The area of Asti has been recognized for centuries as a paradigm for Italian viticulture and oenology: it produces excellent quality and has an important image around the world. The Castello del Poggio estate in fact lies in this extraordinary zone, and is the largest single-site vine-growing property in Piedmont.
The story of Castello del Poggio is that of a rural district that was strenuously defended by its founders and then by other noble families against their many enemies. In fact, every village in the Asti area has its castle, tower and numerous campanili, as well as the remains of ancient fortifications.
The defensive works of the Castello del Poggio estate take the form of a castle, a mediaeval stronghold that belonged to the aristocratic Bunéis family and was built between the 12th and 14th centuries. This castle is still clearly visible and lies on the top of a bricco – a hill in the dialect of the Asti area – that is particularly suitable for growing high-quality vines because it is steep, having been conquered inch by inch as a result of human labour.
The estate today is the fruit of the Zonin family’s vast capital of experience, knowledge and love for the vine. Purchased in 1985, it now covers 186 hectares, of which 160 are vineyards. These form a delightful amphitheatre of vine rows at an altitude of between 250 and 350 metres above sea level. The climate is a typically continental one and is influenced by the barrier that the Alps and the Apennines place in the way of the south-westerly winds.
The original 35 hectares of vines, once the property of well-known Piedmontese producer Arturo Bersano, have now become no less than 160 hectares, thanks to a patient and forward-looking process of replanting and extension of the area under vine with the acquisitions of the Rocca, Cerrina, Cascinot, Masarej, Poggio and Orto farms as well as the Il Briccone holding in the commune of Costigliole d’Asti, known as “the land of gold” because it is blessed with thousands of bunches of splendid Moscato d’Asti grapes. With this redevelopment of land and vineyards, the Zonins have succeeded in reassembling the property originally owned by the Bunéis family in the 18th century.
The Castello del Poggio estate is striving to highlight the quality of Piedmont’s outstanding indigenous cultivars, such as Barbera, Dolcetto, Brachetto, Moscato d’Asti and Grignolino. In this area – which historically has always been considered the “cru” zone par excellence – they express their varietal characteristics to the full.
Images Castello del Poggio