Massimo Clerico

Lessona, Piemonte

The Clerico family have worked the land in Lessona since the 1700’s and when the Lessona DOC was created in 1976. Sandrino, (Massimo’s father) was one of one three producers bottling wine at that time. There has been some growth in Lessona, which is modest when considering the extraordinary quality of the wines. With just 2.5 hectares Massimo is the third largest landholder.

Massimo knows every detail of his land which, with the help of one worker, he has cultivated since taking over from his father in 2003. He is a thoughtful winemaker and watchful guardian of the land. His winemaking style stands aside from prevailing fashions, he used inoculated yeasts because he likes the results and his total production is usually under 5000 bottles. There is no room for error, nature throws enough cogs in the machine in extreme winemaking areas like this. Young Nebbiolo vines are used for the Spanna; the Ca’ du Leria combines younger Nebbiolo with some ancient Croatina. Of the two Lessona wines, the Riserva is the elemental heartbeat of the estate. All are made with long extractions and aged in large barrels.

The vineyard is divided into 4 plots: Vigna Leria is below the house and cellar, a steep slope with deep marine sands, the drainage is excellent and the PH unusually low. This is planted with Nebbiolo, Croatina and Vespolina, with vines from the original 1920 planting still in production; Gaja is just below the parish church, the altitude and soils are similar, it is exclusively Nebbiolo that was planted in the 1970’s and some in 2010. This was the very first vineyard to be registered when the Lessona DOC was created; the Putin vineyard is made up of Nebbiolo that was planted in 1984; Gorena was reclaimed from unmanaged woodland that over-ran so much of the area. Planted in 2008, the vines are now reaching maturity and the fruit is excellent.