We are on the border of Langa, where the hills and the purest marl make way for the plains that lead to the Alps. We are at Cucchi, a corner of the Manzoni area of Monforte. It was here that Domenico was born and grew up, got married and challenged what until then had been the destiny of the grape grower –to produce grapes but not wine. He was different; he looked beyond the Monforte hills and saw there was a also a place for wine, not just grapes. His wine.
He believed and invested in vineyards that were perfect for growing grapes for the wines that had long been part of Langa tradition – dolcetto and barbera. The vineyards surrounded the house in Cucchi in Manzoni, Monforte and young Domenico soon learned to call them by name - Bricco, Grive, Calié - each of them with its own characteristics. And from here it was just a short step to the nebbiolo cru vineyards, from Cucchi to Ginestra, by way of the Monforte piazza.
To the east of the centre of Monforte is Ginestra hill, where the nebbiolo grapes that go into the making of unique wines have always reigned supreme. It is one of the best-known crus – historically grapes harvested there and sold at the Alba market fetched far higher prices than all the others.
When the upland plain around the town and its little woods gives way to the breathtaking sight of the Langhe valley, you suddenly find yourself in a vineyard where the rows of vines surround "Ciabot Mentin", one of the many little old houses found in our area. At over 450 metres above sea level, it is one of the highest "sori" (hilltop) nebbiolo vineyards; a vineyard of a myriad facets, with its different south-southeasterly slopes. Immediately after buying it, in 1982 Domenico carried out his first Ciabot Mentin barolo harvest, and created a barolo which has become a must among both the wine consuming and producing communities!
Carrying along the crest of the hill, at the bottom we come to the Pajana farmstead, where in 1990 Domenico bought another vineyard in the magnificent Ginestra cru. And the great 1990 vintage was when Pajana barolo made its debut! That was the start of the competition between two Ginestra Barolos, so close but so different to each other because of the generous complexity of the Langhe.
Admiring the view from the Ginestra and looking south, there before us is the Mosconi hill; it looks close enough to touch!
It was right here that Domenico realized one of his lifelong dreams. In 1995 he bought a vineyard of inestimable quality, with vines dating back to the 1950s, and began to produce his most significant wine – the Percristina barolo! Here everything was perfect for the creation of "the great wine" – from the Rupestris Du Lot rootstock to their age, the fantastic tufaceous marl unique to the Langa and the south-east exposure preferred by our ancestors, who knew a thing or two! And this is what lies behind Domenico's satisfied smile as he drives a load of grapes from another great harvest home...
At a certain point there was also room to play. Domenico remembers his carefree boyhood, when because of his free, indomitable temperament, his father called him Aeroplanservaj (Wild Airplane). And the call of freedom, challenging the ordinary and playing with destiny gained the upper hand.
Ah yes! And so Domenico played, starting to make wine outside of Monforte, and being able to choose, why not in a place where he has always drunk great things? Serralunga! The great neighbour! So in 2006 he rented a small vineyard which brought him great satisfaction over the years, and presented the wine enthusiasts with six different labels, all in the same case! Complicated? Difficult? Pretentious? ...no! Simply that after all it's fun to play and to have the good luck to still be able to be a child...