The vineyards and the Ciapat winery in Roero
The process of vine cultivation
ORGANIC SUBSTANCES AND NATURAL ELEMENTS
In the geological profile of the Roero area, sand mixed with sandstone prevails (fragile and sedimentary rock of marine origin, the stone that was used for construction or to be sculpted being tender and easy to work) with a wealth of limestone and clay. The soils rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus and other various microelements, combined with a good supply of organic matter makes this soil ideal for the cultivation of the vine. The soils are generally very steep, ranging in color from yellowish to reddish.
The right rainfall in a specific microclimate gives rise to the primary characteristics of the wine in this area have a long tradition.
The vineyards in production cover about 13 hectares and are located in the municipalities of Monteu Roero, Montaldo Roero, Vezza d'Alba, Baldissero d'Alba, and Corneliano d'Alba. The plots are rather fragmented as they are scattered in these municipalities. They occupy sandy soils and slopes with the best exposure where the roughness of the hilly terrain does not always allow the use of mechanical means and the work is still done manually according to the old peasant traditions. Terraced vineyards, difficult hills, and advantageous exposures offer us our wines, fruit of the land pervaded by the designs of the marls and rocks and surrounded by green landscapes and a zonal microclimate rich in typicality and unique in its kind.
The vineyards of the Cascina in Montaldo
LET'S TALK ABOUT OUR WINE SOIL
The soil of the Roero is sandy, rich in limestone and clay. These minerals are found in particular in our white wines.
It is rich in calcium, potassium, and phosphorus which make it very fertile and organic fertilization is not always necessary, also thanks to the perfect balance in the microclimate.
The vineyards cover about 15 hectares of land and are located exclusively in the area of Roero between the municipalities of Monteu Roero, Montaldo Roero, Vezza d'Alba, Baldissero d'Alba, and Corneliano d'Alba. The land has a high slope, in particular, the oldest vineyards that are still worked by hand. The most important thing in addition to the quality of the soil is the exposure to the sun; the ideal is the south-east, which collects the light in the morning and is cool in the afternoon.
Another important factor is the age of the vineyard. That's why we have different coolnesses and structures in the wines. From the oldest vineyard "Valmaggiore" of about 90 years to the youngest "Centanito" of 5 years. Each vineyard has different characteristics that we keep intact even in the cellar keeping the wine of each in its own tank, divided by vineyard.
For each vineyard, we have in fact associated a name that you will find on the label of the wine in the bottle.
Our choice has always been not to use herbicides to guarantee and respect a better ecosystem.
Ours is a conventional agriculture that adheres to Italian law 2078/92 and therefore provides for a limited number of compulsory treatments for the health of the vine.
The first vines were planted by the founder Giacomo with his son Antonio.
The historic vineyard of "Valmaggiore", planted in 1943, located in the municipality of Vezza d'Alba, characterized by high slopes and still worked exclusively by hand, where Nebbiolo grapes are produced with the mention Valmaggiore vineyard. The year of planting is very significant because Italy was still at war. This vineyard was also planted by Giovanni, brother of Nonno Antonio. The next day he was called to arms and remained missing in Russia.
This historic vineyard of "Valmaggiore", about 90 years old, located in the municipality of Vezza d'Alba is characterized by a slope of 40%.
For this reason, it is still worked by hand even today. Here our best Nebbiolo grapes are produced.
The "Gargan" vineyard, about 80 years old, where the Nebbiolo grapes are still produced.
The vineyard "Cagnòla", 70 years old, a vineyard in vertical rows, where Nebbiolo and Favorita are produced.
Part of the largest vineyard "Valle Gioia" where the Arneis grapes are still produced.
OVER THE LAST TEN YEARS VINEYARDS HAVE INCREASED
Next, to the historic vineyards of the company, there are the youngest, those planted by Giacomo and Luca, son and grandson of Antonio.
"Costabella" vineyard, about 20 years old, where Barbera and Dolcetto are produced;
"Bricco Lunetta" vineyard, about 40 years old, selected for the production of superior quality Arneis, "Cisane" vineyard, 20 years old, here we find Arneis and Nebbiolo.
