24 November 2022
The vineyards of Marchesi di Grésy cover a vast hilly arc that stretches from the Langhe to the heart of Monferrato. The winery is nestled among the vine rows of Martinenga: this is the core of production, the chosen home of Barbaresco wines at the top of the denomination.
There is only one way to know more about the wines produced by Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy: head to Barbaresco. This small town is situated on the southern hills of Piedmont, from there, take the road that leads to Martinenga, where the winery is located.
Knowing Martinenga and its value is only possible by reaching the place itself. Behind the cellar, rows of vines span along the horizon in all of their grandeur: a green, steep and lush semi-circle, divided by thin white headlands that, from the top of the hills, head towards the courtyard of the 18th century farmhouse. The vast amphitheater, kept like a garden, reaches the foot of the valley of Rio Sordo, a small stream that flows into the Tanaro River, whose wide and quiet riverbed is like a silver ribbon wrapped around poplar woods and cultivated fields.
Here, the beauty of the Langhe is something tangible: a majestic grandeur that is reflected in the wines. The very name of the place – Martinenga – is reference to a glorious past. Already a place of worship for the Ligurian Statielli – who worshipped the god of war, Mars – according to the chronicles of the Historia Augusta, Villa Martis was where emperor Publius Elvius Pertinace was born.
MARTINENGA: ALL THE NUANCES OF BARBARESCO
Martinenga is also unique with regards to viticulture. Not only is it considered one of the symbolic vineyards of the denomination but is also the only Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva (MGA) in Barbaresco to be a monopole: it is entirely and exclusively cultivated by Marchesi di Grésy, the only one who can put it on the label. The full southern exposure, microclimate and the particular conformation of the soil, rich in blue marl, endow the wines produced with unprecedented harmony and elegance. Since 1978, Marchesi di Grésy has decided to divide this elegant nature into smaller plots that possess similar pedological characteristics. The selection was made possible by the extraordinary ability of the Nebbiolo grape to precisely “read” the soil where it is planted, resulting in the production of three Barbaresco labels that bring out distinct expressions of the same vineyard.
The first “expression” of Martinenga is Barbaresco Martinenga, undoubtedly the most important label of the winery. A first-class wine with remarkable structure and harmony, as well as surprising elegance and tannic balance. The wine ages for around 24 months, first in barrique and then in large wooden barrels. Barbaresco Gaiun Martinenga, whose first vintage dates back to 1982, is made from a selection of grapes grown in the part of the vineyard located towards the Asili MGA. Following aging for about 28 months in barrique, the wine reveals a fine and elegant style that binds remarkable structure and complexity within a harmonious frame, making this Barbaresco an ideal pair to outstanding dishes. Lastly, Barbaresco Camp Gros Martinenga is the “Riserva” of Marchesi di Grésy, the winery’s pride and joy. It is vinified from a plot that borders with the Rabajà MGA. Here, the vines enjoy ideal exposure, microclimate and soil, resulting in a Barbaresco with extraordinary potential for evolution.
THE OTHER ESTATES
Those who think that Marchesi di Grésy exclusively produces Nebbiolo are bound to change their minds. Tenute Cisa Asinari include a hilly arc that stretches from the Langhe to the heart of Monferrato.
Monte Aribaldo, in Treiso, is a short distance from Martinenga. Here, Marquis Carlo di Grésy had Villa Giulia, an Art Nouveau hunting lodge dedicated to his wife, built in 1900. Around ten hectares of vineyards are planted with Dolcetto, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc which, respectively, yield Dolcetto d'Alba Monte Aribaldo; Langhe Bianco Villa Giulia; Langhe Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Today, the Monte Aribaldo houses Dai Grésy, an exclusive agritourism immersed among the vineyards: the ideal starting point for people who want to explore the Langhe " with the eyes of those who are deeply in love with this territory".
In Cassine, in Monferrato, the La Serra estate and the nearby vineyards of Monte Colombo extend over an area of about 13 hectares. Here, the soils are more fertile and are made up of clays, limestone and mineral salts. The lands in Monferrato became the property of Carlo di Grésy in 1899, as a dowry from his wife Giulia Pellizzari. Since then, they have been planted with local native varieties such as Moscato Bianco and Barbera that bring forth iconic wines: Moscato d’Asti (also in Passito version) and Barbera d’Asti. In particular, those in Monte Colombo have been the subject of a successful experimentation. The marly soil promotes fertility and allows high plant density. Marchesi di Grésy has made good use of these characteristics by planting Merlot vines that, vinified in purity, turn into a full-bodied and enveloping Monferrato Rosso distinguished by intense aromas of dark fruit and delicate spicy notes.