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Elio Altare La Villa Vino da Tavola 2003
Colour: very intense ruby red
Taste: fresh red fruits, well balanced tannins and with a pleasant acidity due to the barbera
Nose: intense aromas of plums and berries
Serving suggestion: red meats, soft to medium aged cheese, pasta with rich sauce
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Those were not easy times, given the economic crisis that lasted for years. Elio, along with other friends, decided to learn about winemaking beyond the borders of Piemonte and try to grab some of the success that those regions were enjoying. Their first trip to Burgundy, in January 1976, was a revelation, and Elio began experimenting with methods outside of the traditional ones in Piemonte
After a brief period working with his father Giovanni, Elio, at the age of 26 years decided to change direction and to give a different interpretation to the family's wine, favouring elegance, finesse, and balance. He began a strict regimen in the vineyard and adopted new vinification techniques in the cantina in order to highlight the grape variety and the territory in which it was grown.
The winery at this point is a family operation, with the invaluable help of Elio's wife, Lucia, and daughters Silvia and Elena. Together, they continue Elio's tireless effort, experimentation, and research.
Today the family works 10 hectares, of which five are rented. They have adopted techniques aimed at respecting nature. The principle objective is that of limiting the use of chemical substances, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. The wines are not subjected to filtering or fining, so that they keep all of the material and character extracted during maceration
A prestigious and distinctive region for red wines in northwestern Italy, Piedmont is responsible for some of the country’s longest-lived, most sought-after wines. Set in the foothills of the Alps, the terrain consists of visually stunning rolling hills. The most prized vines are planted at higher altitudes on the warmer, south-facing slopes where sunlight exposure is maximized. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot, muggy summers. Despite the rain shadow effect of the Alps, precipitation takes place year-round, and a cooling fog provides moisture that aids in the ripening of grapes.
Easy-going Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont, beloved for its trademark high acidity, low tannin, and juicy red fruit. However, the most prized variety is Nebbiolo, named for the region’s omnipresent fog (“nebbia” in Italian). This grape is responsible for the exalted wines of Barbaresco and Barolo, known for their ageability, firm tannins, and hallmark aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo wines, despite their pale hue, pack a pleasing punch of flavor and structure, and the best examples, when made in a traditional style, require about a decade’s wait before they become approachable. Barbaresco tends to be more elegant in style while Barolo is more powerful. More affordable and imminently drinkable Nebbiolo can be found in the larger Langhe area as well as Gattinara, Ghemme, and other less-prominent appellations. Dolcetto is Piedmont’s other important red grape, ready to drink as quickly as Barbera but with lower acidity and higher tannin. White wines are less important here but can be high in quality, and include Arneis, Gavi, and sweet, fizzy wines made from Muscat.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.