For twenty years, Paolo De Marchi dreamt of reviving the fortunes of his family estate in Lessona in a similar fashion to the way in which he revitalised his famous Tuscan estate, Isole e Olena. Together with his elder son Luca, he has realised this dream. He has planted primarily Nebbiolo (the wines from this area were more famous than Barolo in the 19th century) on the steep hillsides of northern Piemonte and is making a wonderful array of wines.
Proprieta Sperino is situated in the small town of Lessona, near Biella in northern Piemonte. It passed into the De Marchi family through their relative, Felice Sperino, a passionate viticulturist and professor in Turin, but it is only in the last few years that Paolo’s work in Chianti Classico has allowed him to spend time, and money, in the ancient family estate. Initially just 5½ hectares in size, the vineyards now cover 7.7 hectares and are planted on alluvial soils. Paolo and Luca planted primarily Nebbiolo, because of its historic celebrity, and also Vespolina and Croatina, the other principle varieties in this zone, together with Erbaluce di Caluso which produces a dry, scented, minerally white. The climate here is more moderate than in the Langhe, with milder winters due to the protection provided by the Alps to the north. The sandier soil, which is high in acidity and rich in minerals, the milder climate, and longer growing season, gives wines that are less burly and structured than those from the Langhe.
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