Tenute Cisa Asinari Dei Marchesi di Gresy is an estate in Northern Italy which includes four properties located in Monferrato and Langhe, in the Piedmont Region, which also happens to be the home of some of the finest wines in the area, if not the world. But this particular estate has more than a history. It has been owned and operated by the di Gresy family since 1797, a history from which we Americans could learn a few things. Up until the 1960’s it was operated like a traditional farm producing vegetables, livestock and fruits, including grapes. These grapes were of the finest quality and were sold to the various wine producers in the area, as was the tradition in the province. It was in the early 1970’s that Alberto di Gresy decided to take the bold move to produce his own wines. His first vintage came out in 1973. But Alberto did not want to be just another wine merchant or producer, and to that end he called upon his years of farming expertise with a nod to both tradition and modern technology to produce what has become one of the finest wines in this very competitive region.
In 2013 Alberto’s children, Alessandro and Ludovica began their careers and beside their father expanded their estate to 111 acres of a grape paradise among the Martinenga, Monte Aribaldo, La Serra and Monte Colombo Estates. To this day only grapes grown on the estate are used in their wines. This particular wine gets its start in the La Serra vineyard in the municipality of Cassine, in the province of Alessandria. There, with a mostly southern exposure the grapes are exposed to cooling mountain breezes, long summers ample rainfall and higher humidity making for a plump, juicy grape. Using a process called malolactic fermentation, a process which reduces the acidity and converts the strong, tarl malic acid into softer, creamier lactic acid (the type found in milk), the wine is fermented and aged in oak barrels for at least four months. Even here the process is unique and the attention to detail is utmost. Most of the barrels used are classed as “second or third barriques,” meaning that they have only been used once or twice before. The wine can then be transferred for a time to Slavonian oak barrels, which are larger with a very tight grain and a smooth, sweet aroma. This type of aging is not uncommon in this area. Aging in the bottle usually involves only shipping and storage just before sale.
This is a full-bodied, intense red wine, with wonderful flavor and a welcoming aroma. Like most reds it will benefit from some time in a quality decanter, but actually, very little time is needed. Hints of blackberry, raspberry and dark cherry will emanate from the bottle and call you home. On the palate the taste will linger long after the first sip, and long after the last drop in the glass. You can easily taste the attention to detail, the bow to tradition and the expertise needed to produce this very fine wine. At the risk of repeating myself too often, this is a wine that Alberto envisioned he would be able to produce, and his children would continue. This is truly a place where pride still matters. Produced with 100% locally grown Barbera grapes and an alcohol content of 13.5%, in this price range, about $20, it is an excellent choice.
Pairing this wine with food is pretty simple as it will go well with stronger tasting meats such as a beef ragout, stews or grilled beef, as well as fresh aromatic cheeses like a parmigiano reggiano. But don’t hesitate to serve this before dinner to your guests. It will go well with a meal, but will perform just as well with good conversation and pleasant company.