Barolo Tour 2011 - Marchesi di Gresy
The visit at Temute Cisa Asinari Dei Marchesi di Gresy (Marchesi di Gresy) actually started back in 2009, when vi visited the winery La Spinetta where we meet winery manager/cellarmaster at Marchesi di Gresy, Jeffrey Chilcott, during the tasting.
Jeffrey was so kind to invite us to a visit at Marchesi di Gresy, but the calender was full in 2009, so when we had the opportunity to return to the area in 2011 for a visit, we most certainly did!
Marchesi di Gresy is situated in Via Rabajà 43 - 12050 Barbaresco. A little diffecult to find, like most of the other producers in the area, but when you finally arrive you always wonder why this was so diffecult in the first place.
We start this article with the property history, which is incredible interesting. There is evidence that the natural amphitheatre where Martinenga stands today was already known in ancient Roman times as Villa Martis, a place where the Liguri Stazielli met to worship Mars, the God of War.
Martinenga was also the birthplace of the Roman Emperor, Publius Helvius Pertinax Alba, (born 126 - dead 193).
In 1797 Martinenga became the property of the noble Marchesi di Grésy family, who added it to Monte Aribaldo in Treiso, a hilltop property overlooking the valley, previously acquired in 1635 and situated a few kilometres from Martinenga, where today some of the finest Barbaresco Nebbiolo crus (Martinenga, Asili, Rabajà) are to be found. The family later increased the size of the estates with the properties in Cassine, which grandmother Giulia Pellizzari brought as her dowry.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Carlo di Grésy built Villa Giulia at Monte Aribaldo. The integrity of the original exterior and interior layout of this elegant Art Nouveau hunting lodge can still be admired today.
It was between these walls and these rows of vines that Alberto di Grésy spent his childhood and adolescence, learning to love a land rich in tradition, where no effort is spared when it comes to the hard work of the countryside, the "good and not so good" seasons. This land has given him deep ties of friendship and such a great passion for vines and wine that in 1973 he began to produce Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy's own wines, starting with the grapes that until then had been sold to others and used as a benchmark to set the market price in Alba.
This radical decision would finally do justice to the precious terroir on which Martinenga is located, the only Barbaresco Cru Monopole, since only the Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy can mention "Martinenga" on their labels (as far back as 1967 it was already being included as an exclusive mention on labels selected by the local producers' cooperative).
Nowadays, in a place so rich is history, where the grape has always been king, bottles of wine are produced that take pride of place.
Marchesi di Gresy has a desire to to produce wines that speak of their place of origin, of the unique characteristics of an area and its traditions, but which despite their pedigree are pleasant, drinkable and easy to pair.
In present time it is Alberto di Grésy and his staff whom have endeavoured to respect the micro-climates and characteristics of the estates, working with passion and humility to respect the identity of the land and select the right vineyard for each of the various cultivars to obtain wines that are different but all with great personality. Alberto and the staff try to understand which grape will give of its best from this exchange between the soil, the vine and the influence of the weather to give wines that are created in the vineyard itself, with all the potential to become great.
Marchesy di Gresy use traditional vinification methods in the winery, with lengthy maceration to extract all the characteristics, especially the tannin which gives the Barbarescos a unique, recognizable elegance.
Alberto di Grésy has chosen three sub-zones at Martinenga to produce three different Barbarescos, each with its own recognizable and recognized identity:
Martinenga Barbaresco DOCG
Camp Gros Martinenga Barbaresco DOCG (first vintage is 1978)
Gaiun Martinenga Barbaresco DOCG (first vintage 1982).
Three different ways to interpret Barbaresco, but there is more....
The estate produces 16 different wines at present time.
It is of course never enough only to produce top wines in the catagory Barbaresco. The property also produce a lot of other wines!
These are as follows:
Langhe Villa Giulia
Langhe Chardonnay Gresy
Dolcetto d'Alba Monte Aribaldo
Langhe Nebbiolo Martinenga
Langhe Rosso Villa Martis
Monferrato Rosso Merlot daSolo
Barbera d'Asti Monte Colombo
Langhe Rosso Virtus
Barbaresco Martinenga Gaiun
Barbaresco Martinenga Camp Gros
Moscato d'Asti La Serra
Moscato Passito L'Altro
Further more the property produces a number of different grappas from the grapes of the vineyards.
Later we will return to give you some impressions of the wines we tasted on the day - of course not all the wines - but a lot of wines choosen by Jeffrey Chilcott and a number of wines choosen by ourselfes. Very generous of Alberto di Gresy and Jeffrey Chilcott!
Now we return to the visit. We were about to start the tour by visiting the cellar.
The cellar is like most other traditional producers cellars - vinification equipment, oaks, barriques, enox stainless steel tanks, cement tanks (not many left in the area) etc.
BUT, our eyes caught a very special phenomenon. In one side of the storage room there is directly contact to the original walls of the property instead of a normal modern cellar wall. Very interesting and special. You can really see and feel the centuries fly by when you observe this little detail!
