Famiglia Marchisio offers something new from a well-known region at remarkable prices. In the heart of Roero, just north and across the river Tanaro from Barolo and Barbaresco, Sergio Marchisio, his sons and daughter, produce wonderfully elegant wines from Arneis, and Riesling. Dedicated to organic farming and fascinated by amphora, the family's white wines highlight the depth of fruit, concentration and elegance that Piedmont can offer.
ARNEIS: A MODERN REVIVAL
The region's main white grape, Arneis was recovered from the dustbin of history less than 50 years ago. Sergio Marchisio was one of its early adopters and is recognized as the first to have planted Arneis in Castellinaldo d'Alba in 1977.
Until a few years earlier, the grape was called Nebbia Bianca or White-Nebbiolo. Alfredo Currado at Vietti started collecting samples from friends and neighbors in the late 1960's who would otherwise have mixed it into a rosé. Currado intended to make a lightly sweet wine, but when his first barrel fermented all the way dry, modern Arneis was born. Sergio loved the new take on this local grape, but his father was against planting a white grape in the land of red wines. Sergio persisted, working with his friend and fellow enologist Gianfranco Cordero to establish vines that the family can boast some of the oldest Arneis vineyards in Roero and the first to be planted in Castellinaldo d'Alba.
With more than thirty years of organic viticulture, as well as many innovations that we now, and refer to as regenerative agriculture, Sergio and the Marchisio family lay claim to being pioneers on many fronts in Piedmont.
More recently, the family began to ferment some of their white and red wines in Amphora, the first of their kind in the region. The results are wines with stunning aromatic intensity, youthfulness, and luscious, rich mouthfeels.
"The amphora protects the wine from all stress. And it keeps it in contact with oxygen in a unique, gentle way. So the wine breathes, evolves. It becomes something you don't expect: it perhaps reaches its truest expression." And that's not all. "Traditional Arneis is an immediate white, to be drunk young. So, I wanted to see if I could extend its life, without exposing it to the invasiveness of wood. I thought: you can only achieve this with an amphora. And indeed, here it is: you uncork it years later, and it continues to amaze you. It has many stories to tell. And it takes time."
This is a wine we want to taste blind with every aspiring Sommelier to demonstrate just how precise, focused, and intense the aromas of Arneis can be.
RIESLING, WITH A TWIST
Though many well-known producers make Riesling in the area, fewer than 30 had any as recently as 2021. To our knowledge, Sergio is the only Piedmontese producer to vinify Riesling in amphorae, The family was drawn to Riesling based on it's aromas, and the first limited bottling was only in 2020. The choice was made to use amphorae to preserve what Sergio hoped would be the delicacy and precision of the Riesling planted on the marl and clay of Castellinaldo. Sergio says:
"A white wine legendary for its finesse: refined, citrusy, with the characteristic mineral tones of hydrocarbons. Riesling is not like other whites (for example Chardonnay, which can take on a thousand faces); Riesling has only one, and doesn’t tolerate even a hint of makeup. Very straight: and it’s for this very reason that I wanted to see how it would be, my Riesling."
The wine is everything Sergio hoped it could be, intense but not heavy on the nose and full of delicate white and yellow fruits. Making a bet on a noble grape that reaches the highest of highs in other parts of the world is no small venture. Who would have thought that Riesling from Piedmont could be such an exciting new version of this wonderful grape?