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FROM ‘NEBIOLO’ DI NEIVE TO BARBARESCO

1742

Manfredo Bongiovanni, Count of Castelborgo, believed it fitting to register the “Cassina di S. Stefano” in the family cabreo (property register).

Santo Stefano was a saint clearly venerated by the family, since their altar in the parish church was also dedicated to him.

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1767

The architect Giovanni Antonio Borgese, administrator of the Castelborgo's estate, noted the following words in his inventory:
“Production of 536 brente (historic Piedmontese measure of volume equivalent to 50 litres) of ‘black wine’, of which 100 of Nebioli from the Cassina di S. Stefano”.

The Castelborgo (or their winemakers) had already understood that the Nebbiolo of Santo Stefano was unique, and deserved both a separate vinification and storage.

1802

Birthdate of Camillo Bongiovanni of Castelborgo.

It is certainly Camillo Bongiovanni who established contact with the celebrated enologist and wine merchant Louis Oudart. The story is itself well-documented, and is recounted in detail in the following book published by Slow Food Editore:

"Louis Oudart e I Vini Nobili del Piemonte" by Anna Riccardi-Candiani.

1826

In this year, Louis Oudart arrived in Italy and began a collaboration with General Paolo Francesco Staglieno at the Royal estate of Pollenzo, he himself considered a talented enologist.

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1861

Louis Oudart produced a “Nebiolo di Neive 1857” in the castle’s cellars, winning with it a gold medal at the National Exhibition of Florence (the fair commissioned by Italian politician Quintino Sella at the Stazione Leopolda in 1861). The exhibition was inaugurated by King Vittorio Emanuele II on September 15th, 1861 and continued until December 8th of the same year.

1862

Louis Oudart obtained the gold medal for an 1858 Nebiolo di Neive at the International Exhibition of London, thus cementing his position. Unfortunately, Camillo di Castelborgo died the same year and his second wife Luigia Candiani di Olivola, along with his daughter Eleonora inherited the estate. Management of the estate was then taken over by external administrators.

1904

The Contessa Eleonora d’Harcourt Castelborgo, daughter of Camillo di Castelborgo, and Luigia Candiani di Olivola, his second wife, produced the bottle of Pinot di Neive, still jealously guarded in the company cellars at the Castello di Neive.

1925

The same Contessa d’Harcourt-Castelborgo also produced the “Nebiolo” di Neive currently stored in the cellar.

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1933

The production zone of Barbaresco is enlarged to include the Neive vineyards. This action was vehemently opposed by the inhabitants of Barbaresco and Treiso (which at the time formed the single municipality of Barbaresco).

1934

The Consortium for the fine wines of “Barolo and Barbaresco” was established; today it is part of the Consortium to safeguard Barolo, Barbaresco, Alba Langhe and Dogliani. The first president was the Count Gastone di Mirafiori Guerrieri, with vice-presidents Giuseppe Cappellano and Guido Riccardi-Candiani acting on behalf of the estates as well as the territory.

1937

The first bottle with Barbaresco written on the label was made in 1937. Now it’s stored in the historic cellar.

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1963

Giacomo Stupino and his brother Domenico purchased the Castello and a portion of its domain.

The Marcorino and “I Cortini” vineyards were added to the ones already owned by the family, together with the Santo Stefano vineyard, company’s monopoly and crown jewel of the estate.

 

1964

«Cru Santo Stefano» appeared on the first bottle labelled «Castello di Neive» by the Stupino family, along with the decorative frame surrounding the stylised Castello.

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1976

The project for the Arneis clonal selection began.

Its success and the qualitative improvements to the Arneis variety are owed to Italo Stupino and his wife’s predilection for white wines: the reason why everything started.

1979

While Arneis was still under development, the Castello di Neive’s Barbaresco was already being sold in California; the mature market of the United States was now ready for the great Italian wines. For many years, our Barbaresco will be imported and distributed, first by La Almaden, under the brand Charles Lefranc Cellars, and then by William Grant.

1983

The Arneis came right after Barbaresco in the USA, following the big success of the latter overseas.

The Stupino family asked to enlarge the Roero appellation (as previously happened with the pockets of Serralunga and Santa Vittoria for the Moscato d’Asti appellation) in order to include Neive, by virtue of merits acquired through the clonal selection. However, the request was not approved and the first year’s production was labelled as Arneis 1982 table wine, and continued thus for many years.

1991

Arneis started to be exported in Japan, along with Barbaresco. The refined palates of the Japanese greatly appreciated the elegance of these two Piedmontese wines, as they will with the Langhe Pinot Nero in the future.

1990

The recollections of the Pinot Nero produced by Giacomo Stupino from Riccardi-Candiani grapes and the idea of using the Castello’s underground cellars for refermentation, inspired Italo and Giulio to plant two separate vineyards with Pinot Noir: one was destined for a red wine and the other for a sparkling, classic method blanc de noir.

1997

An early renovation of the historical cellars of the Castello saw new steel tanks fitted with automatic pumping-over mechanisms installed. These replaced old concrete containers that, after being removed, revealed an ancient – and beautiful –subterranean infernotto. In the same year, the Slavonian oak casks were replaced with the more delicate French oak barrels.

