Today’s Wine Wednesday is a marvelous sparkling wine I recently discovered from Enrico Serafino. It’s an Alta Langa DOCG wine, a category I wrote about a couple of weeks ago in this post. This particular winery has been active since 1878. The grapes for these wines are harvested from Barolo, Langhe, Roero and Monferrato, Unesco World Heritage wine regions.
This 142 year old winery is still family-owned. The winery started with a 24-year old pasta maker who decided to move to this area and start a winery. The winery remained in the family hands for almost a century. In 1989 it was bought by the Barbaro family, well-known in the world of Vermouth and spirits. At the time, Alta Langa was not yet a recognized area. First bottle of Alta Langa DOCG is released in 1999. In 2003 it was bought by the Campari Group and in 2015 changed hands again and was bought by the Krause Gentile family.
Enrico Serafino was among the first wineries in Piedmont to participate in the traditional method project of Alta Langa wines. In 1990 it was called the “Traditional Method Project” and the aim was to find the right terroir for traditional grapes for sparkling wine. The first 50 hectares were planted at that time. Enrico Serafino at that time controlled more than 20% of these, according to their website.
Alta Langa wines are made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The percentages are variable and the wines come in white or rosé. They can be brut or pas dosé but they must age on their lees for at least 30 months. Additionally, Alta Langa DOCG is always a vintage wine. Harvest is always indicated on the label. In terms of where they sit in the Italian wine spectrum, they are on a par with Franciacorta DOCG and Trento DOC but they are a much smaller production and come from a limited number of producers. The Consortium of the Alta Langa was only created in 2001, got DOC recognition in 2002 and became a DOCG wine in 2011. Other rules for producing an Alta Langa sparkling wine are that the vineyards must be at 250 meters above sea level. Vines are trained either using low espalier, traditional Guyot and spurred cordon.
The grapes for this wine, the grapes are 15-25 years, that grow on clay-limestone soils at 300-550 meters above sea level. The grapes are 100% hand-harvested and hand-sorted on a table. After pressing, the must is fermented in stainless steel vats at controlled temperature and kept on its lees for 6 months while undergoing bâtonnage. The grapes are picked using sustainable viticulture.
The wine was a Millesimato 2016 and the winemaker was Paolo Giacosa. 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay, the first disgorgement took place after 36 months on the lees. The wine undergoes four disgorgements per vintage. With 12.5% alcohol, the wine also had 6 g/l of residual sugar.
This 2016 was golden in color with a beautiful rich bouquet of honey, yeast, ripe white pears, floral notes, minerality and a hint of umami. Apparently, 2016 was a very long growing season. On the palate, the wine presented some of the same aromas and flavors as on the nose as well as a rich lees texture, a hint of brioche, and beautiful minerality. The wine was long, persistent and very balanced. Beautiful finesse and elegance completed the picture and made me very happy to have ordered more than one bottle.
I served it with pasta bolognese but loved it with broiled salmon too and could see it as an aperitivo with light appetizers.