Monferrato’s resurgence in wine

Today, when most people think of the best wine areas in the Piedmont region, their thoughts are centered on the Langhe and Roero valleys and the Colli Tortonesi area. However, it was not always like this in the past. Long before the emergence of wine centers like Asti, Alba, Dogliani or Monforte, the area around Casale Monferrato was the acknowledged leader in the Piedmont wine industry. The legislation that resulted in the creation of the Italian wine laws including DOC and DOCG was introduced by the parliamentary representative from Monferrato in 1963.

While other areas of Piedmont thrived with the recognition of Nebbiolo grape products Barolo and Barbaresco as well as other excellent red and white wines, Monferrato did not share in the success and fell behind. However, one new winery in the Monferrato area, Hic et Nunc, has set its sights on changing this and adding Monferrato to the list of successes in Piedmont.

Hic et Nunc's Stefano Gervasoni at the tasting. PHOTO: TERRY DUARTE.

Hic et Nunc’s Stefano Gervasoni at the tasting. PHOTO: TERRY DUARTE.

Earlier this year, I wrote about some excellent Barbera wines that had been sent to me by Hic et Nunc during the Covid virus restrictions. My wife and I were finally able to travel to Italy in late summer and visited the beautiful winery and wine resort. General Manager Stefano Gervasoni hosted us and provided a wealth of background on the area as well as the winery. Signor Gervasoni is passionate about the need for the Monferrato area to return to a position of greater respect in the Piedmont wine industry. Though the area produces some excellent Barberas and other wines, he believes that the route to greater recognition is through the emphasis on the area’s most recognized grape, Grignolino. Let’s see how the tasting went.

Our first wine was a 2017 Pandemonio Spumante Brut Rosé, a 100% Barbera, 12.5% alcohol sparkling offering. With 9 months fermentation and produced by the Charmat method, the Pandemonio had a very light fruit nose and a pale pink color. It finished medium and was one of the best sparkling wines I have tasted. I rated this wine a 92.

Next we tried a 2020 Monolite DOC Piemonte Cortese, a 100% Cortese grape, 13.5% alcohol wine. The Monolite had a very intense fruit and flowers nose and was pale yellow in color. It was a late harvest, softly pressed offering that was aged 6 months in stainless steel with 10% in barriques for 3-4 months. It finished medium long and exceptionally smooth with nice minerality. My wife loved this and I rated it a 92/93 as one of the best Corteses I have tasted.

Moving to dry reds, we tried a 2018 Mondano DOC Dolcetto, a 100% Dolcetto grape, 13% alcohol wine. Aged in stainless steel for 10 months, the Mondano had a very light but complex nose and was garnet in color. It finished medium long and smooth and I rated it a 90/91.

The last wine was a 2018 AltroMondo Piemonte DOC Grignolino, a 100% Grignolino grape, 14% alcohol offering. The AltroMondo was light red in color with a nice fruit nose. It was aged for 6 months in stainless steel with no wood involved. The AltoMondo finished medium light, long and very smooth. It was tannic, aromatic and very fresh. I rated this superb, elegant medium red wine a 93 and perhaps Signor Gervasoni is correct in his hope for resurgence.

Hic et Nunc workers taking a break. PHOTO: TERRY DUARTE.

Hic et Nunc workers taking a break. PHOTO: TERRY DUARTE.

My thanks to Hic et Nunc owner Massimo Rosolen and Stefano Gervasoni for providing the opportunity to visit Hic et Nunc and hear the future they propose. The winery is ultra modern and the wine resort is beautiful with stunning views. If you are in the area, Hic et Nunc and the wine resort are well worth a visit.

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