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1990-2000

Cooperation with the respected consultant Dr. Giancarlo Scaglione, enriched the production of the Castello di Neive and introduced several new wines which were met with instant success. Among these there were the two Pinot Nero wines previously referred to.
The Barbera d’Alba “Rocca del Mattarello” was also created from a small, old vineyard, with the grapes aged in barriques for a year.
With the grubbing-up of the vineyard, this wine was replaced by Barbera d’Alba Superiore. Finally, an Arneis passito was created, with the grapes dried naturally on the vines.

1999

Factor and cellar master Natale ‘Talin’ Brunettini, (along with his wife Maria and daughter Ornella, who today is a member of the office staff), was joined by the enologist Claudio Roggero. A little at a time, he started managing the cellar, the vineyards, and the hazelnut groves and eventually became the business manager.

2001

Italo Stupino, who until then had shared management of the family estate with his brother Giulio and his sisters, Anna and Piera, took over management of the entire estate. He became involved full-time, abandoning other business interests, and established the base for the future of the Castello di Neive.

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2003

The Albarossa: one of the Castello’s warmest and best-exposed vineyards on the Marcorino hill was grubbed up. During replanting, it was decided to dedicate a part of the vineyard to Barbera d’Alba Superiore and another part to a new variety recommended to Italo by his friend and school companion Roberto Paglietta, who had become the Professor of Tree-Based Cultivation at the University of Turin.

2008

A portion of Barbaresco grapes from the Gallina subzone was vinified as a single vineyard to create the Barbaresco Gallina, destined mostly for the domestic market.

2012

An important year for the winery: a new importer for the United States, a new technical cellar and the end of the grape sales from Castello di Neive’s Santo Stefano vineyard to the Bruno Giacosa Winery and, consequently, the end of the long collaboration with Bruno Giacosa.

Italo Stupino and Leonardo Locascio made an agreement for the distribution of many Castello di Neive wines throughout the United States through Winebow – Leonardo Locascio Selections. This arrangement could not last without the Barbaresco Santo Stefano, until then supplied by Bruno Giacosa, but with whom a decades-long collaboration had just been broken off.

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2012


Italo understood that the historical cellars of the Castello di Neive – even if magnificent and steeped in history – were no longer the ideal place for fermenting and bottling our wines.  Him and Claudio were conscious of the logistic limits imposed by the structure of the Castello and the need to serve Winebow convinced them definitively to take action. They succeeded in equipping a new cellar in six months, fulfilling all the requirements dictated by technicians and consultants, and achieved both maximum efficiency and technology.

2012

By August 17th, 2012 the cellar was ready to receive Pinot Nero grapes to make traditional method sparkling wine. 

Over the next few years, they realised how correct their decision had been; though the same attention was given to the winemaking process, results improved with less time and effort.

Since then, the new cellar has been put to use to produce a new wine, a Barbera d’Alba without added sulfites. Over a very few years it has become a star product, and is even used as an example in the enology course at the University of Turin

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As previously mentioned, the same year Bruno Giacosa decided, without warning, to cease the production of Barbaresco Santo Stefano (it is possible that the new law regarding geographic references, which restricted the use of labels with the vineyard name to winemakers using their own grapes imposed a strategic choice).


A verbal, gentleman’s agreement between Bruno Giacosa and Italo and Giulio Stupino was therefore interrupted.

 

From that moment on, the Santo Stefano designation was reserved solely for Castello di Neive labels.

2015

The eighteenth century cellars of the Castello were renovated to allow for perfect élevage in wood of our most important wines (Barbaresco included), still today transported here when the fermentation is complete. In quietness of the castle's cellars, the wines find the ideal humidity and temperature levels to slowly mature. During renovations, an ice cellar was also discovered: it's now used to store historical bottles of Barbaresco from our own production.

 

2016

2016 saw the renovation of the hundred-year-old building in the castle’s garden that is now the “Casetta”, our shop.

The Casetta is the starting point for the tours to the historical cellars and the ideal location to taste all our wines, served at the correct temperature by qualified and well-informed sommeliers.

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2016

A new historical agreement was signed between Italo Stupino and a large distributor; the entire range of our wines is now included in the catalogue of Sagna SpA for all of Italy, joining some of the world’s most illustrious wines and spirits.  Thus our wines are represented in the best restaurants and wine shops of the country, and we are free to devote all our energies to producing ever-better wine.

 

2017

Was a year of investment in new equipment: a new soft press, a new stemmer and a new bottling line. The equipment was chosen to help us in our quest for elegant and crisp wines that respect the intrinsic qualities of each grape variety.

The history of the wines in depth

APPROFONDIMENTI STORIA VINI
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Louis Oudart produced a «Nebiolo di Neive» in our cellars that won a gold medal at the International Exhibition in London in 1862.

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SANTO STEFANO VINEYARD

Already in 1742, Manfredo Bongiovanni, Count of Castelborgo registered the “Cassina di S. Stefano” in the Cabreo register of family property.

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HISTORY OF THE LABELS

Italo Stupino remembers: «I was invited to a dinner with Veronelli;

we hadn’t printed the labels yet, so I took the mock-ups and cut them up by hand».

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ARNEIS

To understand the entire story, one needs to go back several centuries, from Asti to Roero, but with an important stop at Neive.

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PINOT NERO

Pinot Nero is one of the most ancient grapes for which we have documentation and its origins are most probably in Burgundy.

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ALBAROSSA

Albarossa is a red variety created by Professor Giovanni Dalmasso (1886 - 1976) in Conegliano, Veneto in 1938.

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