Antoniolo is one of the great names of Gattinara, it is now run by the third generation of this highly respected family, Alberto and his sister, Lorella. The land was purchased by their Grandfather who had the foresight to acquire some excellent plots in a time when Gattinara was far from the emerging star that it is now.
The strength of Gattinara is built on Nebbiolo and the area’s unique soils and climate. The region claims bragging rights that they were the first to make a great Nebbiolo, and Barolo was the follower. Whilst this may be true, it is unimportant as the vine may be the same, but the wine, most certainly, is not.
In Gattinara both the acidity of the soil and the altitude (minimum of 250 metres) are high. The high acidity in the soils puts a natural brake on the vine’s vigour, the same vine if left unchecked would yield twice the crop in the Langhe. Gattinara’s best Nebbioli have a fineness and purity that is rarely matched, these are world class wines that stand comfortably alongside those of Barolo.
Alberto is a meticulous winemaker, his cellar is immaculate (to the point of being over-obsessive) and whilst a modest, introvert man, he has total, unbending control over his domain. He would far rather be in the vineyards or the cellar than out in public representing the family business and, luckily for him, he has a sister like Lorella who is charming and energetic; she has just stepped down from ten years of chairing the Consorzio of Gattinara producers.
The ethos of this estate is minimum intervention: old vines are treated with great respect and new plantings have been made with precision and great care. In the winery, spontaneous fermentation in cement tank is the norm, whilst wine ageing takes place in botti: a practice that is perhaps best described as ‘enlightened traditional' winemaking.