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Alta Langa: a conscious appellation

“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor.”

H.D. Thoreau

From traditional sparkling wine to alta langa docg

The first “Sparkling Metodo Classico or Champenoise”, was employed in Italy in Piemonte in 1865 applying the Traditional Method or Champenoise. The winemaker Enrico Serafino started its own production in 1878.  For this purpose he designed and built the original underground cellars as used today for the Alta Langa docg. The absence on light and the constant natural temperature are the perfect conditions for the ageing of the sparkling wines besides creating a magical atmosphere for the ones who work at the winery or for visitors.

The projet traditional method

In 1990, the Consorzio of Case Storiche Piemontesi gave birth to a unique project called “Progetto Metodo Tradizionale” with the goal to find the best plots of land for planting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Piedmont.

The research has represented a unique case in the Italian wine Appellations Panorama. These, in fact, normally approve a pre-existing situation. For example, Barolo wine was produced for many decades when the Barolo Docg appellation was created. Furthermore, only afterwards it was defined the most suitable parcels for Barolo, the Crus, which complete the quality path of this wine.

The Alta Langa’s background is different: because the vines that needed to be planted were all new in this land, researchers had to think in a different and reverse way. They started by selecting the most important parcels, then expanding, to the other areas similar to them.

a small great area

One of the most unique effects of this “reverse genesis” which, starting from the individual parcels, proceeds towards the municipal and counties, is that the Alta Langa docg seems very extensive but in reality, it is a small great appellation.

The municipalities included in the specification are 149 but the authorized vineyards are only and exclusively 350 hectares. To make an all-Piedmont comparison, remember that the Barolo docg includes only 11 municipalities but with over 2,000 hectares of vineyards.

Thanks to this project, the attention for the “Territory of origin” was finally added in an important way to the historical attention for the “Method”. After twelve years of trial the Alta Langa doc was finally born.

A complex geology

The geological setting of Piemonte ideally encompasses a quite complete section of the Earth’s crust. In fact, it ranges from deep lithospheric mantle rocks to oceanic basalts, from the plutonic and volcanic continental rocks to the overlying carbonate and siliciclastic sedimentary covers.

One of the orographic features of Piemonte is the Langhe born from the continuous geodynamic process of the PaleoEuropean and the PaleoAdriatic margins. In the meantime, since the middle Eocene, some sedimentary basins developed, one of them is the Tertiary Piemonte BasinBTP, where we found the shell that represent Serafino logo.

A unique microclimate

The tectonic movements and the raising of the seabed, a true distinctive feature of the region, have created a soil rich in limestone and clay. Thanks to the altitude up to 900 meters, the microclimate is cool in summer and rigid in winter.

This combination of elements on the one hand decreases the fertility of the vineyards and on the other increases and strengthens the complexity of the wines which is expressed above all after a long ageing in the bottle in contact with its own yeasts.

With these characteristics, Enrico Serafino has chosen to produce only Alta Langa DOCG sparkling wines.

A long term commitment

The field testing started with the choice of the best lands, the most motivated growers and the best quality clones and as an experiment the first 50 hectares of Pinot Noir have been planted.

Enrico Serafino proudly control more than 25% of these precious vineyards from Alta Langa experiment area.

The result is the very selective Alta Langa Docg, with incomparable rules.

The rules of excellence

The strict rules touching the altitude of the vineyards, at least 250 meters a.s.l., the mandatory vintage, as well as the time of fermentation in bottle “on the yeasts”, 30 months minimum.

The winery is currently the most awarded producer in the appellation. This reputation comes from the controlled vineyards, the deep artisan’s expertise in the appellation, the available reserve wines, the choice to avoid spirits in the Liqueur d’expédition and the long fermentation of the wines in bottle.

Officina Zero 140