Aurelio Settimo’s parents settled this land in the tiny hamlet of Annunziata in the heart of Barolo in 1943, practising mixed farming: tending vineyards and fruit and hazelnut trees, as well as breeding hens, rabbits and cows. The grapes were sold to big local wineries and the family only kept enough to make a small amount of wine for themselves, until the late 1950s when Aurelio’s father began bottling some under the name Settimo Domenico. When Domenico passed away in 1962, Aurelio abandoned mixed farming and animal breeding to follow his heart, creating the Aurelio Settimo label, knowing the true value of the land his family held. When Aurelio died in 2007 his daughter Tiziana took the reigns but has kept his philosophy alive: to focus on quality in keeping with tradition. The estate has shown consistent growth in terms of quality while maintaining absolute respect for the noble local winemaking tradition and the land, and has banned the use of chemicals in the vineyard.
On the hills of Pressano, the vineyards are at about 300 m above sea level where the continental climate offers great day/night temperature variations. The soils derive from the weathering of rocks whose origin dates back to millions of years ago when sand, silt and mud was deposited on the bed of a sea that has long disappeared. The proof of this marine origin, shared with the rest of the Dolomites, lies in the regularity of the rock layers and in the presence of marine-animal fossils found on the dolomitic peaks. These soils are deep and fertile, marked by their high mineral content.
The Pivier and Prabi vineyards, on the other hand, are found a few kilometres from Lake Garda, near the small town of Ceniga in the Sarca Valley. The Ora del Garda – a wind blowing from the lake – rises unfailingly every day, mitigating the climate and day/night temperature fluctuations, and thus contributing to create an ideal environment for olive trees and other Mediterranean species. In the Prabi vineyard, with its loose alluvial soils, we grow Manzoni Bianco and Riesling, while clay, which is predominant in the Pivier vineyard soil, is an essential ingredient for growing red grape varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Cesconi is available in Calgary exclusively at Metrovino.
While the Marengo family has been making great wine for over a century in Piedmont, its more famous neighbours have typically soaked up the international spotlight. In recent years, however, Marco Marengo, a fourth-generation winemaker, has been labeled one of Piedmont’s emerging superstars after taking the estate’s wines – the Barolos in particular – from excellent to outstanding. Considering Marengo is privileged to be among the landowners of the prized Brunate cru, one of the grand crus of the Langhe, it was just a matter of time before his talent brought out the best in this immaculately positioned parcel of land. Despite emerging fame, Marengo remains one of the area’s small artisanal wine producers and maintains a tasting room in the family’s tiny historical cellar on the main street in La Morra, which served as the estate’s headquarters until 2012 when a new modern and more functional cellar in the township of Gnesotti was opened. Marengo mainly makes tiny quantities of modern-style Barolo from old vines, and embraces a natural approach to grape growing. No herbicides or insecticides are used and the ground cover around the vines is left to grow naturally — when mowed in summer, the grass cuttings are left behind to decompose. His wines are typically made in a soft fruit-forward style, making them drinkable at a relatively young age.
Marengo is available in Calgary at J Webb Wine Merchant
Pra’ della LunaPerhaps this northern Italian winemaker is best known for their bubbles but Pra’ della Luna also makes Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon and Merlot. The winery’s name loosely translated means ‘well of the moon’ and a stylized moonscape is what’ most noticeable on their striking bottles. Pra’ della Luna’s grapes are grown in the Veneto region of Italy, on the pre Alpine alluvial land just south of the city of Udine. The grapes are harvested each year in the second half of September. Pra’ della Luna is available in Calgary at Metrovino.
Nestled between the majestic peaks of the Dolomite Alps, the area surrounding Lake Caldaro in the German-speaking region of Alto Adige is an optimum wine producing zone. Amidst this tranquil Alpine valley lie the vineyards of Castel Sallegg, a winery fortunate enough to possess some of the most desirable sites on the western slopes of the lake, and in the village of Caldaro. Three varieties typically cultivated in the region, Schiava and Lagrein, and Moscato Giallo, benefit from Lake Caldaro’s unique climate, providing Castel Sallegg with what are arguably its most distinctive wines. Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero are grown on historic sites in the village center. The Castel Sallegg, in addition to its winemaking reputation, boasts a history steeped in nobility. In 1851 the castle itself and its surrounding vineyard was bought by Archduke Rainer of Austria, Viceroy of Lombardy-Veneto. It was later inherited by the Counts von Kuenburg through Prince Henry of Campofranco. A keen sense of custodial responsibility and continuity are deeply rooted in the Von Kuenburg family, and today Georg von Kuenburg, together with enologist Matthias Hauser, ensures that quality and tradition continue to be maintained.
Castel Sallegg is available exclusively at J Webb Wine Merchant.