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, focussing 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 ...
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.
IN THE PRESS:
Italian speakers, click HERE to view a March 2020 story about this estate (or see rough translation below):
Cigognola, the future focuses on Nature
The tower of the Cigognola Castle dominates the entrance to the Scuro Passasso Valley. The year of construction is 1212, after the end of feudalism it housed a Renaissance court, while already at the beginning of the 19th century it became a place of wine production. Purchased in 1982 by Gian Marco and Letizia Moratti, today the project is followed by their son Gabriele, while the technical direction is entrusted to the director Gian Matteo Baldi and a large support team. Here, in this Valley where for the first time already in 1865 the Count Giorgi di Vistarino produced the first Classic Method, the future of the winery looks to a more pushed return towards the naturalness of fermentation processes and towards cleaning and ever higher genuineness of the labels produced: in Cigognola much work is being done on spontaneous fermentation, on a Barbera without sulphites, and on the goddess of an ancestral sparkling wine, with some particular projects and experiments that will come out in small runs to move the bar.
In total there are 36 hectares of property that surround the structure, of which 28 are vineyards, it could not be otherwise, it is the pinot noir that here in Oltrepò finds land particularly suited for production of excellent sparkling wine bases for the Classic Method. The vineyard is completed by hectares based on barbera and fog: in fact Piedmont is only a few kilometers away. The vineyards extend in a range between 250 and 350 meters above sea level, with important slopes. The climate is mitigated by good temperature variations between day and night, the soils alternate layers of clay and the presence of marl, the phenolic maturity of the grapes is perfect. After having focused strongly on Barbera wine for a few years, in recent years the project has undergone important reinterpretations, involving new figures linked to pinot noir in red, young local winemakers and professionals for a choral project that we want depart from the model of the classic single consultant from 'flying winemaker'.
Classic method and still reds
The production core are the four Pinot Noir cuvées elaborated under the Moratti hat, while the Castello di Cigognola brand is dedicated to still wines. The Classic Method foresees grapes harvested in boxes and a rest on the lees for at least 36 months. The entry product is the blanc de noirs Cuvée 'More Brut. Always basic, but without dosage, is the Cuvée 'More Pas Dosé. thinner and more delicate. In honor of Angelo Moratti, the Cuvée dell'Angelo Pas Dosé 2012: this is the first vintage produced and highlights a higher level in complexity and depth with its 72 months on the lees. Closes the catalog the Classic Method Rosé Millesimato. latest version 2013: a soft and elegant Brut in the finish that recalls notes of green tea.
Among the still wines, Barbera La Maga 2016 stands out, which ages for 12 months in barrique and the Per Papà 2013, a Nebbiolo from a vineyard of three hectares: an important red with a long finish.
1. The Castle on the hills overlooking the entrance to the Scuropasso Valley: its construction dates back to the 13th century. Here. in 1865, the first Classic Method also called "Italian champagne" was born.
2. A bottle from Castello di Cigognola: La Maga, a 100% Barbera that ages 12 months in barrique.