Weekend con gusto WINE WEEKEND

Weekend alla scoperta dei vini del Monferrato Astigiano


Discovering Montalbera wines and the enchantment of Monferrato Astigiano (Piedmont, Italy)

Text and Photos © Cesare Zucca
(italian and english version)

Welcome to the western part of the province of Asti, between the Tanaro river and the steep Moscato hills, characterized by a predominantly hilly landscape, enriched by historic villages including Moncalvo, Grazzano Badoglio, Montemagno, Vignale, many small pearls in a sea of hills and wine-growing landscapes which have become a UNESCO world heritage site, featuring places of art such as Palazzo Alfieri, the Risorgimento Museum, Palazzo Mazzetti.

In Castagnole Monferrato (Asti) in Piedmont, Italy, we discovered the Montalbera farm, a suggestive structure which, in addition to the production of excellent wines, offers a showroom for wine tastings, relaxation rooms, yoga sessions in the barrel room, swimming pool and jacuzzi overlooking the vineyards.

All around triumphs a true amphitheater of vineyards where many varieties of wines are born (Barbera d’Asti, Grignolino, Viognier, Monferrato Nebbiolo) and “last but not least” the Ruchè docg, a red produced from an indigenous vine, reborn thanks to the research of Franco Morando whose the most selected particles such as Ruché LACCENTO and Ruché LIMPRESA are processed 12 months of wood to obtain the Docg.i.

Here is an extremely elegant, silky, warm wine on the palate, with a great balance that reflects the international taste of the modern taster and attentive to innovative pleasures, matured in steel tanks and subsequently bottled positioned horizontally at a controlled temperature, Ruchè is a wine with an unmistakable character with a bright garnet red colour, pleasant floral hints of rose and violet, fruity notes of apricot and the spiciness that emerges with evolution making it immediately recognizable in the glass

Today Ruchè is known and appreciated on national and international tables for its unique and fascinating characteristics which originate from that extraordinary terroir that is Monferrato.
Oggi il Ruchè è conosciuto e apprezzato sulle tavole nazionali ed internazionali per le sue caratteristiche uniche ed affascinanti che hanno origine da quello straordinario terroir che è il Monferrato.

“For Monferrato, Ruché is a dream, a wonder, it represents the possibility of emerging for the entire territory” says CEO Franco Morando, who, for the first time, wanted to apply the technique and study of the night harvest, which the company had already carried out on white wines for several years


Franco Morando

Tasting the Barbera d’Asti Superiore, we realize that we are in a universe of excellency.
Among the Montalbera ruchès, LA TRADIZIONE, LACCENTO and LIMPRONTA stand out. Tasting the Barbera d’Asti Superire, we realize that we are in a universe of warm wines  , pleasant and of rare silkiness with an intense, persistent aroma with hints of rose petals and wild berries in jam. uby bone tending towards garnet, Intense, persistent with tending aromatic memories and typical hints of berries, which evolve into oriental spices and black pepper.

What about sparkling ?
Discover the Extra Dry, Cuvée Rosé and the Cuvée Blanche Metodo Martinotti, while the120+1 stands out, as a true Piedmontese champagne. A project embraced by the oenologist Luca Caramellino and concluded by Morando. “The first bottle uncorked will have to rest for 40 days, then my young sample will be presented in Paris, France. Because our 120+1 is in all respects a ‘champagne’.

For those who want to spend a dream night, perhaps after a tour of the cellar and a rich tasting of Montalbera wines accompanied by the delights of the gastronomic excellence of the area… well, just around the corner you can stay in one of the Wine Suites, four independent accommodations where hospitality, service, privacy, relaxation, comfort and a breathtaking view are guaranteed… You will be given the keys, just as if you were at home: confidentiality and exquisite hospitality make your stay unforgettable.

The different types of Suites are characterized by elegant simplicity and furnishings that recall the typical “Tropeziana” tradition with furnishings and design elements that blend well with the surrounding natural context, always respecting the historicity of the terroir.

