Soliti Merlot – Merlot cranked up to 11.
Acquired by leading Piemonte producer Araldica in 1999 following years of neglect, this exceptional estate in the Monferrato hills has undergone extensive restoration and replanting. Now around 70ha of the total 102ha are in full production, with the warmer, southwest-facing slopes used to grow Barbera, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – whilst the northeast slopes are ideal for more aromatic varieties Brachetto and Moscato, along with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
The ‘Il Cascinone’ range (and part of the Alasia range) is produced with grapes sourced from Araldica’s most prized vineyards, both on the estate itself and from other selected sites. This includes the further d’Annona vineyard in the village of Fontanile – purchased by Claudio Manera in 1998. This south-west facing vineyard is a source of premium quality Barbera, from vines over 60 years old. Grapes from d’Annona are brought to Il Cascinone for vinification.
All harvesting at Il Cascinone and d’Annona is by hand. The Araldica winemaking team of Claudio Manera, Lella Burdese and Carlo Manera oversee all production.
The Merlot grapes are grown in a single block of just 2.5 Ha, planted in 2000 on south, south west facing slopes to encourage ripening. Cool nights on the hillside vineyards also encourages the development of fruity characters in the finished wine.
The science bit
The must is carefully fermented at controlled temperatures to ensure plenty of fruit extraction. The wine is bottled young without wood ageing to preserve the fruit character.
What’s it go with:
Drink with grilled red meats, roast duck, rich stews or pasta with intense tomato sauces.
2011 Vintage: “Compact nose of prune and figs with a hint of thyme and rosemary notes. Wild cherry and chocolate flavours.” Judges comments, DWWA 2013