Dec 07: After a 10-year process, which began in 2009 with the achievement of the DOC, from October 2020, Terre Alfieri in Piedmont (Piemonte) under the tutelage of Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato in Costigliole d'Asti achieved the DOCG status officially in October this year, joining the elite company of the likes of DOCG Barolo, DOCG Barbaresco DOCG Barbera d’Asti, reports Subhash Arora
When you think of DOCG wines in Piemonte, the first two appellations that come to mind are Barolo and Barbaresco- made from Nebbiolo grapes and then comes Barbera- a late arrival with 3 DOCGs- Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Monferrato Superiore and Nizza. The latter comes under the purview of Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato in Costigliole d'Asti. Now another DOC-Terre Alfieri under the purview of the same Consorzio has been elevated to a DOCG status in October, 2020. This is significant because the red Terre Alfieri DOCG is made from Nebbiolo-the same grape as used in Barolo and Barbaresco. The white Terre Alfieri DOCG is made from Arneis grapes. There is already a DOCG Roero which is made exclusively from Arneis grapes.
The production area consisting of 11 municipalities, 7 of which are in the province of Asti: (Antignano, Celle Enomondo, Cisterna d’Asti, Revigliasco, San Damiano, San Martino Alfieri, Tigliole in the province of Asti) and 4 in the province of Cuneo (Castellinaldo, Govone, Magliano Alfieri and Priocca) are allowed to produce both red and white DOCG wines- from Nebbiolo grapes (same grape used in Barolo and Barbaresco) and Arneis respectively.
Terre Alfieri Arneis, can claim the Superiore category after six months of aging. The red Terre Alfieri Nebbiolo, must undergo 12 months of aging, of which at least 6 must be in in wooden barrels for the Superiore denomination. To qualify as Riserva it must undergo 24 months of aging of which at least 12 are to be in wooden barrels.
The denomination, named after the poet and playwright from Asti Vittorio Alfieri, lived between the 18th and 19th century, represents an oenological niche of great importance. It expresses the history and lifestyle of an ancient territory, marked by precise morphological and ampelographic uniqueness, including the steep hills characterized by the presence of the so-called Asti sands, soils made up of marine sedimentary deposits from the Pliocene era.
Terre Alfieri joins Barbera d'Asti, Nizza and Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato, bringing to 4 the number of DOCGs protected by the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato which welcome its first white wine now and its first Nebbiolo-based wine with controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin.
Since the launch of DOCG, Terre Alfieri can be found on the market even in 2020 since the mandatory minimum aging period of four months for Terre Alfieri Arneis has been eliminated and retroactivity is in force for those wines that are still in the cellar and that have observed the production criteria necessary to obtain the Superiore or Riserva type (Terre Alfieri Nebbiolo).
‘This is a result that not only enriches the range of our DOCGs, but also our entire wine scene’. says Filippo Mobrici, President of the Consorzio Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato. We hope that Terre Alfieri can have the same success of the other denominations of controlled and guaranteed origin such as Barbera d’Asti, Nizza and Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato. The producers deserve a particular acclaim, determined as they are to achieve this goal,’ continues Mobrici, ‘But this is just the beginning, now it is necessary to work to ensure that the value of a DOCG is concretely supported’
TERRE ALFIERI ARNEIS
Arneis from 85 to 100 %; other non-aromatic suitable white grape varieties up to 15%. A maximum of 100 quintals corresponding to a maximum of 70 hL/hA yield is permitted. Superiore (6 months of aging)
TERRE ALFIERI NEBBIOLO
Nebbiolo from 85 to 100%; other non-aromatic black grape varieties suitable up to 15%. The remainder may be made up of any variety of the respective colour permitted within Piedmont. A maximum of 85 quintals corresponding to a maximum of 59 hL/hA are allowed. Superiore (12 months of aging, of which at least 6 in wooden barrels) Riserva (24 months of aging, of which at least 12 in wooden barrels).
The variety on the label must account for at least 85 percent of the contents. The remainder may be made up of any variety of the respective colour which is permitted within Piedmont.
The vineyard area from which Terri Alfieri wines are made spreads over the boundary between the Asti and Cuneo provinces in southern Piedmont. It lies between Asti and Alba and west of the Tanaro river. This location means it overlaps significantly with the Roero and Nebbiolo d’Alba viticultural zones, as well as a western portion of that of Barbera d’Alba. Within this zone the qualifying vineyards are at altitudes between 130 and 350 meters.
This is one of the newest additions to Piedmont's already impressive array of DOC and DOCG titles. It was created in September 2009 as DOC wine and revised unusually promptly, five weeks later.
Given that winemakers in the zone have several other appellations as options, it is not surprising that Terre Alfieri remains small in size; 41 hectares (101 acres) of vineyards were associated with the DOC in 2017. The area is known more for white grapes with Arneis grown 2/3rd with Nebbiolo being 1/3rd.
Although the wine is likely to find few takers in India, those who love the Nebbiolo grapes would find it a cheaper substitute for the more expensive Barolo and Barbaresco wines.
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