) Rivetto has been making wines for nearly 100 years, what do you consider to be the biggest challenges now for Rivetto?

I represent the 4th generation of my family and we are one of the older wine producer families in southern Piemonte. Those members of my family who ran the company before my brother and I had many difficult moments, two world wars, a methanol crisis and a family split.
Fortunately today things are not as difficult for us, but of course there are many challenges ahead. We are undertaking a number of new projects. Firstly, a Nebbiolo Spumante using the Champenois method, secondly, a new Barolo named Briccolina and finally improving the quality of the only white grape indigenous to the Langhe hills called Langhe Nascetta. From a marketing point of view, my challenge is to communicate the philosophy of Rivetto wines through our website, my blog and other social media. Perhaps the most difficult challenge, and in many ways the most important to me, is how to involve my daughter and two nieces in our wine business in the future. At the moment they are very very young, so I have time to think how to do it without applying any undue pressure.

4) If someone was contemplating purchasing Rivetto wines for the very first time which would you recommend and what foods would you suggest to pair with them?

Barbera d’Alba “Zio Nando” is my choice, matched with pasta and a meaty sauce. Even if the Barbera Zio Nando is 14% volume, it is very well balanced and smooth, it makes the perfect, high quality introduction to Rivetto’s wines.

5) Which do you consider to be Rivetto’s top three wines?

A difficult question, but I favour the Barbera d’Alba “Lirano Soprano” 2007, followed by the Barolo Serralunga 2006 and then the Barolo Riserva 2004. In the near future, when we release our Barolo Briccolina, I believe this will probably become our number one wine.

6) How may “Italian Reflections” readers taste and purchase your wines?

We ship our wines worldwide or you can purchase our wines from one of 30 importers located in over 30 countries. Please feel free to contact me for further information.

Many thanks to Enrico Rivetto of the Rivetto Winery for your time and answers.