For Riccardo Bianco, the white Moscato grape isn’t just for making traditional sweet wine.

In his cellar, ( they have produced, for decades, a dry white and a dry sparkling, both from Moscato grapes. Two labels (CRIVELLA and CANE’) however do give expression to the sweet Moscato of long aging. And, a visit to the vineyards of this wine estate, MONGIOIA , reveals three interesting and historic directions.

Some of the vineyards of Riccardo Bianco are “pre-phylloxera”. The year 1879 is recognized as the pivotal date of the Italy-centered infestation by the insect that destroyed European vines. After that, all the vineyards were planted using American stock. These small plots of European rootstock are nearly 140 years old.

Such vines are truly botanic monuments. It is extraordinary to see their contorted trunks, budding every spring. Vines that remember generations of humans. How many families worked to sustain them! How many farmers, who cultivated, sweated and hoped for a better future!

The visit to Bianco’s vineyards reminds us too, of another lesson of enologic history. The old rows are narrow in width, to maximize the production. And it was also necessary, to plant a seconday crop between them; using every bit of arable land to increase the family’s profit. Here in Langhe, it was usually cereals, or legumes, that were seeded between the rows.

It is ironic to document this lesson with a Smartphone. Yet, thanks to modern technology we are easily able to hand down the memories of vines, heavy with history.


MAY 20 2015

Marco Negro