Loazzolo: the smallest DOC in Italy
Loazzolo is a small Piemonte village wedged in low astigian langa between Cuneese and Alessandrino, fifteen minutes from Canelli and half an hour from Nizza Monferrato.
This small town, around 350 inhabitants, whose name derives from the Latin Lupatiolum (place where the wolves run), belonged to the Monferrato Marches since the 12th century, and sold it to the Asti town in 1200. Since 1935 it is part of Asti province . Here soil and climatic conditions are ideal for vineyard cultivation.
Loazzolo, the smallest DOC in Italy, was recognized in 1992. Loazzolo is a rarely sweet wine, vinified and bottled exclusively from Moscato grapes (traditionally used for Asti production), dried grapes and possibly attached to the noble mold , cultivated in the only Loazzolo common municipality , unique case in Italy.
Counts 8 producers for about 5 hectares overall ! The environmental conditions and “Loazzolo” wine vineyards cultivation must be the traditional ones in the area and, in any event, giving at grapes and all derived wine some specific qualitative characteristics.
Only vineyards located on slopes and sunny hillsides on marnic limestone soil are considered eligible. The vitrified soils location , in order to favor sunshine, must be hilly with a minimum slope of 20% with the low or bottom valley, shaded, flat or damp vineyards exception.
Loazzolo D.O.C. Disciplinary
Loazzolo wine must be obtained from grapes coming only from the vineyards compounded by 100% Moscato Bianco grape.
Fruits production area includes administrative territory in Loazzolo municipality inside Asti province. The maximum grapes yield allowed for Loazzolo wine production must not exceed 5 tons per hectare with specialized crops. The maximum wine yield must not exceed 55%. Grapes must provide a minimum natural alcohol volume not less than 13 degrees. The grapes must be subjected to gradual drying and possibly nourishing noble Botrytis on plant itself or in suitable premises. The Loazzolo wine can’t be placed on market unless it has undergone an aging period that includes at least two years from 1 January subsequent to the grape production year. During this period, wine must remain for at least six months in 225 liters wooden barrels.
Loazzolo wine when sold on market must meet the following characteristics:
- Color: bright golden yellow;
- Odor: complex,moss and vanilla hints, candied fruits;
- Flavor: sweet, characteristic with a slight Moscato aroma; minimum alcoholic strength by volume: 15,5% which at least 11% vol. developed;
- Sugar residue: minimum 50 grams / liter;
- Minimum total acidity: 4.5 per thousand;
- Minimum net dry extract: 22 per thousand.
Late harvest qualification is allowed, considering that Loazzolo grape harvesting takes place in late and scalar times. On bottles must be indicated the grape vintage.
Moscato from Loazzolo
The "late" harvest of the Moscato di Loazzolo
In view of high thermal needs that Moscato request for all grape destined for "Loazzolo" wine production , only sunny vineyards placed on the hilly slopes from east to west are considered suitable. Planting sites must provide a density with at least 4,000 vines per hectare in cultivated area: cultivation and pruning systems must be generally used by our tradition (Guyot short pruning, spur cord).
Produced grapes must be late harvested in order to obtain a large sugar gradient (14-15 ° to the grape harvest) and let it dry for a few months on canes racks in a special place called “drying fruit room"; attached by the noble mold, is subsequently hand-selected. The must is fermented at winter time beginning , in a slowly way and refined for 2 years from 1st January following harvest, at least 6 months in oak barrels, then bottled. Is obtained a concentrated, intense, very yellow coloured wine.
At present, total production is around 50,000 bottles per year divided among eight manufacturers. The consortium “Consorzio per la tutela e valorizzazione dei vini a denominazione di origine controllata Barbera d'Asti, Barbera del Monferrato, Dolcetto d'Asti, Freisa d'Asti, Cortese Alto Monferrato e Monferrato" protects the producers and has its headquarters in Asti.
The Inimitable Vineyard
Vela wine Pinot nero of Loazzolo
11,000 vines per hectare: the pinot nero grown with this exceptional vine density was planted in 2007 (in France and Italy, vineyards are already considered intensive from 4,500 vines per hectare). Such density forces the vines to reduce their foliage and concentrate their essences into the grapes.
Moscato of Loazzolo
The "late" harvest of the Moscato di Loazzolo
Produced grapes must be late harvested in order to obtain a large sugar gradient (14-15 ° to the grape harvest) and let it dry for a few months on canes racks in a special place called “drying fruit room"; attached by the noble mold, is subsequently hand-selected.
The Natural Amphitheatre
Borgo Isolabella in Loazzolo
Eleven hectares of vines nestled among the woods, perched on magnificently exposed but incredibly steep slopes, in a unique natural symphony.