Gianmario Cerutti’s family own 6ha of prime sandy calcareous soils at Cassinasco, 480metres above sea level overlooking Canelli, the Moscato d’Asti & Metodo Classico capital in the Langhe Astigiani (& of Italia!) No surprise then that Gianmario focuses his energy on producing primarily a Moscato d’Asti Canelli DOCG & (since vintage 2015) an Alta Langa DOCG.
Gianmario’s grandfather, Enrico 1, bought the current Cascina in 1931, selling off the fruit. In the 1940s, the family started to vinify their fruit before the first bottling in the ’70s. Fourth generation Gianmario graduated from Alba’s viticultural school Umberto 1 in 1992 & began at the family cantina in 1994, while also moonlighting as a key buyer/winemaker at the Coppo winery. Indeed it is here that their Alta Langa is aged & bottled.
They make the Moscato d’Asti Canelli from two sites: ‘Suri Galle’ at 380m asl SE facing, e ‘Suri Sandrinet’ at 320m asl, SW facing on white sandier soils.
Since vintage 2011, Gianmario has also been sourcing fruit to make a Metodo Classico, now Alta Langa DOCG, from two sites: 80% Pinot Nero from white calc & limo (silt) vineyards in Bubbio, in the Val Bormida, & 20% Chardonnay from white sand & calc Cassinasco, in the Val Belbo at between 300 – 400m asl. From the 2015 vintage this wine has now become Alta Langa DOCG Brut.
His father Enrico II breeds pretty, prize-winning canaries so the Cascina shrills to birdsong. His mother Luciana makes a delicious ‘torta di nocciola’ (hazelnut cake), & his wife Anita works along her family at the excellent Ristorante Casa Crippa in Canelli!
In his spare time (!), Gianmario is also Presidente of the Associazione Produttori Moscato di Canelli; an associated member of the Consorzio dell’Alta Langa; & on the Consiglio (Board) di Amministrazione della FIVI (Federazione Italiano Viticultori Indipendente)!
The ‘Canelli’ denominazione of Moscato d’Asti applies to Gianmario’s wine because the village of Cassinasco is one of the 23 communes in the ‘Canelli’ sub-region famous for Moscato d’Asti; Canelli comprises 95ha, while Santa Vittoria (Roero) is only 2ha, & Strevi 0.5ha! Current total Moscato d’Asti production in 2017 was 35 million bottles; Cerutti produces 8,000!
> Essentially organic but will resort to chemicals if absolutely necessary.
Alta Langa DOCG Brut ‘Enrico Cerutti’
Moscato d’Asti DOCG Canelli ‘Suri Sandrinet’, Cassinasco
2016 Alta Langa Brut ‘Enrico Cerutti’ – tasted by DBG in Dec’19 & Jan’20. More punch as a result of the later harvest, longer growing season & cooler vintage, with racier, Vermouth-esque fruit compared to the debut 2015 vintage! Crystal clear, the nose is cool & spritely with fresh nettle, bianco spina (blackthorn flower) & herbs (sage, thyme) – redolent of a classic Vermouth di Torino, indeed! The palate’s equally exciting, with refreshing, racy, glacier cool fruit, tight & cleansing with meringue lightness of touch. Hint of panettone, perhaps due to Chardonnay’s partial malo:
2015 Alta Langa Brut ‘Enrico Cerutti’ – Very pure, vertical, straight-laced, no indulgence or excess dosaggio, nicely poised, transparent & clear, like the label!:
NV (2014) ‘Enrico Cerutti’ VSQ Metodo Classico – tasted Marzo’18, 5.5atmospheres, 4grams RS, 12.5%, 4k bts, 80% Pinot Nero from rockier soils near Bubbio, 20% Chardonnay from sandier calc soils of Cassinasco, 26 mths sur lattes (2nd fermentation started Feb’15, with sboccatura Dec’17 with same wine + sugar), fine cool, glaciale with rosemary, bianco spina floral notes, very refined, yet simple & watery pure; it possesses a fine bead, a thread of sorbet/ice, little red fruit, neat, cool, nettly. Delizioso! I love the pure, finely-crafted, simplicity of Gianmario’s Spumante, a wine that will become Alta Langa DOC from next vintage 2015; hence more time on the lees (30 mths min, & the option to use 10% older wine…)
NV (2013) ‘Enrico Cerutti’ VSQ Metodo Classico – while Cerutti is best known for their scintillating Moscato d’Asti, quickly gaining ground is their Metodo Classico that’s to be released as a Alta Langa DOC in 2018 (with the 2015 vintage). Currently they’re offering the 2013 vintage (not on the label), 85% Pinot Nero (from a friend close to Cassinasco) & 15% Chardonnay (their’s), 34 mths on the lees in bottle, disgorged with the same wine & no ‘liqueur d’expedition!’ in July ’16, c.3.5k bts. Biscotti al limone nose, cedro/candied fruit, almond & lime cheesecake fruit! Being 2013, it’s nervoso, subtle, refined, the high quality reminding us of Canelli’s role as a pioneer of great Metodo Classico in Italy (before they invented the Martinotti/Tank system & exported it to France, as Charmat!). Excellent, & stylish packing too! Circa 5 grams of RS.
2019 Moscato d’Asti Canelli ‘Suri Sandrinet’, Cassinasco – tasted by DBG in Dec’19 & Jan’20.Slightly less sugar than the 2018 vintage, the acidity of the 2019 is higher too by comparison, that all stems from the slightly milder (2019) vintage, with its longer growing season & later harvest. More potent then than the 2018, finissimo with energetic, sorbet & meringue. Tightly wound, with sage, verbena & alpine grass notes. Direct but delightful…with great ageing potential too, direi! 5.15% abv, RS 128g/litro, TA 6.27 g/litro, pH 3.25, 7,000 bts produced.
2018 Moscato d’Asti Canelli ‘Suri Sandrinet’, Cassinasco – the creamiest, beadiest, finest bubbled Moscato d’Asti that Gianmario has ever made!:
2017 Moscato d’Asti Canelli ‘Suri Sandrinet’, Cassinasco – tasted Marzo’18, 5%, 150grams of RS, in 2017 their harvest was a month earlier, on 25 August vs 20th Sept in 2016. They are fortunate in owning the fresh SE facing ‘Suri Galle’ vineyard at 380m asl, that accounts for 60% of the final blend, while ‘Suri Sandrinet’ gives richness from its 320m asl, SW facing slopes (40%). Notes of pears & straw; very fine, distinctly Vermouth nose, with delicate, refined, nettly meringue, breezy, light on its feet, exhilarating fruit. As if one can feel the light, white sandy soils, the fossils & active calc. Yellow apples, golden delicious?! Production 8k bottles/annum.
2016 Moscato d’Asti Canelli ‘Suri Sandrinet’, Cassinasco – 4.8% abv, 130 grams RS, TA 5.70, 140 mg So2 total, 20 free, bottled Dec 5th 2016, a great vintage for Cerutti, from their 430m asl Cassinasco vyds, quantita & qualita, very few treatments required vs 2015. Hot but excessively in 2016, always a good temp excursion of temp day/night, benefitting from Cassinasco’s altitude, always ventilated…nose is tightly wond, with complexity, candied, thyme, rich with lime/banana but also fresh, great profondita; in bocca, rosemary, minerals, salty, hint of banana (soon after bottling), beautifully balanced, a wine/vintage to age…