Castello Conti

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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.
conti_zing Zingara Vino Rosso Croatina: One of a handful of indigenous varietal wines from the Conti sisters, the Croatina is called “Zingara” (gypsy woman). The wine spends a year in large barrel and no sulphur is added at any stage in the elevage. Dark purple in color, the wine carries black cherry notes and isn’t bashful about the tannin of the Croatina grape.
conti_boca

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.

Download Castello Conti Tech Sheet
Domaine NameCantine del Castello of Conti Elena, Anna and Paola SNC
Family/Owners NameConti
How many years has the family owned the domaine?53
How many generations?2
How many hectares of vines are leased?1 (plus one more hectare starting in the Spring 2017)
How many hectares of vines are owned?0.6
Are your vineyards or wines Organic or Biodynamic Certified? If yes, in the EU? In the US? If no, are you in the process of becoming certified? No certification, although since 2008 we have not used synthetic products, but only copper, sulphur and plant fortifiers.
Describe your vineyard management practices (e.g. low-intervention, organic, biodynamic, standard, etc.).We have never used herbicides in our vineyards. We are very careful with the quantities of copper and sulphur that we use, which is very difficult for us, since our area is very rainy. Harvesting is done by hand.
Do you do field work and harvest manually? By machine? By horse?If one year there is an excessive quantity of grape bunches that would make ripening difficult, we do green harvesting. Leaf stripping is done to have the right amount of air and light on the Guyot side.
Do you practice green harvest? Leaf thinning? How do you fertilize?When necessary, we use manure, worm casting or green manure as fertilizers.
Do you sell off any of your wine en vrac/allo sfuso?No, we only sell bottled wine.
Do you typically sell or buy any grapes? Please specify.Currently, we purchase approximately 40% of the grapes.
VINO #1BOCA DOC 2012 – il rosso delle donne
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationD.O.C. Boca “il rosso delle donne” 2012
Cepage/UvaggioNebbiolo: 75% - Vespolina:20% - Rare grapes: 5%
% Alcohol by volume0.13
# of bottles produced1000
Grams of Residual Sugar
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsOur vineyards (Motto grande and Cappelle) are located in Maggiora
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth– Southeast. Altitude: from 420 to 450 meters above sea level.
Soil Types(s)Volcanic soil containing red porphyry rocks. Granulometric analysis shows that its main content is sand, followed by silt and some clay (approximately 14%)
Average vine age (per vineyard)Approximately 35-40 yars old
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)3,000 plants per hectare
Approximate harvest date(s)From October 3
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
destemmed, %100 % destalked
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeSpontaneous fermentation in 17-hectoliter steel vats. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation ends 15 days after wine pressing.
Duration of contact with lees23 days
Select or indigenous yeast?Local yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationDuring the alcoholic fermentation, the must is punched down daily (twice at the beginning of the vinification, once when the sugar is almost done). Once the maceration on the skins is done, the wine is put in steel vats for a couple of weeks, to facilitate the separation of gross lees. Subsequently, the wine is poured into a wood barrel. Malolactic fermentation occurs naturally as soon as the alcoholic fermentation ends.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s). Duration of elevageAgeing in 8-hectoliter oak barrels started in early November 2012 until the wine was bottled on 03/31/2016.
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketBetween 7 and 10 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeWine is filtered in the bottling phase with coarse filter pads. Small quantities of sulphur dioxide were added during racking and before bottling. In the bottles, the total sulphur dioxide is 50 milligrams per liter. For Boca, 2012 was a year that I would call classic, but not too austere. The heat in August and September gave the tannins some smoothness, without losing refinement, elegance and longevity. It was a small but high-quality production.
VINO #2Colline Novaresi doc Nebbiolo 2014
GENERAL INFORMATIOND.O.C. Colline Novaresi Nebbiolo 2014
Cepage/Uvaggio100% Nebbiolo
% Alcohol by volume0.125
# of bottles produced1950
Grams of Residual Sugar
