10 Apr Organic Wine Farm La Casaccia
During the last lights of the day, we reached Cella Monte, a typical village on Monferrato’s hills. In the internal courtyard of the farm, there are heaps of boxes, resting after a long working day: this is time for vendemmia, the grape harvest.
We are friendly welcomed by Giovanni and Elena, founders and owners of the organic winery La Casaccia. They met in the agrarian university of Torino, and after working in different fields, thanks to some lucky circumstances, they took care of the old farm and brought new life to the 19th century’s walls.
Elena lead us to visit the cellars where the wine is produced. We are immediately enchanted by these rooms and corridors dug in the Pietra da Cantoni stone, that hide a beautiful Infernot, one of many that are part of Monferrato’s UNESCO heritage site.
“It is wonderful to have a piece of history of Monferrato inside our walls, it is a sort of honour for us and we prefer to not consider this Infernot as our property: we are just the care keeper”.
The first room contains the bottles of sparkling wine, which is made with a peculiar method imported from France: after a first fermentation of the grapes is added some sugar for a second fermentation in the bottles. The wine rests on the yeast for at least one year, then, with a process that requires about a month, the bottles are shaken daily and turned of 45° to push the yeast toward the cork.
With a special machine, the top is frozen in order to take away the leavening without waste of wine, and go on to the final capping.
We go then to visit the room with the tanks where the wine ferments. The air here because of the stuffy environment is saturated with alcohol vapours. The ancient cellars are fascinating: we discover the two vintage underground containers to collect and keep the rainwater, and the brickwork rooms for the fermentation of wine. Each with a round hole in the ceiling in communication with the yard above, through which the grape was thrown down.
Elena brings us in the tasting room, beautifully decorated with 19th century’s paintings, perfectly preserved as the house was empty for a long time before their coming.
First, we taste the Grignolino “Poggeto”. The Grignolino was in the past considered a noble grape and was famous in the Savoia’s court, then decayed because for its weakness it’s not easy to work with. In the last years anyway, some wine producers are retrieving it to its initial glory. We are carried away by a soft and lovely taste of almond, rose, raspberry, spices and caramel that can be well combined with goat cheese, the typical bagna cauda, cooked salami and even fish.
We go on to the Freisa “Monfiorenza”, typical red wine of our hills as Barbera and Grignolino, but less known. It’s a slightly sparkling red wine with a tannic and sharp nature perfect to counter cheeses, cold cuts and fatty meat.
The 2011 “Barbera del Monferrato”, with an intense purple-red colour, has an aromatic taste of mellow red fruits and strong features: a true symbol of the Monferrato, excellent with traditional dishes, meat, game and stew. This is our favourite wine, after the superb Grignolino.
The last wine we taste is the 2010 “Barbera dei Boschi”, aged for one year in durmast barrels, with a firm hint of wood. The tasting is accompanied by cheese from Aosta Valley.
Elena tells us about their work: “It is not easy to grow and produce organic grape and wine. The positive sides are that it’s a job always different, never repetitive, in touch with nature and the land, which always change according to the season. The wine is like a son, you work all year long starting from the plant to get the final product, so it is very satisfying when it is appreciated by the people”.
We are grateful to La Casaccia for giving us the possibility to come here and we highly recommending to visit this special and charming place. They have also a newly refurbished kitchen and 3 rooms available for guests: a perfect idea to match the tasting of their wines and the traditional cuisine of Monferrato.
Azienda Vitivinicola La Casaccia
Written by Franco Agnolotto | Photo courtesy of La Casaccia