Castello Di Cigognola is a historic estate of Lombardy, specialising in traditional grapes that flourish on the 45th parallel.
Situated along a geographical line ideal for vine growing, which connects great wine regions such as Bordeaux and Piedmont (the 45th parallel), you'll find this family-run winery, focusessing on four key grapes that are known to thrive in this “privileged zone”.
The mission at the Castello di Cigognola estate is to “create excellence” and showcase the potential of the Oltrepò Pavese region of Lombardy.
Named for its historic castle, built in the Middle Ages and inaugurated in 1212 (dodici dodici in Italian – the name of its award-winning Barbera wine) the winery of Gian Marco and Letizia Moratti work with a team of experts including famous oenologist Riccardo Cotarella to craft wines that truly express the land, which they believe is “an expression of the culture of its inhabitants”.
In the vineyards:
- They plant international grapes, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as local grapes, Barbera and Nebbiolo, creating a portfolio that features powerful reds as well as elegant sparkling.
- The estate is proud of its low environmental impact and focuses on agricultural programmes designed to nurture the land.
- The planting is carefully calculated to ensure each bunch reaches “full maturity exploiting maximum nutrition from the plant”.
- The vineyards have a cycle of three years before being grassed over to give the soil time to recover its potential.
- The positive result of this attention to the land can be found in Castello di Cigognola’s superb wines.
In a land once known as Old Piedmont, surrounded by Renaissance and neo Gothic architecture, this winery is a reminder that “the aura of history lingers for centuries”.
The Castello di Cigognola team present wines that appeal to modern tastes and yet “tradition is all around ... [from] the castle ... [to] the vine cultivation methods, ... vinification and ageing”.
The Bubbles ...
* The white 'MORE is now in very limited supply until the end of the year, so if you miss it then get your hands on the 'MORE ROSE as quick as you can. These are both light, fragrant, refreshing styles of sparkling that follow the typical winemaking style of Oltrepò Pavese, so this is perfect for lovers of Trento DOC or Franciacorta (or international 'Champagne style' bubbles - like those from English vineyards).
The Reds ...
If you don't know the Barbera grape yet, you're in for a treat. This popular vine flourishes in northern Italy, making wines loved for their soft tannins and high acidity (great for food pairing). The fruit notes are usually red and the rich, juicy palate means you can enjoy most Barbera wines with or without food, from the start of the evening all the way through to the cheese course!
* Their DODICI DODICI is a quaffable red and a great introduction to Barbera of Lombardy.
* In comparison, their full-body LA MAGA (only 15 bottles left) offers a richer expression of Barbera. Look for cherry, plum and some spicy notes.
Last, but most certainly not least ... meet PER PAPA. :) This wine has a great story, makes a lovely gift bottle and is an absolute pleasure to drink!!
"What makes this wine so special", I hear you ask! Well ... just like sparkling wine deserving of attention despite being less famous than Champagne, it's important to look beyond Barolo for the noble grape Nebbiolo.
This indigenous vine has been grown in Pavia (the province that Cigognola calls home) for centuries and offers a different interpretation (arguably a fruitier style) compared to those of Piedmont, especially Langhe.
* PER PAPA 2012 was the first vintage release from Castello Di Cigognola. It was dedicated to Angelo Moratti, who had dreamt of putting a Lombardy Nebbiolo on the map! He was inspired after looking through the castle's old paperwork, where he found 15th century records specifically referencing Nebbiolo vines. He became passionate about creating a Nebbiolo wine worthy of the castle's long history of viticulture and viniculture. Sadly, Angelo passed away before the launch of 'his' wine, so it was dedicated to him ("for father") and uses angels in the label design (taken from the castle's beautiful paintings) to echo his name.
Still not sure which wine to try next?
Don't hesitate to contact me for personal recommendations and advice.