Tenuta Santa Caterina
The Monferrato region of the Piedmont was recognized by UNESCO as a historic viticulture region in 2014. Unlike the more famous Langhe region nearby, known for the Nebbiolo grape in Barolo and Barbaresco, here in Monferrato, around the town of Asti, there is strength in diversity with a focus on many different indigenous varieties. This is both a blessing and a curse: The average wine consumer isn’t familiar with many of the more unique varieties.
A Benedictine Abby dating back to 961 sits on the ancient Tenuta Santa Caterina estate, where agricultural is documented as far back as 1737. Guido Carlo Alleva took over this historic property near the town of Grazzano Badoglio with the inspiration to bring back indigenous grapes to their former glory. Grignolino has a noble history, all but forgotten with the dawn of the 20th Century following the aftermath of phylloxera. It is now common to make light simple wines from this grape, but Guido believes the grape has the incredible potential to reclaim its noble status once written about. Freisa also has a strong presence here in Monferatto and Guido and his team give this grape the respect it deserves. Monferratto translates as ‘fertile mountain’ and it is here on the hillsides with great exposure that the Santa Caterina team farm in a symbiotic way – in harmony with nature, giving back to the soil, and not using harsh chemicals. The fermentations are all spontaneous native yeast, and the wines shine with the unique terroir of sunny Monferratto.
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