Following in the path of their father, Ermanno Conti, the Conti sisters (Elena, Anna & Paola) represent the second generation to tend the family’s single hectare in the Boca DOC, which is comprised of two hillside parcels, planted by Ermanno in 1971. The Conti family rigorously applies organic standards to their farming, does a manual harvest and continues to apply the same philosophy to the work in the cellar. Indigenous yeasts are used in fermentation and little to no sulphur is applied during the elevage and at bottling. In fact, several experimenal cuvees are bottled entirely without the appication of sulphur.
The Boca DOC, one of the smallest appellations in the Alto Piemonte, encompasses only twelve hectares spread over five villages (Boca, Maggiora, Cavallino, Prato Sesia, Grignasco) and split amongst eleven different vineyard owners. While Nebbiolo is the principal grape, Vespolina and Uva Rara are integral parts of the DOC as well. The soils are composed of limestone, clay and sand, similar in profile to Gattinara, which is a short 10km drive to the southwest. However, Boca has a distinctly different structure from its neighbor, Gattinara, more elegant and less masculine. The Boca DOC requires that the wines must be aged three years prior to release. The Conti wines have proven themselves to be particularly age-worthy, as evidenced by a series of older vintages (dating back to 1984) that we have had the pleasure to present alongside the current releases (2007 and 2008 vintages at the time of the publication [October 2013] of this profile).
|“Origini”, Vino Rosso del Alto Piemonte, 2015 produced by the Conti family. This lovely, lively wine made from a field blend of grapes local to the Alto Piemonte, including Nebbiolo, Bonarda, Vespolina, Barbera and Uva Rara, is from organically farmed vineyards. The Conti family, famous for its Boca, has created this classic wine which captures the freshness and also the seriousness of this almost mystical Terroir.|
|Spanna Colline Novaresi: Spanna, of course, is the local term for Nebbiolo, and Conti’s is as proudly regionally distinctive as the word itself—a wine that could only come from within the reach of Monte Rosa’s long shadows. The vineyard from which this wine is produced belongs to a friend of Elena and Paola; it is farmed organically, according to the sisters’ specifications, and harvest is overseen and conducted by the Contis themselves. The Spanna (pure unblended Nebbiolo), like the Boca, is aged in a combination of smaller and larger used wood—in this case, for two years—and sulfur here, too, is kept to a bare minimum and applied only at bottling. If the Boca is driven more by its titanic minerality, the Spanna is built on a sense of kinetic energy—a wine of lift and drive rather than power. Fruits here are pitched higher and complemented by a more vertically oriented layering of spices and mountain herbs, and its tannins, while certainly not shy, serve to augment this impression of verticality with their lip-smacking freshness. This is mountain Nebbiolo at its finest and most articulate.|
Boca il rosso delle donne: The flagship of the estate, the Boca is 75% Nebbiolo, 20% Vespolina, and 5% Uva Rara. Spontaneous fermentation takes place in steel cuve and the three varieties are vinified separately. They are assembled prior to barrel aging, which lasts at three years in both 500L “botti” and a variety of larger formats, with no batonnage. No sulphur is added at any stage until a minimal dose at bottling. In 1996, the Conti sisters added the name ‘il rosso delle donne’ to add their mark to the family tradition.
2017 Castello Conti Vino Rosso di Alto Piemonte Origini The 2017 Origini Vino Rosso di Alto Piemonte is Croatina, Nebbiolo, Vespolina, Dolcetto di Boca and Uva Rara. Readers will find an intense wine that melds together rich, exotic dark fruit with all the energy that is typical of Alto Piemonte reds, a combination that works
The story of the Conti sisters in Boca is a twofold triumph: as ultra-committed winegrowers who are reclaiming and replanting old vineyards in this difficult-to-farm zone, they are part of a larger effort to restore the Alto Piemonte to its pre-phylloxera glory and productivity; and, as visionary, trend-bucking women in a deeply conservative rural area,
Hey gang, I had a very impressive half-dozen wines in my bag yesterday, but one in particular really reached out and throttled me… I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences as I have with young Conti Boca being somewhat reticent and closed-in on itself–a beautifully muscled runner that still needs to warm up before she