Nebbiolo is one of the most famous wine grapes in Italy; it is used for the production of Barolo and Barbaresco, red wines with outstanding ageing potential, which have been internationaly renowned for many years.
Nebbiolo is the real autochthonous wine grape, as its cultivation is almost entirely concentrated in Piedmont, apart from a few other areas (such as Valtellina), where the microclimate and soil provide the ideal conditions to get the best from this particula variety.
If the hills of the Langhe are considered the capital of Nebbiolo, the hills of Northern Piedmont have always been the production area for the so-called "Nebbioli of the North" that are at their best in the DOCG Gattinara.
The vineyards were planted in Gattinara by the Romans in the second century B.C. and the wine produced in this town was already known at the time of the Renaissance among Europe's nobility.
The oldest winery still in business in Gattinara is the “Cantina Nervi”, founded in 1906 by Luigi Nervi and bought in 2011 by the Norwegian family Astrup.
The company owns 24 hectares of vineyards planted almost exclusively with Nebbiolo plants; Molsino is the top vineyard: it is a spectacular natural amphitheater with the best exposure to sun and with a beautiful view of the snow-covered Monte Rosa. The granite-rich soil of this vineyard gives life to the finest Nervi cru wine, which bears the same name: Molsino.
The Nervi cellar is just 30 minutes' drive from La Darbia, so you should not miss a visit to the historical premises in Gattinara: the wine maker Enrico Fileppo will guide you through the subterranean cellars made with brick vaults and where the Gattinara Molsino ages for 50 months in large oak casks.
The latest Nervi product is a sparkling wine obtained by a special winemaking process using Nebbiolo grapes. Do you want to know the name of this wine? It's called Jefferson, in honour of Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States of America ; in 1787 while he was travelling through Piedmont Jefferson fell so much in love with Gattinara wine that in 1806, while he was president, he took advantage of one USA warship and had it transport two barrels of Gattinara to the White House (official document: Library of Congress, Washington DC).