Very important steps have happened just recently. 2017 was the first official vintage of Nicola’s own wines, and 2018 included the completion of his own small cellar.
Beyond the property that his parents planted, he takes a hectare of fruit from his cousin and rents a few other small sites (2800 meter x 5500 meter plots, very small). If he’s lucky, there are three hectares in total. The challenge here in Valle D’Aosta is piecing enough property together, as often times you own 5 rows, your neighbor the next five, and maybe his cousin the next.
Saint Pierre, where the winery is located, is just west of Aosta on the way to Mont Blanc. It is here where Torrette wines are produced, which are made of mostly Petite Rouge. In Saint Pierre, you have vineyards literally built in the rock, which helps warm up these vineyards. Because of that added heat, you have surprising maturity on the vine, crucial for Nicola to attain surprising structure in his wines within such a cool climate.
Nicola has a technical expertise that I truly admire, and he has clear ideas of what he wants to do with his wines. Most of the work is done in the vineyard, and it’s all blessed by the incredible climate in Valle D’Aosta. There is very little rain in the mountains, so he hardly has to spray copper and sulfur in the vineyards, and he allows his vineyard to grow wild. He is careful with the use of copper, as he believes it could leave traces in the soil, so he tries to use it sparingly.
As of 2018, given that the cellar is ready, Nicola will begin to introduce some oak to his wines, but as of now the wines see only stainless steel. He wants his wines to see plenty of time on the fine lees, with battonage every 15 days, as he feels that if you’ve worked well in the vineyard then you have wonderful, terroir driven lees.