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Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Lessona, Alto Piemonte
People: Paolo & Luca De Marchi, Owners | Luca De Marchi, Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
Proprieta’ Sperino was established in the 19th century by Casimiro Sperino, an ophthalmologist and military doctor with a passion for winemaking. His son, Felice, took up the reins and contributed considerable research to the battle against phylloxera. The estate passed to the De Marchi family, who all but abandoned it until 1999, when Paolo De Marchi and his son Luca revived the historic family estate, the Castle of Lessona located in Capovilla Castello. Luca is extremely passionate about restoring the traditions of Lessona as well as documenting the area's viticulture history.
The property is situated in the Castello quarter of the village Lessona (Biella) at the foothills of the Northern Piedmont Alps. The majority of its vines are grown at the foot of Monte Rosa, with the rest in neighboring districts. Its yellow and marine sands have been protected by the Alps, and the soil maintains some of the highest levels of acidity in the world. This fact, coupled with its dry climate, cool breezes, and long growing season, make for extremely complex grapes with the potential for long-lived wines.
The Nebbiolo grape reigns supreme in this woodsy district. It’s grown without herbicides or chemical fertilizers; rather, they house millions of California red earthworms to turn manure into nutrient-rich humus. The grapes are hand-harvested, hand-sorted, and fermented in broad, open, wooden casks. The result is wine that uniquely expresses the nobility of the Nebbiolo grape, for which Piedmont is famed.
YouTube: Meet the Winegrower
"Luca De Marchi crafts gorgeous, distinctive wines at his family’s estate in Lessona. The Uvaggio is a Nebbiolo-based blend from vineyards in both Lessona and Bramaterra, while the Lessona is, naturally, from Lessona and 100% Nebbiolo, without the blenders that are allowed in the appellation. The Sperino wines offer a combination of energy and textural depth that is striking."
Wine Advocate 8/2017
"This property is managed by Luca and his father Paolo De Marchi (of Isole e Olena in Chianti Classico). It sits at a fascinating spot just at the base of the Italian Alps in a place characterized by one of the most dramatic altitude ascents in Italy. Those mighty mountains rise like a veritable wall causing violent exchanges between hot and cold air. In fact, Luca tells me that this is one of the most hail-prone spots in Italy and frequent storms have wiped out many promising vintages in the past. The property's soils have loose grains of yellow sand that impart elegant mineral characteristics to the wines."