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsThe vineyards are in Briona.
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth - 300 meters above sea level
Soil Types(s)Morainic, loamy soil with silt and clay
Average vine age (per vineyard)Approximately 20 years old
Average Vine Density (vines/HA)4,000 plants per hectare
Approximate harvest date(s)From October 2014
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
destemmed, %100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and sizeSpontaneous fermentation in 50-hectare steel vats
Duration of contact with lees20 days
Select or indigenous yeast?Local yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationDuring the alcoholic fermentation, the must is punched down daily (twice at the beginning of the vinification, once when the sugar is almost done). Once the maceration on the skins is done, the wine is put in steel vats for a couple of weeks, to facilitate the separation of gross lees. Subsequently, the wine is poured into a wood barrel. Malolactic fermentation occurs naturally as soon as the alcoholic fermentation ends.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s) Duration of elevageAgeing in 10- and 5-hectoliter oak barrels starting in early November 2014 until the wine was bottled on 03/31/2016.
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketBetween 7 and 10 months
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeWine is filtered in the bottling phase with coarse filter pads.
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Small quantities of sulphur dioxide were added during racking and before bottling. In the bottles, the total sulphur dioxide is 40 milliliters per liter.
VINO #3Origini vino rosso (vendemmia 2014)
GENERAL INFORMATION
AppellationOrigini vino rosso (2014 vintage)
Cepage/UvaggioNebbiolo, croatina, vespolina, barbera, rare grapes and other local grapes.
% Alcohol by volume0.12
# of bottles produced6700
Grams of Residual Sugar
VINEYARD AND GROWING INFORMATION
Vineyard/ name(s) and locationsOur vineyards are grown in the Maggiorina tradition. They are located in Cappelle of Maggiora.
Exposures and slope of vineyardsSouth – Southeast. Altitude: from 450 to 500 meters above sea level.
Soil Types(s)Volcanic soil containing red porphyry rocks. Granulometric analysis shows that its main content is sand, followed by silt and some clay (approximately 14%)
Average vine age (per vineyard)Between 50 and 70 years old
Approximate harvest date(s)Early October
WINEMAKING/CELLAR INFORMATION
destemmed, %100% destemmed
Fermentation: vessel type and size40-hectoliter fiberglass vats
Duration of contact with lees10 days
Select or indigenous yeast?Local yeasts
Please describe wine making process for EACH wine such as: pump-overs, punch-downs, racking, movement/transfer of wine done by gravity or pumping?), battonnage, malolactic fermentation allowed, chaptalizationDuring the alcoholic fermentation, the must is punched down daily (twice at the beginning of the vinification, once when the sugar is almost done). Once the maceration on the skins is done, the wine is put into steel/fiberglass vats for a couple of weeks, to facilitate the separation of gross lees. Subsequently, the wine is poured in part into wood barrels and in part into steel vats. Maollactic fermentazione occurs naturally as soon as the alcoholic fermentation ends.
Elevage: vessel type(s) and size(s)Steel, wood and fiberglass
Duration of bottle ageing before release to US marketWine was bottled on September 4, 2015. Between 7 and 12 months.
Do you practice fining and filtration? If yes, please describeWine is filtered in the bottling phase with coarse filter pads.
Do you add sulfur? If so when and how much? How much sulfur remains in the wine at release?Small quantities of sulphur dioxide were added during racking and before bottling. In the bottles, the total sulphur dioxide is 40 milliliters per liter. This wine brought back a smile on my face, after a very laborious year. It is a wine ready for consumption, fragrant, with low alcohol content, ideal for any food and any time of the day. It is a good red wine to drink cool in the warmest months.
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2011 Conti Boca: wow…

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 […]

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Neal’s Visit to the Alto Piemonte (Oct 2013) continued

Neal’s visits in Alto Piemonte continued with a trip to Castello Conti: “Tuesday morning Oct 22 we visited with Elena and Paola Conti. Four wines were the subjects for the day.  The wines had just been bottled 10 days prior. The Nebbiolo Colline Novaresi 2012 was the most affected by the bottling, showing the dryness […]

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