Montalbera, the warm abode of indigenous grapes in Monferrato
Monferrato in Piedmont is a territory recognized worldwide for the quality of its wines, that are the result of native grape varieties capable of expressing unmistakable aromas and scents. In this generous land, the Morando family for three generations has dedicated itself with passion to the enhancement of native grapes, starting with Ruchè (which covers 60% of the 110 hectares planted with vines in the family estate located between Castagnole Monferrato, Castiglione Tinella and Montemagno), Grignolino d’Asti, then Barbera d’Asti and Barbera del Monferrato, and finally Nebbiolo (among the most renowned varieties in Piedmont for its aging capacity).
Montalbera today is lead by Franco Morando, scion of a Piedmontese family of entrepreneurs who pioneered pet-food, known as “the prince of Ruchè” but also as a man of great creativity and inspiration. Such was the case when he designed the Montalbera cellar in Castagnole Monferrato, where nothing has been left to chance, from the warm living room that greets you with a timelessly elegant Fraü sofa, to the dedicated private tasting room where he creates the wines with his enologists Daniel Morellato and Nino Falcone, to the experimental barrique cellar with fine woods of different toasting, then the amphorae room where the Grignolino matures, to the newest and most luxurious wine suites each
equipped with a private gazebo and Jacuzzi overlooking the vineyards.
The many awards received by Montalbera make it a champion of Monferrato. “I owe the strong bond that I have for this territory to my grandfather Enrico, who loved Grignolino very much, and I, too, immediately dedicated myself to the valorization of native grapes, especially Ruchè, which represents about 60 percent of the entire production in the region. This year we will plant 7 more hectares at the Tower of San Vittore in Montemagno and 3 hectares right in front of the winery.
Ruchè is a wine but also the expression and economy of a territory, and I believe that only by enhancing its peculiarities and uniqueness can we contribute to its growth, development and recognition of its value in a Region that marks the history of wine in Italy.” Wine is life that evolves by reflecting vintage trends, but not only that. The expressiveness of a grape variety can
amaze if interpreted by following different production protocols, as is the case at Montalbera where Grignolino Lanfora ages for 10 months in large terracotta amphorae of various sizes from Impruneta and then additional months in the bottle. Just like Nebbiolo, developing an ethereal and intense bouquet with hints of roots, curry and earth. Or where the Ruchè Riserva Limpronta was born, the first vintage on the market just in 2022 thanks to the change in specifications strongly advocated
within the Consorzio by Franco Morando. And then, almost a whim, the Ruchè Laccento IGA beer, an ideal meeting point between the Monferrato territory and the experience of the beer world. Malt, hops and fine Ruchè grapes blend harmoniously to give life to an original and unique idea, far from any industrial standardization. “The great Mario Soldati said wine is poetry of the earth, created by the wise hands of man I would add.” This is the unique summary of the thought of Franco Morando, entrepreneur and winemaker by passion.