Now it was time to taste the different wines. A true pleasure due to Jeffreys very extensive knowledge of winemaking. Every question was answered with precise details. Everything you could ever want!
If you think the name Jeffrey Chilcott sounds a little "non Italian", it is correct. Jeffrey is from New Zealand. Therefore Anders Bruun could relax a little this afternoon after some very hard translation days. Italian is a beautiful but diffecult lanquage. Meeting an english speaking guy like Jeffrey was very nice for a change. Not that almost everybody speaks english in the area, but Jeffrey could explain things in a more detailed way.
Marchesi di Gresy owns 4 different vineyards in the area:
Martinenga - considered to be the greatest single vineyard for Barbaresco in the entire area.
Monte Aribaldo - The estate lies just two kilometers from Martinenga on the hill of the same name in Treiso d'Alba. In 1900, Carlo di Grésy built Villa Giulia, an Art Nouveau-style hunting lodge on this hilltop overlooking the entire valley..
La Serra - This property is located in Monferrato in Cassine, Alessandria province. The vineyards cover a total area of 11 hectares with a perfect southern exposure at an altitude that varies between 230 and 240 metres.
Monte Colombo - This vineyard is situated on the hilltop close to La Serra at an altitude of 280 metres and has a prevalently southern exposure. A combination of soil and climate conditions provide an ideal environment.
Above you see Jeffrey Chilcott during the tasting in a moment of thinking very hard :-), and to the right you see the owner Alberto di Gresy. We were very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to the owner himself.
Now it was time to find a position at the table and enjoy the great wines of Marchesi di Gresy. This afternoon we had the opportunity to taste the following wines mentioned below.
If you want to see our review of a particulary wine or more, just click on the wine, and you'll be forwarded to our wine database with almost 5.000 Italian wine reviews:
Langhe Sauvignon 2009, Marchesi di Gresy
Langhe Chardonnay 2009, Marchesi di Gresy
Langhe Chardonnay 2000, Marchesi di Gresy
Dolcetto d'Alba Monte Aribaldo 2009, Marchesi di Gresy
Barbera d'Asti Monte Colombo 2007, Marchesi di Gresy
Langhe Rosso Virtus 2006, Marchesi di Gresy
Barbaresco Martinenga 2007, Marchesi di Gresy
Barbaresco Martinenga 2006, Marchesi di Gresy
Barbaresco Gaiun 2006, Marchesi di Gresy
Barbaresco Camp Gros 2005, Marchesi di Gresy
Barbaresco Gaiun 2004, Marchesi di Gresy
Barbaresco Camp Gros 2003, Marchesi di Gresy
Barbaresco Martinenga 2002, Marchesi di Gresy
We didn't mention earlier in the article that what set our mind to visit Marchesi di Gresy beside meeting Jeffrey at La Spinetta, was the fact, that the Barbaresco Martinenga Gaiun 1998 won a tasting on Vinhulen.dk in 2011. Outstanding wine in it's prime at the time. If you like, you can see the article of the tasting here: Temasmagning - Veneto vs Piemonte
Coming to an end of this we would like to give you a little details about the Barbarescos!
100% nebbiolo grapes according to law. Vinification on skins: 8/10 days fermentation with floating cap followed by 5/10 days fermentation with submerged cap. Daily pumping over. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in full at a controlled temperature after the alcoholic one. Ageing in French barriques of 225 liters for few months, then in Slavonian oak casks of 25hl for 12 months followed by a maturation in bottle for 12 months. Estimated life span 20-25 years.
100% nebbiolo grapes according to law. Vinification on skins: 8/10 days fermentation with floating cap followed by 5/10 days fermentation with submerged cap. Daily pumping over. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in full at a controlled temperature after the alcoholic fermentation. Ageing in French oak barriques (Allier) for 30 months and matured in bottle for 15 months. Estimated life span 20-25 years.
Barbaresco Camp Gros
100% nebbiolo grapes according to law. Vinification on skins: 8/10 days fermentation with floating cap followed by 5/10 days fermentation with submerged cap. Daily pumping over. Malolactic fermentation is carried out in full at a controlled temperature after the alcoholic fermentation. Ageing in French barriques during the first six months, then in Slavonian oak casks of 12,5 hl for 24 months and matured in the bottle for 15 months. Estimated life span 20-25 years.
All the other wines are made from 100% of the grape mentioned on the label except Langhe Rosso Virtus (60% Barbera & 40% Cabernet Sauvignon) and Lange Rosso Villa Martis (Nebbiolo 40% & Barbera 60%).
It was time to say goodbye to Jeffrey and Alberto and return to Barolo to visit more vineries in the area. A couple of very pleasent hours among wine enthusiasts goes by to soon. Be sure we will return to taste the new vintages in the years to come....
You can find the wines from Marchesi di Gresy in Denmark at Suenson in Copenhagen.