Albugnano 549: Nebbiolo at a High Altitude in Piedmont

We are in Piedmont with its most exalted grape variety, Nebbiolo. It is the same grape that makes Barolo and Barbaresco but this time, we are moving towards another part of the Piedmont region where it also found a suitable home at the highest altitude of 549 meters above sea level, at the hilltop village of Albugnano, on the east of Turin and the northern corner of the province of Asti.

The number 549 is not just the altitude for the wine producers of Albugnano. It represents a more profound meaning, especially to the original 9 who founded the association on the 5th of April 2017, twenty years after Albugnano DOC was officially recognized. Coming from 4 different small municipalities namely Albugnano, Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Passerano Marmorito and Pino d'Asti, these producers understood the distinctive qualities that their wines have which are different from the other Nebbiolo-based wines in Piedmont.

The Nebbiolo vines of Albugnano are cultivated in a mosaic of soils, but mostly on light-colored marlstone from the Mioence epoch (between 5.3 to 23 million years ago), with tufaceous and sandy content in the topsoil. The woods and altitude contribute to the cooling factors of the climate, which are favorable to the growth of the vines helping them ripen earlier than the ones planted in other territories. But the most important factors that strongly influence their differences in aromatic development and acidity level are the altitude and the amount of rainfall that they receive. According to the analysis based on the rainfall effects on the soil characteristics conducted by the Piedmont region, Albugnano is one of the towns with the highest and most frequent rainfall in the Asti province. It is also the coolest area in the province, with a lower average temperature that varies significantly at different altitudes. As a result, the wines have different characteristics according to the position, exposure to the sun and altitude.

Abugnano DOC
Albugnano DOC was officially recognized on 17 May 1997. The grape varieties that can be used are 100% Nebbiolo or 85% with the possibility to add 15% of Freisa, Bonarda and Barbera. The vinification and ageing should not be less than 12 months with at least six months in oak barrels. It's a grape that can sometimes be easy to identify with the limpidity and color which ranges from ruby red at its young age to garnet over time.

Albugnano 549
The objective of the wine producers of Albugnano is to enhance the denomination area which covers 44 hectares as of today - the main characteristics of which are the marly soil and the higher altitudes compared to the other denominations of Nebbiolo in Piedmont. The vinification process also gives the best possibility to obtain highly expressive wines which are achieved from longer maceration times and maturation for 18 months in wood and 6 months in the bottle to give it time to age correctly. This work was entrusted by the association to oenologist Gianpiero Gerbi to guarantee the quality of the wines and to strengthen the identity of Albugnano. He considered the essentiality of working on an internal disciplinary among the members such as the use of solely Nebbiolo and a minimum ageing of 18 months ageing in wood. Being Nebbiolo, one of the best things about it is the aromatic floral and fruit profile of roses, violets, red wood berries and red stone fruits. On the palate, the acidity and tannins are notable, with a vein of sapidity at times. Albugnano are elegant and harmonious wines with great structure. They take on various personalities depending on the winemaker's style. It has a great potential for ageing well. 

Alle Tre Colline
Va' Anàit Albugnano DOC Superiore 2018.
The Alle Tre Colline farm extends over 35 hectares which are mostly dedicated to vine growing. The hillside vineyards which are very important for the production of good grapes are set up according to historic crosswise or roundabout planting, south, south-east and south-west on the Albugnano hills. Soil Type: clayey limestone. Vinification and Ageing: The crushing and de-stemming are delicate, due to the extreme fragility of the Nebbiolo stalk. Submerged cap maceration for 10 days at a controlled temperature of 28°C. Aged in tonneaux for about 18 months and another 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Limpid, garnet red color, austere with a complex nose of mature plums and red berries, poutpourri and dried violets. Well-balanced with well-integrated tannins and good acidity. Elegant, harmonious and long finish.

Ca Mariuccia
Il Tato Albugnano DOC Superiore 2018.
Ca’ Mariuccia is an ethical and organic farm that applies the principles of permaculture and advocates for environmentally sustainable methods and practices, as well as promoting the territory and its products. Soil Type: Marly with presence of white clay. Vinification and Ageing: Alcoholic fermentation with maceration of the skins for 20 days at a controlled temperature of 28°C. Aged for 18 months in barrique (20% new) and at least 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Intense ruby red color with garnet, complex nose of preserved plums and cherries, dried flowers, undergrowth, and tobacco. Enveloping tannins with energetic acidity and persistence.

