The oenological project of the wines of Cascina Eugenia represents a challenge in the scenario in wine-growing and producing. Although the presence of vineyards around Pettenasco is documented since the 9th century, and some small productions of “American” wine and Nebbiolo survive for family consumption, ours is the first initiative for the production of wine in a professional manner and with commercial results.
So, to our knowledge the first official wine ever produced on Lake Orta: a place not conventional for this type of activity, in which the benefits of a wine production in an uncontaminated place, halfway up a mountain made of granite and schist, alongside the risks associated with an exceptional rainfall (over 2,000 mm annual on average, three times the amount it rains in Burgundy). For the understanding of the oenological potential of Pettenasco, a long series of technical studies were required. The period 2007 to 2009 was characterized by a series of checks and investigations to follow the development of the maturations and identify the peculiarities of the plots in the vineyard. Micro-vinifications were made to know the analytical and sensorial parameters of the grapes and to try the most suitable winemaking techniques, for the profile of the wine that we wanted to obtain, in compliance with the biodynamic principles. These early studies were fundamental to understand the potential identity of our wines and to guide the subsequent choices in the cellar. They also allowed us to establish a close relationship between the reality of the vineyard and the planning of the cellar, which was equipped with containers made of steel and wood concepted and designed for each micro-plot.
Work principles: the main motivations that inspired the oenological project of Cascina Eugenia were the respect for the biodynamic approach and the aim to reach the best oenological result possible in the reality of the lake. We look for authenticity in every detail. We believe that the quality begins in the vineyard, and it’s the only way to get the taste of the terroir in the wine. In the cellar, the respectful work, manual and careful, seeks to reveal the qualitative expression of each grape in the wine.The knowledge of the particularities of the micro-plots in the vineyard, in particular for the evolution of the ripening of the grapes, allows to identify the most appropriate harvest days, and the type and duration of extraction during the fermentations. The harvest is manual, the selection of the grapes in the vineyard is very strict. The average yield per plant production is very low. In the initial period (2008-2012) about two glasses were produced per plant of white wine made from overripe grapes, 2 glasses per plant of red wine and 3 glasses per plant of white wine.
All fermentations are spontaneous, made by the autochthonous yeasts of our grapes. No addition of exogenous products to clarify or stabilise the wines: for this purpose, the differences in the natural change of season temperature are exploited. The only product used in small doses for the production of wine, besides the grapes, is SO2, used during the storage and prior to bottling the wines.
After the fermentation, each micro-plot follows an aging process in steel or wood to optimize its main features: some wines are potentially more expressive in their aroma and others are more complete in the mouth. When they reach their maximum expression, they are assembled and bottled by hand, bottle by bottle.
The principle of naturalness is respected throughout the process of making the wines. This choice, together with the technical choices made during the treatment of the must and the wine-making, strongly affects the aging potential of the wines. Giving preference to a measured oxidation and low doses of SO2 during the first phase of the wine-making, helps to eliminate the compounds that would oxidise later on, and in this way the wine maintains its vivacity for longer. A feature of our wines is indeed the longevity: at the current state of knowledge, at least 10 years for the red and white wines, and 30 years for the wine produced from overripe grapes and the sparkling wine.
We emphasize that, once you open the bottles, they continue to evolve for days: a good sign that the wine is full of vital energy.
Monica Rossetti, oenologist