Any time I visit cellars in the Langhe area I always come back home full of positive energy and lots of inspiring stories and ideas. It couldn’t be different after my meeting with Sara Vezza Saffirio, a young and entrepreneurial winemaker at Josetta Saffirio in Casteletto (Monforte d’Alba). A 23-year-old girl, she already decided to stay in the area and to continue the family tradition of making wines.
Sara Vezza Saffirio
It was my second visit to Josetta Saffirio's vineyard. During a course I took for wine lovers I had two classes with Roberto Vezza, Sara’s father, an enologist who told us (in a very funny and interesting way) about red and white wine production process. One lesson took part in the Josetta Saffirio vineyards. It is characteristic with its facility rooms showing natural winemaking processes – the maceration of submerged cap, then malolactic fermentation takes place in a separate room with controlled temperature, then the wine is moved to the cellar with barrique and botti, spends more time in stainless steel and cement tanks, and ends up in the spacious room dedicated to bottling and labeling.
malolactic fermentaion room
barriques where part of Barolo wine matures
and botti used also for wine maturing
less popular cement tanks
But this time, I meet with Sara who greets me in front of the winery, starting with a fascinating story about women’s business. For two generations, women struggled with everyday difficulties in grapevine cultivation and with challenges in wine production. Josetta Saffirio, Sara’s mother, as a young girl decided to continue the family tradition originated by her father who inherited land in Casteletto at the beginning of 20th century. In 1985, she launched her first Barolo, produced from the oldest grapevine planted just after the war. In her everyday work, she was supported by her husband Roberto Vezza working as an enologist in Marchesi di Barolo vineyard. In the second half of the 90's, 23-year-old Sara joined the family business, and now she manages the vineyard and takes care of her family at the same time.
new (on left) designed by Sara and the old vetion of labels prepared by Josetta
While she was showing me the cellar, I listened to her talk about modern practices she introduced – solar panels that cover 200% of their needs, bottles obtained from 90% recycled material, and many others such as reducing chemicals used in the vineyards. Sara and her family believes that as farmers they take full responsibility of the land that will be inherited by the next generation. They respect the soil that feeds them and gives the the fruits of their hard work.
example of wines produced in Josetta Saffirio winery
a nice gnome taking care of wine making process
My visit in the cellar finished with a tasting. In a spacious, elegant room decorated with family paintings, I indulged in an old and well structured Langhe Bianco DOC 2008, then Langhe Nebbiolo DOC 2013, and a spectacular, perfectly balanced Barolo DOCG 2011 (by the way, you need to know it is a fabulous vintage for Piedmontese wines because of very hot and sunny summer and autumn. I remember in October, some days the temperature reached 30° C…). Sara showed me also a lovely collection of glasses made of cut bottles, a large line of Barolo based cosmetics, plus elegant and scented candles.
Find more information about the vineyard and winery on: http://www.josettasaffirio.it/?lang=en
If you happen to visit the Langhe area you should step in the gnome’s cellar, as guests are always welcomed. And who knows maybe you will be lucky to meet some mysterious friend of the family…
I’m Polish blogger and freelance journalist tasting “la dolce vita” by traveling around Piedmont. As Italia is my passion since the childhood I’m happy having the chance to discover the kingdom of great cuisine and probably the best wines in the world, but also charming little towns and interesting history. My blog Bel Piemonte (available also in Polish and in Italian) was born to show the beauty of this region and to encourage others to discover this part of the Apennine Peninsula.Website: www.belpiemonte.com/en/