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Details for Castello di Neive, Piemonte Grignolino


CountryItaly
Region
AppellationPiemonte Grignolino
Grape
Year2014
Producer
Castello di Neive
(click to find out more)
ABV12.5%


Piemonte

Famed for its food as well as its wine, Piemonte (‘Piedmont’ in English) occupies the north-west corner of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland.  The name means “foot of the mountains” and the mountains in question are the Alps, which surround it on three sides and can be seen as an arc on the horizon from much of the region.

Torino (Turin) is the political capital, but it lies on a flat plain.  The vinous capitals are Alba and Asti, situated on rolling, vine-covered hills further southeast.

This is definitely red wine country, reflecting the richness of the local cuisine.  The grape Nebbiolo is king here, producing hauntingly perfumed, fearsomely tannic wine that ages for decades.  Great Barolos and Barbarescos are some of the longest-lived wines in the world.  Other notable reds are made from Barbera and Dolcetto, with Grignolino, Freisa and Brachetto producing lighter reds for mainly local consumption.  All of these are indigenous to Piemonte.

While still dry whites are quite rare, sweet sparkling ones are common: this is the home of Asti (formerly Asti Spumante) and its delightful cousin, the sweeter, less frothy, low-alcohol Moscato d'Asti.

Dry whites are represented by Gavi (from the Cortese grape) and the fragrant Roero Arneis.  Arneis almost went extinct in the 1970s but has made a remarkable comeback.  Also of note is the rarely-exported Favorita, which has recently been shown (to Piemontese horror) not to be local at all: DNA analysis has determined that it’s identical to the Vermentino of Sardinia.


Castello di Neive

Neive is a medieval hilltop village in the Barbaresco region of Piemonte, dominated by the historic Castello di Neive which was completed in 1753 on foundations dating back five centuries earlier.  The castle and the surrounding 150 acre estate are owned by the Stupino family, siblings Anna, Giulio, Italo, and Piera.
 
Their father, Giacomo Stupino, was a land surveyor and used his extensive knowledge of the area to buy fine vineyards and farmland around Neive, where his family had lived for centuries.  In 1964 this culminated in the purchase of the Castello di Neive and its estate, which included the now-legendary Santo Stefano vineyard.
 
Despite owning some of the finest vineyards in Barbaresco, it wasn’t until after the death of Giacomo in 1970 that Giulio and Italo began to bottle their own wine and sell it under the Castello di Neive name.  They still supply fruit from Santo Stefano to Bruno Giacosa, from which he produces what many consider to be Italy’s greatest red.
 
The castle’s spacious cellars are the birthplace of Barolo and Barbaresco as we know it today.  In the mid-19th century French oenologist and wine trader Louis Oudart served as consultant to the castle’s owner, the Count of Castelborgo.  He created the first dry red from Nebbiolo that was designed to be aged, calling it Neive.  It won a gold medal in London in 1857, and soon the style spread throughout Piemonte.
 
Following in that tradition of innovation, Castello di Neive played a vital role in reviving the white Arneis grape.  By the 1970s this disease-prone and low-yielding variety was almost extinct; only two producers still used it.  In collaberation with oenologists from Turin University, Italo began a clonal selection programme in 1976 to identify healthier and more productive strains.  Arneis bounced back, and is today the most highly-regarded Piemontese white.
 

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