Montalbera, attentive to sustainability, including social sustainability, has changed the working hours of the 22 workers in the countryside, which become more than 90 during the harvest, moving them to less hot and muggy moments of the day, in the morning from 6am while the evening harvest begins in the late afternoon.

The historic Mazzetti d’Altavilla Monferrato Distillery has been producing grappa since 1846, taking care of its distillation, carried out with a heat source that creates the evaporation of the volatile parts of a substance at a precise temperature and the recondensation of the vapor into liquid. Once through the entrance door, the visitor can immerse himself in a concentration of history, legend, nature and even art, perfumes and aromas.
Its Panoramic Tower with the route up to the top peppered with stories and curiosities, offers a 360° view of the hilly and Alpine arc while the Distillery and the Barrique cellar welcome visitors.
In a land of “ruchè” Grappa 7.0 could not be missing, which in just three years has managed to make inroads into the palate of the new generation. With zero environmental impact of the production plants, the use of renewable energy sources and modern packaging that winks at tradition, the 7.0 is the glamorous backdrop to an elite distillate that expresses the aromas for a curious and demanding generation .

In addition to ruchè you will find countless wine grappas: Moscato, Barolo, Brachetto, Barbaresco or persuasive coffee flavours. blueberry, strawberry. lemon and many other carefully selected fruits, harvested fresh in season, to be able to give all its best.

Do you want to surprise your guests?
Grand finale table with the very nice “Spirit Sugars”, perfect after-meal flambés which, alongside traditional flavours, offer new intriguing flavours, such as absinthe, ginger with orange and coffee, rose hips, liquorice and mint…
Light them and decorate your dish with taste and amazement. Guaranteed success!

We continue our wine journey to arrive in Vignale Monferrato, where (it is appropriate to say) stands the futuristic entrance of the Hic et Nunc winery, a visionary, contemporary, experiential project, led by Massimo Rosolen and Valentina Pascarella and a young team , accompanied and guided by professionals in the sector.

You can visit the vineyards, the cellar, taste their wines combined with the flavors of the area, go shopping in the wine shop. A true full immersion for those who want to delve deeper into the more oenological aspects and for those who want to combine the experience with an overnight stay in one of the seven welcoming rooms and perhaps a dip in the pool.
A “transparent” place where the large windows overlooking the vineyards allow guests to glimpse the outside and inside of the wine production, following the entire winemaking process.

Among the wines of Hic et Nunc, I would like to mention Mète, a brut rosé with beautiful acidity, perfect with delicate cheeses and Monbullae, a quality sparkling wine, fresh and decisive, with delicate hints of rose petals that fade into honey and spices, ideal as aperitif and for seafood crudités.

From the Hic et Nunc winery: Mele on the left. on the right Monbullae

Massimo is a champion of innovation. but also of tradition. Among his “missions” is the recovery of baratuciat, a rare and ancient white grape variety that generates Felem, a fascinating wine, which stands out for its distinctive personality, well-defined structure and fruity and mineral character.
A true oenological jewel, where each bottle is carefully labeled and numbered by hand, and then delivered in an exclusive box.

Excellent wines for tasty local cuisine, where traditional “poor” dishes alternate with “gourmet” reinterpretations, from the classic Bonèt Monferrino to new interpretations and innovative recipes.
Curious to know more?
Next Thursday Weekend Premium will take you to the gastronomic paradise of Monferrato Astigiano

The tradizional Bonèt with ciocholate and amaretto. Next Thursday we wil tell you he originalrecipe!

Many thanks to Franco Morando, Eleonora, Veronica, Daniel and all the Montalbera Wines team!

CESARE ZUCCA Travel, food & lifestyle.
Milanese by birth, Cesare lives between New York, Milan and the rest of the world. For WEEKEND PREMIUM he photographs and writes about cities, cultures, lifestyles.art, entertainment. He likes to discover both traditional and innovative gastronomic delights. Cesare meets and interview top chefs from all over the world, ‘steals’ their recipes in a ”
non touristy tourist ” style