Minor Piedmont grape varieties in La Morra

I am at Michele Chiarlo’s Cerequio Palas in Borgata Cerequio, La Morra. It is a splendid day; November in the Langa region is truly unique and fascinating, almost making me want to be a tourist, but this will have to wait as I am here now to introduce the Langhe Nascetta 2011 to a group of journalists.

Paul Balke from Holland organised an educational tour in our region for the specialised press of Austria, Brazil and New York, and today the stars were rediscovered native Piedmont grape varieties.

I must admit that it was a wine lesson for me as well: in addition to my own Langhe Nascetta I had the opportunity to appreciate Walter Massa’s Timorasso, Castello di Verduno’s Pelaverga, Cantine Garrone’s Prunent (a Nebbiolo from the Val d’Ossola), Cascina Castlet’s Uvalino, Tenuta dei Fiori’s Gambadipernice and our host Michele Chiarlo’s Albarossa.

Native grape varieties with unique, special characteristics, they are part of our wine and cultural heritage. Among the journalists and producers at the event it was agreed that it is important to preserve the environment in which we cultivate the vines, enhancing the characteristics of the individual varieties.

In addition to the 2011 I also brought a bottle of Langhe Nascetta 2010, to show the splendid development of this variety over time. Many participants noted a resemblance in terms of complexity to the king of white wines: Riesling, although we are still only at the beginning of a long journey.

I spent a few hours listening to the stories of Michele Chiarlo: his trips to America in the 1960s, the Burgundy discovery in the 1970s and his malolactic experiments with Barbera grapes. I was fascinated by his elegant but simple personality and believe Piedmont to be very much in his debt.