Langhe Nascetta Comune di Novello, Franco Conterno 2021


13 in stock

Street Wines View:

75cl bottle.


The Franco Conterno estate is very much a family affair. The estate`s oldest vines were planted by Pietro Conterno before being passed on to his son Giacomo, who later passed it on to his nephew Franco, who took over in 1996. While Franco is still very much present, the day-to-day operations in the vineyard and winery rest firmly in the hands of his two sons Andrea and Daniele. Andrea, remains behind the scenes and in the vineyard, whilst Daniele has happily taken on the role of figurehead.

Bright yellow color with green reflections; rich nose with hints of pineapple, orange blossoms, exotic fruit, banana and honey.

Excellent as an aperitif wine; excellent with fish and shellfish dishes.

Critic Reviews:

Notes from Wine Alchemy

Despite Novello being one of the famous Barolo Cru villages, Nascetta has now become its symbol. But this has only taken place during the last decade.
Nascetta’s thin grape skins and late-ripening made it prone to fungal diseases, while low and irregular yields required especially laborious work. Phylloxera and two world wars also dealt it hammer blows. And, while Nebbiolo isn’t exactly a cinch to
grow either, that grape could fetch far higher prices. After all, Barolo is one of the world’s most prestigious red wines.
And so Nascetta became forgotten. By the 1990s, only a few vine rows survived in Novello, primarily kept for sentimental reasons. The oldest of these, from 1948, were remnants in two vineyards. Those would become responsible for the rediscovery and
renaissance of Nascetta.
To this day, Nascetta’s relationship with other grape varieties remains mysterious. It’s thought to be a standalone member of the Piemontese grape family. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give many clues about the best wine-growing practices, so
these had to be defined. Furthermore, Nascetta wasn’t in the official Italian grape registry at this point. Hence there were no rules or deep knowledge to call on. Officially, Nascetta didn’t even exist! In 1991, studies commenced into how best to cultivate and vinify Nascetta. Indeed, gradually gaining official recognition for Nascetta as a standalone grape variety has
required great dedication from the Novello producers. Though presented with many challenges, it was love at first taste for those involved. In 1994 Elio Cogno made 800 bottles from those remnant vines found across Novello. Le Strette soon followed. They soon inspired other Novello wineries to join in. Nascetta finally obtained official registration in 2001. Then the next hurdle was to get Nascetta authorised for use within the Langhe Bianco DOC. That came in 2002, encouraging
new plantings. Even today, the Elvio Cogno winery has the only authorisation to propagate new vine material.
Finally, in 2010, the Nascetta from Novello achieved a higher status. It became a Langhe DOC subzone, complete with specific production rules. The maximum grape yields allowed in Novello are lower than for the “generic” Langhe
Nascetta. Also, the Novello vineyards must be between 200-500 metres, with new plantings
only from 250-500 metres. Most importantly, the Novello wines must always be 100% Nascetta. Other wines from outside Novello can have up to 15% of different white varieties, such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. While this blending may create good wine, Novello’s Nascëtta is always a pure varietal wine.

In short, it all means that Novello wines have a typicity and protected identity. Moreover, this is superior to those from elsewhere in the Langhe DOC. Hence this is why the labels proudly state, “Langhe Nascëtta del Comune di Novello DOC”.
The producers set up an association in 2014 to promote the wine and the territory, with seven
founder members. Now there are twelve, and so most of Novello’s Nascëtta producers.
Wine styles
Modern precision viticulture and detailed studies now mean that Nascetta can perform well. The resultant wine is yellow with some greenish glints; it can show aromas and flavours reminiscent of Riesling, Vermentino and Sauvignon.
A hallmark of the young wines is delicious freshness. There’s an attractive savoury quality, herbal notes and a particularly saline “bite”. Unlike many other Italian white wines, Nascëtta ages well over a decade or more, gradually developing honey and vanilla complexity. It means that these wines can be enjoyed young or aged further, according to preference. Most Nascetta wines are dry. Optional skin contact provides an opportunity to extract more aroma and bring a little tannic structure for ageing. A project has also identified the optimal strain of natural yeast with which to ferment the grapes. Mainly, fermentation uses stainless
steel. There is usually no secondary, malolactic fermentation. Hence fresh acidity is preserved. Subsequent maturation requires a minimum of five months. Producers avoid oak flavours to best show varietal character, though fermentation and maturation can feature inert wood.
Nascetta also expresses “terroir”, conveying a sense of place in the wine according to the vineyard conditions. That ability is just like that of Nebbiolo. Perhaps then, Nascëtta can genuinely claim to be the White Barolo.