Giacomo Borgogno & Figli
When a tourist touring the Piedmont wine region approaches the village of Barolo, attention is drawn to the winery built on the top of the hill. The estate is Cantina Borgogno, founded in 1761, the oldest and one of the most prestigious wine producers in Piedmont. Borgogno's story is strongly linked to the history of Italy and the 19th century, when the country was milled into its present form. For example, in 1861, the house's wines were served at an official gala dinner organized in honor of the Risorgimento, the unification of Italy. It is known that Tsar Nicholas II of Russia also stayed at the house. The fact that Borgogno's wines have always been praised for their top quality and elegance faithful to their origin speaks volumes for their appreciation.
Where does the multidimensionality and nuanced layering of Borgono wines come from? Let's start with grapes. They grow in the best and most prestigious nurseries of the Barolo region in Cannubi, Liste, Fossati, Cannubi San Lorenzo and San Pietro Delle Viole. The conditions of the orchards, the variability of the terrain, the amount of rainfall, the temperatures and the exposure of the sunlight to the vines are ideal for quality-focused viticulture.
The soil also plays an important role. The clayey and limestone-rich merkel gives the growing vines just the right amount of moisture and nutrients. However, nature and growing conditions alone do not produce top wines from grapes. Experience, knowledge and skillful hands are also needed.
As everywhere in Italy, traditions and craftsmanship are respected in Piedmont. Borgogno's vineyards are worked in an environmentally friendly manner and under natural conditions. The vines are cut and thinned by hand and no artificial fertilizers or pesticides are used in the nurseries. The conversion to organic production began in 2015. In total, there are more than 16 hectares of own vineyards and grapes are not bought from outside farmers. In addition to red wines, the selection includes white wines made from Riesling and Timorasso and various grappas.
When the crop has been harvested in the fall and transported to the farm, the stalks are separated from the bunches. After that, the grape pulp is allowed to macerate for a long time, up to 40 days. Since 2013, the actual fermentation has taken place in glazed concrete tanks and takes about 15 days. All wines ferment spontaneously and malolactic fermentation, which softens the wine's characteristics, lasts until February. After this, the wine is allowed to mature in large Slavonian and French oak barrels. Barolo is aged in barrels for at least 4 years and is a mixture of grapes from 5 different vineyards. Barolo Riserva wines mature for 6 years. At the longest, wines are kept in barrels for up to 30 years. Barolos are never filtered, but the wines are allowed to settle in steel tanks for 2 months before bottling.
Borgogno operated as a family business for no less than 247 years. From the point of view of winemaking, the most turning year in Borgogno's history must have been 1920, when Cesare, the youngest of Borgogno's family of five children, took over the management of the house. Cesare was a passionate innovator whose influence can still be seen in Borgogno's quality thinking and operating methods. One of the cornerstones of the house's wine philosophy is still the practice started by Cesare, according to which some of the wines from the best vintages are transferred to the cellar to develop for decades, until their properties are at their best. Cellared wines form a unique Barolo collection, the gems of which are coveted by wine enthusiasts and collectors. In English, these collection wines are called library wines .
In 1967, the estate changed its name to Giacomo Borgogno e Figli after INAO accused the estate of being too close to the name of the French Bourgogne wine region. In 2008, the winery was sold to the Farinetti family, which also owns Eataly. The current winemakers Andrea Farinetti and Beppe Caviola are committed to nurturing the wine philosophy and house traditions of Cesare Borgogno and his descendants by producing top quality wines. The tangible proof of this is how each vintage strongly reflects its origin and the traditions and history of the region.
Borgogno's annual production is around 230,000 bottles.