Nadia Verrua of Cascina Tavijn is the proprietor of some seven hectares of vines that had been worked by her father Ottavio for decades. She works with grapes endemic to this particular area (Monferrato d’Asti) of Piedmont in Northern Italy. Ruché, Grignolino, and Barbera are among the principal varieties. Whereas her father would historically sell these grapes to the local cave co-op, Nadia decided to begin making wine from her family’s organic fruit - and they are delights like none other found in Asti, let alone Italy writ large. With four hectares of beautiful hazelnut trees in the hills of Monferrato, the farm overseen by Nadia (and still her father Ottavio to a certain degree) is where some of the most exciting Piemontese natural wines are being made, and where experimentation from the bedrock of consistency, experience, quality, and care takes off to wonderful results. It all may never have been, however, as has historically been tradition with many Piemontese families who only had daughters, initially her father was reluctant to let her take part in the grape-growing practice. With her mother’s insistence, however, slowly Ottavio brought Nadia on and eventually gave her the reins, as she began to make some of her incomparably light and fresh wines, showing off this other side of Asti where red-fruit with a nearly alpine clarity could shine in the midst of notes of tar, dark chocolate, and leather. Now more than two decades of production in, the wines just get better and better as she has acquired a few more hectares to work with/experiment in as well. A heart-warming side-note: her husband does not work at the winery, rather, he runs a restaurant a bit north in Turin where – naturally – the Nadia Verrua ‘Cascina Tavijn’ wines feature on an impressive wine list.
Vinification: A blend of organic Barbera and Freisa from vineyards scattered about the hills of Asti in Piedmont. Grapes are hand-harvested, followed by destemming and a gentle press to start fermentation. A longer, cold fermentation takes place over two months with no temperature control. Aged in tank and Slavonian oak for about a year before bottling. Unfined, unfiltered with a touch of sulphur at bottling.
Tasting: Dark black cherry, spruce and thyme on the nose. Black cherry, blue fruit and earth on the palate. Lightly grippy with a savory, earthy finish. A gorgeous table red that would be the perfect accompaniment to a red-sauce based dish.