Mattia Antoniotti has joined his father Odilio at this historical 19th century cantina, back to 1860, that is tucked away in the northern Alto Piedmont village of Sostegno, in the 28-hectare region of Bramaterra among the pre-Alps. They now farm 6 hectares of Nebbiolo, Croatina, Vespolina and Uva Rara vines, the fruit of which Odilio first bottled in 1970 (prior to which Odilio was selling grissini and pharmaceuticals!). The Bramaterra DOC rules that there must be a maximum of 80% Nebbiolo in Bramaterra, and Mattia believes that the addition of the other grape varieties gives a more balanced wine, and a truer expression of origin. The Bramaterra soils are essentially volcanic porphyry, along with veins of rose quartz and limestone, and they are more acidic and arguably richer in minerals but less fertile than the soils of the Langhe, thus producing extremely pure and concentrated wines. The wines are traditionally made in cement, stainless-steel and large Slavonian oak botte, along with tonneau for the Nebbiolo wine.
In the early 19th Century Alto Piemonte was a prestigious wine region, responsible for producing the majority of Piedmont’s wine, including some of the highest quality Nebbiolo in Italy. In the late 19th Century however, the vineyard area decreased dramatically due to the devastation of Phylloxera. Replanting was limited, as the younger generations were caught up in the industrial boom, thus leaving the land to work in factories. The Second World War brought further reduction in production, and vineyards began to become overgrown by forestry.
Today however, things are changing. As Mattia described, there is a new injection of energy and enthusiasm from the next generation of young winemakers. Giacomo Conterno purchasing in Gattinara has also shone spotlight once more on this exciting and (re) emerging region. The focus at the moment seems to be on the key vineyards, but Mattia feels there is great potential for growth, and Alto Piemonte may well be on the path to regaining its former glory. Mattia and his farther Odilio have a new project on the horizon, for a single vineyard Bramaterra…
In the meantime, 2020 will see the completion of a new bottle store extension of the cantina, plus the release of their debut Bramaterra Riserva, all 700 bottles of it…
> Organic, uncertified.
‘Pramartel’ Vino Rosso
Nebbiolo Costa della Sesia