On October 2, the film Nascetta Story was released, a documentary by Federico Moznich and Nemo Villeggia, produced by Stuffilm. It tells the story of a rebel wine and the winemakers who believed in it from the start.
Who is this Roman, a “foreigner” in Piemonte, and what is he doing in the vineyards of Novello? Why is he taking such an interest in the grape harvest, loading the crates tirelessly, keenly observing every phase of work in the vineyards and cellar? Why is he roaming the area asking questions about the most unknown grape of this territory – the native white that comes from Barolo, a wine considered an “archaeological relic” just a few years ago?
Nascetta Story, a film by Federico Moznich and Nemo Villeggia and produced by Stuffilm (the same that produced documentaries Langhe DOC and Barolo Boys), was inspired by these very questions. It asks why Barolo, of all places, an internationally famous zone for its extraordinary red wine, is undergoing a recovery project of an ancient white variety. Why invest resources, hope, and determination to create another high quality, local wine?
“Because all too often, consumers are deprived of the opportunity to learn not just what's inside a bottle, but the slow, laborious, and very human way the wine was made,” says Moznich, director and founder of Stuffilm. “When you approach a bottle of wine, it’s not enough to say ‘I like it’ or ‘I don’t like it.’ You’ve got to see and understand how that wine came to be – what were the choices made in producing it, its history and the people behind it. Our film tells this story. It tells a human and enological story. It gives new life to wine.”
→ Scroll down to see the film trailer!←
Why did you choose Nascetta as the subject of your film?
Nemo Villeggia (the Rome native who wrote the film with Federico and who guides the viewer’s journey through the wine’s history): “Because it’s an outsider wine. As a Roman and a wine lover, I learned about the wines of the Langhe through its the famous Barolo and Barbaresco. But when I moved here for work reasons, I discovered a much richer reality, with more depth and structure that made it that much more interesting. Not least of which was a ‘rebel’ white that defied all market logic and was revived in a land of reds.”
A rebel wine?
NV: “Yes, because it’s a wine that didn’t settle for its predestined course, or even for a single course.”
In what sense?
NV: “The classic story of Nascetta begins with a legendary wine tasting between winemakers in 1993. Producer Franco Marengo opened up one bottle made from the Nascetta grape from 1987. It was white, sweet, almost a passito, a serious wine aged so that it conserved incredible freshness. The winemakers were astounded by it, and decided to begin producing Nascetta. They literally set off in search of surviving vines and began an almost clandestine production.”
So – a rebel and a clandestine wine.
NV: “Nascetta was a nonexistent wine. There was no classification that regulated its production, and you couldn’t even call it Nascetta. The producers of Novello, however, decided to defy the law and stubbornly produced a wine under that name.”
How did that end?
NV: “This is where the third story and life of Nascetta begins. After years of struggle, studies, and recognitions, Nascetta finally became a Langhe DOC wine in 2002. In 2010, it obtained the certification as Langhe Nascetta DOC of the Township of Novello, which is the only township of authorized production. But the fascinating thing is that during this period, the wine underwent totally unexpected evolutions. The producers rediscovered how to cultivate the variety, how to vinify it, how to age it. From that one single bottle that remained, thousands were born – all of them different, all of them with a different story and character.”
Nascetta is truly that unique?
NV: “Yes. It’s a wine that shows the spirit and philosophy of its maker. It’s as though every producer that tasted that last bottle in 1993 tasted something different, and decided to reproduce what they tasted in their own wines. Nascetta created a new, native microcosm.”
Nascetta is a wine that shows the spirit and philosophy of its maker.
Can you explain microcosm?
NV: “On such a tiny piece of land like Novello – today recognized as UNESCO World Heritage – the small, medium, and large wineries all live together, and they each have their own story and different approach to making this wine.”
But the wine’s communication hasn’t always been optimal.
NV: “Italy is handicapped when it comes to the international market. It hasn’t had a national level of wine marketing since I began writing about wine in 1975. I’ve noticed how promotion – for example, going to promote in the U.K. – is done through the occasional invite. It's short range. Winemakers are represented according to their small production area or region. They display their wines but sometimes they seem bored, without energy, like the event is routine or it just randomly came out of nowhere.”
Did you find any resistance from the producers in telling their stories?
NV: “All the producers we met gave us a hand in producing the film, some more than others. Some had a great talent for telling a story, others not as much, and a few only understood at the end how powerful it was to say something outside of the standard communication style. Some were afraid we were trying to steal their secrets…but we never wanted to create commercials, do reviews, or tell viewers which wine to buy. We were interested in telling the human and professional side of the story, of all those who put their money on something that didn’t exist in the beginning, and who dared to dream.”
How did you produce the film?
NV: “We’re proud to say that we didn’t receive any financial aid from self-interested winemakers, but we made it entirely with the resources of Stuffilm. We don’t do promotional videos for the winemakers, we tell their stories. Now we hope that the producers drive the film to become an ambassador for their wines.”
When was the film released?
NV: “October 2, after two years of work. Its national preview was at the Reception Hall of the Castle of Novello. The producers of Stuffilm were there, as well as the directors and all the winemakers who participated in the film, and our fans who have been following our adventure. The waiting is done – and now we’re satisfied with what we’ve created.”