Achille Milanesio

Carema, Piemonte

Carema is unique amongst the great northern Nebbiolo villages, the vineyards were literally dragged up the mountain, morainic soils from the valley floor are restrained by steep, high, dry stone terraces on which pergolas, known locally as topia, are built from granite and wood. The Romans first terraced these hills to encourage the population of this strategic valley to dissuade a Gaulish malice. Today, the creation of these terraces would be considered lunacy, and maintaining these hillside vineyards requires belligerent skills that have been passed down through the generations.
For the Milanesio family, wine is for drinking, a reward that made working the terraces bearable. The idea of making wine commercially only really started in 1984 when the local cooperative (Produttore del Carema) started making wine for its members. Then, Achille and his father were bottling the Runc for family and friends, the need to register their vineyard had not really occurred to them and this is why there are just 387 bottles of Carema made and 1500 of unclassified Arsin. Sadly, not enough wine for Achille to give up his day job.
The cantina is the cellar of a farmhouse built in 1530, a single vaulted room lined with small steel fermentation vats and a few barrels; tasting is on a precarious plastic table. There is nothing pretentious about this estate, the vineyards are beautifully kept and the winemaking thoughtful and expressive.