02 October 2019 Cascina Chicco winery is an icon of Piedmont. Since the 1950’s they have dedicated themselves to the land of Roero and their new underground cellar showcases the beauty of this terroir. Wine is a serious deal in Piedmont. The region is world-renowned for its Nebbiolo grape and the many styles of wine that are made from it. And in any serious wine destination, terroir matters. Which is why visiting Cascina Chicco’s underground cellar is an experience in the beauty of the Roero landscape and the excellent Nebbiolo wines it produces. Garden over the vineyards, Cascina Chicco, Piedmont. But before we delve into the depths of the cellar, let’s explore Cascina Chicco’s history. It will give us an understanding of their dedication to Roero and the many ways this has paid off. In the 1950s, Ernesto Faccenda, a butcher who specialized in the production of cured meats, purchased a hectare of land in the Roero hills with the idea of making wine. He knew that the area had potential and he wanted to expand. His gamble was worth it. He successfully sold Nebbiolo and Barbera d’Alba in demijohns in the local community. A few decades later, Ernesto’s son, Federico took over the family business. He was mindful of a renewed interest in Piedmontese wine outside of the region and decided it was time to start bottling under the family name. But you may wonder, if it is the family name, why is it called Cascina Chicco? Well, in Roero, there is a deep tradition of nicknaming families that are integral members of the community and the Faccendos were known about town as the ‘Chicus.’ This is their nickname even to today, the fourth-generation of winemakers. As the winery passed down through the family, each generation expanded on one simple premise set out by Ernesto. To deepen the family’s roots in Roero and Monforte d’Alba while upholding the integrity of the community they cherish so dearly. The Wheel Room, Cascina Chicco, Piedmont. Which is what makes the, 5000 square metre (53 819 square foot), underground cellar even more of a marvel. It was completed in 2014 and descends 28 metres (92 feet) below the surrounding hills. It is a mecca of Langhe and Roero wine. It begins with the show-stopping Wheel Room, a gorgeous circular, domed room that symbolizes the Wheel of Roero, the ancient symbol of the noble families from this area. The rest of the cellar is divided into areas for ageing, barriques, a tasting room, a storehouse, and crutins – small, hand-dug cellars that lay directly in the rock face. The cellar is a showcase in the history of the land and the wine. Modern lighting design spotlights chalk crystals in the bare rock that is visible between the arches of the original brickwork of the old cellar. Crutins and storerooms display bottles that have been kept on collection while neatly stacked barriques lay in wait for bottling. The stratification of years of family dedication is visible at every turn. Explore Cascina Chicco’s underground cellar in a bespoke Piedmont wine experience with The Grand Wine Tour.