It is known to be a region of wines and hazelnuts. In addition to the famous Barolo and Barbaresco appellations, a small village of 500 souls, located in the north-western Monferrato near Turin, is home to one of Italy's 341 DOC wines, the Albugnano DOC, named after the village of the same name. Discover this denomination and the indigenous Piedmontese grape varieties thanks to the 'Alle tre colline' farm.
|Albugnano DOC and one of its 2022 producers: Alle Tre Colline. Lineup of the winery's red wines|
The Albugnano DOC denomination and the Albugnano 549 Association
The denomination that embraces four municipalities in the Asti area (Albugnano, Pino d'Asti, Castelnuovo Don Bosco and Passerano-Marmorito) features the Piedmontese grape variety par excellence, namely Nebbiolo.
The hills rising above 400 m a.s.l. and the presence of woods help to cool the climate, making it suitable for growing Nebbiolo on this marly soil. As early as the 14th century, Pier De Crescenzi praised this area and this vine: 'This Nubiola grape is much praised in the city of Asti and in those parts' and in that same century the name of the vine appeared in the land registers of Chieri, a town not far from Albugnano.
The reality, unfortunately, is that this denomination, despite the ideal climatic, territorial and historical conditions for this vine, appears to most people to be unknown.
|Albugnano, Piemonte Cantine Le tre Colline Albarossa bottiglia e calice|
The desire of the local winegrowers is to succeed in affirming this 44-hectare appellation area in the winegrowing world, which is why in 2017 the 549 association was founded, whose name refers to the highest point in the municipality of Albugnano, namely 549 metres above sea level.The 'Alle Tre Colline' farm
One of the 14 producers who is active in this territorial revaluation is Franco Carossa, owner of the Alle Tre Colline winery, located in Albugnano. The name of the winery evokes the fact that this village stretches over three hills, the three hills that Cristina, Franco's wife, used to see when she returned home from Chieri.
Carossa family, history, Piedmont, Albugnano
Although the history of the Carossa family has its roots in winemaking as far back as the early 1800s, it was in 1999 that Franco Carossa decided to take the plunge and start selling not only bulk wine, but also wines bottled directly by them.
|I Vini di Alle Tre Colline Albugnano, Piemonte|
Today, the company has a total of 35 hectares, of which 12 hectares are hazelnut groves and 13 are vineyards, planted mainly with native Piedmontese vines such as freisa, barbera, grignolino, albarossa and, of course, nebbiolo.
The only international grape variety present is chardonnay, Franco's love in white, which is vinified according to three processes: 'Chardonnay' (vinification in steel and maturation in wood), 'An costi' (fermentation in wood with subsequent maturation of 12 months in contact with the noble lees) and 'C'ha bugia', new for 2022, sparkling using the classic method with 24 months on the lees.
Let's start with the most international of all 'An Costi' Piemonte Doc Chardonnay 2020
|Piemonte doc chardonnay An Costi Albugnano Alle Tre Colline|
The fermentation that takes place in barriques and the subsequent resting on the lees in the same barriques for 12 months give this wine a varied bouquet that embraces exotic fruits such as banana, pineapple, grapefruit, citron, yellow flowers, light aromatic herbs and vanilla. The impact in the mouth offers a perceptible caloric sensation and a decisive savouriness. It closes with a slightly almondy finish.
And now let's dive into the world of native grape varieties: barbera, albarossa and nebbiolo turn the spotlight on you!
Barbera d'Asti DOCG 2020
The goblet is embellished with a lively ruby red. The freshness of red fruit ranging from raspberry, wild strawberries and cherry, the citrus note of blood orange with an echo of rose and myrtle offer a clean nose typical of this grape variety. Outspoken acidity that backs up the important caloric impact with elegant tannins. Long finish with fruity hints.
Piedmont DOC Albarossa 2019
|Albarossa DOC, Albugnano Piemonte Alle Tre Colline|
Before tackling the tasting, two notes on this relatively young vine. It was born in 1938 from a cross between Nebbiolo and Barbera at the behest of Prof. Giovanni Dalmasso in order to combine quality and productivity. It was only later in the 1960s/70s that ampelographic studies identified not so much Nebbiolo as Chatus (Nebbiolo di Dronero) as the progenitor, together with Barbera.
Lively carmine red. Don't let yourself be enchanted by the delicate notes of wild strawberries, blackberry, rose and the light bitter finish of rhubarb and liquorice root with echoes of powder, tobacco and coffee, because it enters the mouth with overbearing power with a significant alcoholic content and tannin that still requires some bottle ageing. We would be curious to try some older vintages.
Albugnano Doc 2020 (100% Nebbiolo)
Elegant, lively carmine colour that offers hints of wild strawberries, raspberry, pomegranate with notes of rose and violet. In the closing reflexes of black pepper. Interesting impact on the palate where freshness and tannicity support each other giving us a long, almost chocolatey finish.
Albugnano Doc Superiore "Va'Anait" 2018 (100% nebbiolo)
|Albugnano doc Superiore 549 Va’Anait Alle Tre Colline, Piemonte|
It is necessary to say a few words about the name that characterises this label as it recalls the words that grandmother Orsolina, at harvest time, addressed to Franco's children, telling them 'Va' Anait' (lit. 'Get a move on', 'go ahead') because instead of picking grapes, they were thinking of playing between the rows. This bottle is part of the production line of the Albugnano 549 association, so much so that it is bottled in an albeisa on which the name 'Albugnano 549' is stamped.
Carmine in colour with orange reflections. The nose tells us of unripe and jammy cherries, raspberry jam, dried orange. Mentholated balsamic hints and hints of pot pourri and leather elegantly complete the olfactory picture. Decisive freshness and silky tannin characterise the drink, while offering a persistent finish.
This trip to Albugnano allowed us to gather a new identity of Nebbiolo, which in a chameleon-like manner knows how to draw from each area its own peculiarity, so it remains for us to further deepen our knowledge of this reality!
By Elsa Leandri
|Elsa Leandri author of the article: Piedmont, Albugnano DOC and one of its producers 2022: Alle Tre Colline, is a sommelier, blogger and wine expert|
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