"Valle Gioia" vineyard. We have expanded the existing vineyard by purchasing adjacent land. Now in the entire vineyard, we produce Arneis, Favorita, Nebbiolo, and Barbera.
"Centanito" vineyard, planted in 2015, then the first production of Nebbiolo and Arneis.
"We are very proud of our vineyards and of being able to work these magnificent lands because only by falling in love with them is it possible to bring out their true value and heritage, which is inimitable".
The work in the cellar
AROMAS AND FLAVOURS CARED FOR BY THE OENOLOGIST
Luca, our oenologist, takes care of all the processes. He carefully follows the wine, just like a son, accompanying it to aging in barrels and then in bottles.
Each vineyard has different characteristics according to its exposure to the sun, the soil, the slope, and the age. In order to preserve the characteristics of each one, we dedicate our vats to each vineyard.
For each vineyard, we have in fact associated the name that you will find on the label of the wine in the bottle.
The work in the cellar is very delicate, as it is necessary to maintain the original aromas and flavors of the grapes.
The main process takes place in the cellar: the grapes are transformed into wine through the winemaking process.
The pressing of the grapes is different depending on the color: the white grapes are vinified without skin, while for red grapes the skins are left to ferment together with the must.
The first fundamental phase in the cellar is the alcoholic fermentation, in which the sugars of the grapes are transformed into alcohol.
- POMPAGE: For red wines, a daily pumping over is made to allow the color, aroma, and tannins to come out of the skin and then express themselves in the final wine.
The skins, being lighter, tend to form a "hat" on the surface of the wine. Thanks to the pumping over, the must and the skins always remain well blended, extracting from the last ones the flavors and aromas that will characterize the wine.
- THE FINAL: After pumping over and alcoholic fermentation the must is now considered wine and is well separated from the skins.
Then the must is poured into a new tank while the remaining skins are pressed and left to decant further to deposit the solid residues.
- TRANSFERING: The wine is poured about once a week into the tank to eliminate the solid part that continues to decant and could ruin the wine itself.
Work in the vineyard
WE AVOID HERBICIDES AND OPT FOR NATURAL PROCESSES
The health of the vineyards is taken care of exclusively by Giacomo, Luca, and Piero. All the works concerning the "touching" of the vine are carried out strictly by them.
WHY DON'T WE USE HERBICIDES?
Well...it's not new that herbicides are harmful to people's health. But what we want to ensure is the health of the soil! Wild herbs are very important for the nourishment of the soil and its ecosystem; if we permanently eliminate them, the rest of the ecosystem also suffers from them, risking the health of the entire vegetation..
"Those who work the land have a great responsibility: to leave a clean and healthy world, to those who will come in the future. It's his right and duty."
To facilitate conservation and fertility, after harvesting, the rows are milled and fertilized, fundamental for obtaining quality grapes and keeping the vines in a good vegetative-productive balance.
In winter, the vines rest. From December to March pruning is carried out leaving only one branch, which will be the father of the grapes that will be born in the current year.
In spring, the new buds are finally born!
The preserved branches are tied to the iron wires so that they are directed horizontally.
In April we start with green pruning, i.e. we remove all the shoots on the old wood, as these do not produce grapes but burn a lot of energy to the plant.
These steps are essential to make the young shoots straight and well spaced from each other.
To do this we also use those white threads that can be seen on the vines during this period.
Finally, we proceed with the breakout to contain the growth of vegetation.
Between May and August, phytosanitary treatments are carried out and the pruning continues where necessary.
At the end of July, we begin to thin out the bunches that are in excess or greener.
This serves to give more nourishment to the remaining bunches.
The old vineyards are not accessible for mechanization, so all work is done by hand.
We do not use herbicides between the rows is the shredding, while between the vines we use the brushcutter by hand.
Now everything is ready for the harvesting of the fruit!
The harvest begins in mid-September with the white grapes and ends at the end of October with the harvest of the last Nebbiolo.
"I remember well the 2004 harvest, in which the last grapes were harvested and pressed on November 1 and probably that fog that there was, well suited to Nebbiolo grapes."