Sitting in a small osteria in Treiso d'Alba, my friend Emiliano and I set out to try Nebbiolo from a producer neither of us had ever had. I noticed Cigliuti on the list, and we ordered the 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo. It was one of the purest expressions of Nebbiolo that I had ever experienced. I called the Cigliuti winery the next morning and made the short trek from Castagnole delle Lanze to Neive, only 10 minutes drive, but worlds apart. The charming leader of the family, Claudia, greeted me with her youngest child, still a baby, and apologized to me for the informality. I was enthralled at once, both with the Cigliuti family and the amazing quality of their wines. Claudia's father Renato had the foresight to envision the potential of his family's vineyards, which had been used to grow grapes to sell, along with un-bottled bulk juice to the local wine trade. 50 years, later, Claudia, her sister Silvia, along with their mother and father create some of the finest wines we have the pleasure to import. We do not receive a big allocation, and more than a few bottles go straight to my cellar, but we are proud to offer this amazing family's wines in our portfolio of gems. -NW
I mention Castagnole delle Lanze to Neive above because in the short 5-10 minutes by car, one crosses from the Province of Asti, in the Monferrato hills, birthplace and bastion of Barbera, to the Province of Alba, the Langhe, home to the King and Queen of wines, Barolo and Barbaresco.
To those that ask Renato the secret to the quality of Cigliuti's amazing wines, he always provides the same answer: the land. The Cigliuti family, with passion and hard work, guides the winery with a farmer's approach, not a forceful hand. Renato states that, "if allowed, the terroir of the Langhe will express itself". All of the wines of Cigliuti, as I was pleased to see when I first visited, were as pure as the Langhe Nebbiolo 2013 that brought me to their door. It is no surprise at all to find that the philosophy of Cigliuti matches that of our own, and the terroir of Cigliuti is truly magnificent.
Cigliuti produces wine from two Crus. Claudia explains that terroir is not a large area of land, rather a microzone, a small plot, sometimes a "mere parcel of land in which each single vineyard is trained". A cru, she goes on, is an area in which a variety of high quality grapes are grown on hillsides not far from one another.
Serraboella - the Serraboella Cru was, until just a few years ago, synonymous with Cigliuti. Renato was the first producer to use the name on a label in the early '70s, and was the only producer to give the name Serraboella to his Barbaresco for nearly 30 years. Cigliuti plants Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto here, and is the vineyard where the famous Barbaresco of the same name is born.
Cigliuti also has vineyards on the Bricco di Neive Cru, from which are created their Langhe Nebbiolo and the "Vie Erte" Barbaresco.
In the Cantina...
To anyone who asks Renato who makes the wine, he replies that, “The wine makes itself, it’s born in the vineyard”. This is why Renato, along with daughters Claudia and Silvia, make the wines without the aid of outside technicians. Renato was taught to make wine by his father, and his grandfather, and he has taught his daughters to carry on the tradition of terroir driven wine making.
The wines are fermented in steel vats at controlled temperatures. Depending on type, they are aged in Slavonian and French oak barrels and casks. The Cigliuti cellar is pervaded by the emotions and harmony of the people who work here everyday, pursuing excellence with passion and respect for their work.
AZIENDA AGRICOLA F.LLI CIGLIUTI
Via Serraboella, 17
12052 NEIVE (Cn) – ITALY
Tel. (+39) 0173 677185