Casa Calcagni
The Casa Calcagni estate has belonged to the family for more than 200 years. It has always had a very strong farming and winegrowing vocation. The small vineyard with the best exposure, called Montasso, is on the ancient path linking Albugnano to Vezzolano Abbey. The vines are grown without the use of fertilizers and herbicides, and the grapes are harvested by hand. The grapes are carefully selected before vinification care of Cantine Bava, which follows rigorously natural methods. It uses no colouring or chemical additives that may affect the colour or flavour of the wine.

Cascina Quarino
Eclissi Albugnano DOC 2018.
Cascina Quarino is a family-run farm located in Aramengo with 7 hectares cultivated with vines. It produces eight types of wines – mainly reds – according to a philosophy of continuous and meticulous striving for quality that begins with the work in the vineyard. Soil Type: Mixed clay. Vinification and Ageing: 10-day maceration at 28°C, scheduled pumping over, délestage once, malolactic at the end of fermentation. Aged in 2nd passage French oak barrique for at least 18 months then refined in the bottle for 6 months. Organoleptic Description: Ruby red in color with layers of smoke in the nose, dried flowers and ripe plums. Elegant, well-balanced with the smooth tannins, savory notes and finishes with long acidity.

Enrico Malfetti
For Enrico Malfetti wine has been a great passion for thirty years – ever since he started vinifying Barolo with grapes grown by his father. He cultivated this passion with dedication, studying and becoming a professional sommelier registered with the AIS (Italian Sommelier Association). Today he looks after his vineyards and looks forward to his first harvest, and the milestone moment when he will begin bottling his first Albugnano DOC.

Cantina Mosso
Parlapà Albugnano DOC Superiore 2018.
The Mosso Mario farm is in Moncucco Torinese, together with the cellars for the production and sale of its wines. The vineyards, which extend over a total area of 13 hectares between Moncucco Torinese and Castelnuovo Don Bosco, have been cultivated for generations to produce ten varieties of full bodied wine. Soil Type: sandy calcareous mixture. Vinification and Ageing: 10 days maceration at 28°C, 2-3 pumpovers per day. Aged for 24 months in barrique and 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Limpid, ruby red in color, the nose has hints of red berries and spices while in the palate, the acidity is evident with a vein of sapidity and enveloping tannins. Persistent.

Antonella Natta
The Antonella Natta farm, founded in 1992, is now led by Elisa Caudana with the valuable collaboration of her father Franco. An entrepreneurial, forward-looking spirit that devotes great care and attention for the environment. The aim of the farm is to produce organic wines with a strong personality that reflects the generous soil of this part of Monferrato, and the passion and professionality of the estate.

Nebbia Tommaso
Nebula Albugnano DOC Superiore 2018.
The Nebbia Tommaso farm was founded in 2016, but the farming and wine producing tradition date back to their great-grandfather Giuseppe. The wine and the vines set apart this farm, which has handed down knowledge and skills for generations, while always innovating. Soil Type: Miocene marl with tuff outcrops. Vinification and Ageing: The selected grapes are de-stemmed and crushed, then placed in temperature-controlled steel tanks for fermentation. 15 days of maceration, subsequently racking and at the first racking the malolactic fermentation takes place. Aged for 18 months in second-passage barrique and 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Intense garnet red wine with delicate aromas of violets and red fruits, hints of jam fruit, spices and a slightly woody profile. On the palate it is warm and soft, balanced tannicity and structure, while maintaining interesting qualities of freshness and flavor. The taste shows good balance and aromatic persistence, with a finish reminiscent of fruit and sweet spices.

Orietta Perotto
Oltre 500 Albugnano DOC Superiore 2018.
Born from Orietta's passion for fine, the Orietta Perotto farm was founded in 2015 in Albugnano. It is rooted in the authentic tradition her grandparents. She has taken to heart bringing value to the territory, running her business with energy, dedication and sensitivity. Soil Type: Miocene marl with tuff outcrops at more than 500 meters asl. Vinification and Ageing: The crushing and destemming are delicate, due to the extreme fragility of the Nebbiolo stalk. Submerged cap maceration for 10 days at 28°C. Aged in tonneaux for about 18 months then 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Light garnet red color with compact and concentrated nose of ripe black plums and cherries, underbrush, which are also evident in the mouth, smooth tannins and good persistence.

