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Allegrini 2018

Alta Langa goes to town, and classic method bubbles embrace design

The classic method bubbles of Alta Langa, go to town, and for “La Prima dell’Alta Langa”, which previews the latest vintages on the market, they choose Italdesign, a temple of Italian design in Turin. This is where car icons like the legendary DeLorean, pop phenomena like the Fiat Panda, and unique Ferrari and Bugatti models were born. But also “Terra”, the glass dedicated to Alta Langa that picks up the legacy of “Grande”, signed in 2012 by Giugiaro. Born in 2001, from the will of a handful of sparkling wine producers in the area, today the Consorzio dell'Alta Langa, led a few weeks ago by Mariacristina Castelletta (Tosti 1820) gathers 47 producers, for almost 340 hectares of vineyards and a production of 3 million bottles. And no hurry to grow too fast, because the path made so far, as Mariacristina Castelletta reminds WineNews, “shows that the right path is that of constancy” (in the coming days the interview on WineNews). In the knowledge that the hilly strip of the provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo on the right bank of the Tanaro River, strictly above 250 meters above sea level, with its soils dominated by marl, limestone and clay, are perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, especially in view of the future, with the effects of Climate Change that, in the long run, will increasingly challenge lowland viticulture.
And the pedoclimatic aspect is certainly not the only strong point of an appellation that, for geographical reasons and for potential, increasingly attracts the big names of Langa viticulture and therefore of Barolo, from Casa E. di Mirafiore to Ettore Germano, from Fontanafredda to Pecchenino, from Rizzi to Mascarello Michele & Figli, without forgetting a landmark of all Italian viticulture such as Banfi, which has invested in Alta Langa for many years now, and is among the founders of the Consortium. The setting of “La Prima dell’Alta Langa”, on the other hand, closes a circle opened now ten years ago, in 2012, when Giorgetto Giugiaro signed “Grande”, the tasting glass dedicated to the bubbles of Alta Langa produced then by the German Spiegelau.
Today, designing “Terra”, produced in a very limited edition by the Collevilca glassworks in Colle Val d’Elsa, is Nicola Guelfo, Head of Industrial Design at Italdesign, a glass that, “through its shape, dresses a story. It is the essence of design: to let the function of the object speak. With this goblet”, explains Nicola Guelfo, “we wanted to tell the story of the prestige of Alta Langa wines, and to do so we went to investigate different areas of interest: art, architecture, and everything behind this wine. Above all, we studied the natural environments from which it comes; we were inspired by that extraordinary and composite fabric of high hill-climbing vineyards and forests, of hazel groves and pastures. We observed the shapes of the vine and the bunches of grapes, the leaves, the shoots, but also the solemn and monumental atmosphere of the historic cellars, where the wines age on pupitres”.
Trying the (new) glass, the elegance of Banfi’s “Cuvée Aurora 100 Mesi” 2011, a blend of Pinot Noir (85%) and Chardonnay (15%), stands out, where the sweet notes of hazelnut are masterfully balanced by the citrus and savory hints that make it a very tasty drink. In an increasingly qualitative panorama, the distinctiveness and richness of taste of Fontanafredda’s “Vigna Gatinera” 2014, the only cru from Alta Langa that, because of its history, can boast a mention on the label, is striking: 100% Pinot Noir, Pas Dosé, saffron on the nose, in the mouth it is discovered sip after sip, from bread crust to dried fruit. Another Blanc de Noir capable of best representing the elegance of Pinot Noir, Cocchi’s “Pas Dosé” 2012, where the toasted notes balance well the citrus entry, for a decidedly pleasant drink. Interesting, especially from a gastronomic point of view, Mario Giribaldi’s Extra Brut 2016, mineral and creamy. Also in WineNews’ top five tastings is a historic label of Alta Langa, Contratto, founded in Canelli back in 1867, which, in the 2017 Pas Dosé Blanc de Blancs, gives acidity, floral notes and a vertical and satisfying sip.

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