Sometimes life makes strange paths, and so a scion of a famous family of doctors-surgeons, Felice Sperino, after undertaking the studies of the Aesculapius profession, remains accidentally dazzled by some registers, kept in the library of the noble house, which contains the detailed descriptions of numerous harvests of the 19th century.
We are in Lessona, and from that moment the Sperino family gradually began to approach the world of wine production, identifying in the library the beating heart of the company, to the point that, year after year, all the most important decisions of the winery are taken inside, despite, since 1999 the winery has passed into the hands of the De Marchi family, cousins of the Sperino family and already present in 1905.
It is also thanks to the impressive work of Sperino/ De Marchi that today we talk about Alto Piemonte as one of the noblest areas of the Italian wine scene, thanks to soils, sandy in Bramaterra, and rocky in Lessona, with an acidity among the highest in the world, with a pH ranging between 4.5 and 5.5; soils difficult to cultivate but able to return one of the most elegant expressions of Nebbiolo that can be found in the glass.
The approach in the vineyard is inspired by the protection of such a precious asset, through non-invasive viticulture practices, the refusal of chemical treatments of all kinds, the grassing of the rows, and the use of California red worms, to produce the worm compost. In summary, the worms are fed with the pruning excerpts, the manure of the animals present on the farm, and the marc that, once digested and expelled, are mixed with algae and other natural microbiological compounds.
All these practices require a deep knowledge, and therefore the company is actively engaged in the technical training of its employees, at every level, also because, having renounced agricultural machinery, to the advantage of Umuan mechanics, the latter requires 800 hours of processing per hectare per year.
Still unsutisfied, the owners undertook, in 2003/2004, projects such as the identification of the best clone of Nebbiolo to be planted in their vineyards and, after a study lasted 15 years, thanks to the collaboration with the University of Turin, The most suitable Nebbiolo clone for those soils has been identified: Spanna.
As a matter of fact, in that area, all Nebbiolo is called Spanna, but, studies in hand, the strain that deserved that qualification was never isolated and so, in 2017, Proprietà Sperino planted the first vineyard with certified Spanna cuttings (part of the Monfalcone vineyard).
Even in the winery, the De Marchi have made a real return to the origins, recovering the nineteenth-century cellar and especially handling the grapes with techniques of a distant past: manual selection of grapes, with the only help of the eyes, spontaneous fermentation, without temperature control, in open wooden vats where the grapes are conveyed by gravity.
In short, from Proprietà Sperino you can breathe tradition in every corner but… but even this winery has its dirty little secret, son of the Piedmontese Masonic soul, a wine for a select few, outside the box, bandit, a little anarchist jewel to reserve only for the right friends: I’m talking about ‘L Franc, nothing less than a Cabernet Franc, produced exactly with the same techniques as the other wines of the winery!
The 2010 vintage, a terrific year, needless to say, delivers to the glass an intense ruby wine with a slight orange edge principle, in which to be the master are the very ripe red fruits such as dark cherry, blackberry, baked plum and date, followed by dried violet, rosehip, clove and Tuscan cigar, with a very “altopimontese” closure of wet bark and undergrowth.
The palate, in spite of 14ABV, is not at all fatiguing, thanks to a freshness and a balsamic quality that can dampen the palate, supported by the typical Lessona’s sapidity, all marked by the silkiness of tannin.
The Closing is long, and dotted with references among which stand out, for intensity, thr blackberry, the Tuscan cigar, a hint of incense and the moist bark.
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