Carpinella Albugnano DOC 2018.
The Pianfiorito farm, located in Albugnano, in the Asti Province, has been owned by the Binello family since 1946. It is oriented to polyculture and extends over 70 heactares, of which 14 are dedicated to vineyards. Soil Type: Baldissero-calcareous formation. Vinification and Ageing: Traditional floating cap vinification for 12 days at a controlled temperature of 26-28°C, during this period pumping over is carried out and 2 délestage to extract the noble components of the skins. Aged in French oak barrique for about 18 months then 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Lively garnet color. In the nose, it demonstrates evolved sensations of cinnamon, dark stone fruit preserves, and undergrowth.On the palate the wine is full, with a pronounced acidity, layered savory note and grippy tannins.

Albugnano DOC Superiore 2018.
The Roggero farm is in Albugnano and was founded before 1850. The care for the territory and the passion for quality artisanal wine making has been handed over from father to son for five generations. While true to their roots, Bruno and Marco, look towards the future. They grow their vineyards respecting the ecosystem and vinify their wines with dedication, bringing out its character and specificity. Soil Type: Clayey, slightly calcareous. Vinification and Ageing: 15-20 days of maceration, two delestage and two pumping over/day. Aged for 18 months in French oak barrique and 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Transparent ruby red color with hints of garnet. Red fruits in the nose, cherries, dark plums and hints of hazelnuts. On the palate it is full-bodied and structured, with pronounced acidity and silky tannins.

Tenuta Tamburnin
Albugnano DOC Superiore 2018.
The origin of the Tenuta Tamburnin estate dates back to the late 1700s and it has been owned by the Gaidano family since 2004. It is located in the heart of Piedmont, in Castelnuovo Don Bosco, in the Monferrato Astigiano area. Nine hectares are dedicated to vine growing – organic since 2020. Some of the farm’s vineyards are more than 40 years old, while others are more recent. The agronomic practices adopted by the farm result in lower yields, but benefit the quality of its production without doubt. Soil Type: Sedimentary marine origin with limestone-sandy surface layers. Vinification and Ageing: 10-12 days of maceration, 100% malolactic fermentation. Aged for 18 months in 20-hectoliter oak barrels and 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Full, compact nose presenting evolution with chocolate, mature black plums, and a vein of saltiness. Round in the mouth with long finish.

Terra e Gente
The Terra e Gente cooperative was founded in 1980 – an initiative of Emmaus and a group of farmer friends who shared the belief that working the land needs collaboration. Today it is based in an old farmouse, Cascina Penseglio, which was owned by Vezzolano Abbey until 1779. It houses an agritourism together with the premises for the production of organic certified flours, preserves and wines such as the Albugnano DOC, whose Nebbiolo belongs to the cooperative’s tradition since it was founded.

Terre dei Santi
Ultimum Albugnano DOC 2018.
Forever wine growers, together since 1953. The Terre dei Santi agricultural cooperative was born in 1953 thanks to a few forward-looking local wine growers. One of them, from a family of wine growers for generations, as early as 1911 had the foresight to design and produce concrete poles with holes to have virtually eternal vineyards. Today Terre dei Santi counts 150 wine grower members who cultivate 345 hectares divided in 2,327 vineyards in the areas of Castelnuovo-Albugnano, Chieri and San Damiano d’Asti. A sound organization enables the careful selection of vines and grapes that produce grand cru wines, benefiting from the spread out and differentiated location of the vineyards, and optimizing the results of the best cultivation techniques adopted by each wine grower, achieving the best results even in years with unfavourable climate conditions. Soil Type: Medium sandy mixture. Vinification and Ageing: The grapes harvested in crates are de-stemmed and crushed and placed in steel vats. Maceration lasts for 10/12 days at 26ºC, is carried out with pumping over (from the 2nd day) and delestage (from the 6th day). After racking and first racking, the malolactic fermentation is completed in vitrified cement tanks. Aged in 21-hectoliter French oak barrels for 18-24 months then 6 months in the bottle. Organoleptic Description: Light ruby red color tending to garnet with aging, fruity aromas of cooked stone fruit, dried spices and light sensation of wood; on the palate smooth tannins, savory, persistent, ending with lingering acidity.

Albugnano 549
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Piazza Cavalier Serra, 1

14022 Albugnano (AT) Italia