Piedmont in the northwestern corner of Italy, and bordering France, has always been an important wine-producing region, thus encouraging many ambitious growers to start their own winery. Ascheri the Elder, decided to convert his grapes to wine in 1870’s, and founded a winery in La Morra’s suburb called Ascheri. At the time, this region’s wines were sold in bulk as Rosso di Langhe and had to travel for days to reach Alba, Barolo or Turin, even then a large, prosperous industrial city with appreciable wine consumption.
Highways in Italy, particularly in hilly Piedmont were then very poor not much more then well-trodden paths from one village to the next.
Mr. Ascheri quickly recognized that to increase sales, the winery had to be close to lucrative markets. He moved it to Bra, where the House of Savoy dynasty had its headquarters. From the beginning of the 20th century to 1960, several vineyards were acquired to enlarge production and diversify in an attempt to increase sales.
Today, Giacomo Ascheri with a Ph. D. in agriculture manages all the vineyards, the winemaking process, the winery and trattoria with great care and attention to detail.
He produces fine generic and single-vineyard Barolo’s, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Syrah, Moscato d’Asti Naturale, Arneis, Gavi di Gavi and Viognier.
Syrah and Viognier are not indigenous to Piedmont, and the Italian wine law does not permit these wines to carry the coveted D O C designation, yet both are excellent aromatically in mouth feel and aftertaste.
keeps his yields low, lower than the law prescribes, the secret to deeply flavoured wines, but he also keeps his prices at reasonable levels offering good value.
During several tastings, his Barolos (Barolo Vigna Dei Pola, Serano, Coste and Bricco) stood out with their elegance, full-body, and excellent long finish. He explained how the Barolos production changed from blends of different villages to single-vineyard wines, all due to marketing efforts to distinguish generic wines.
Ascheri’s Nebbiolo d’Alba offers all aromatic and textural characteristics of the grape, his Dolcetto d’Alba is excellent, and Barbera d’Alba inimitable. Both Docletto and Barbera yield excellent wines in the hands of caring winemakers and they excel when yields are kept low. Ascheri’s Dolcetto is textbook perfect. Piedmont is better known for its red wines and Moscato d’Asti Naturale (a sweet extremely aromatic wine) and sparkling may be dry or sweet exuding Muscat aromas). Cortese grapes from Gavi yield Gavi di Gavi and Arneis are the other white grapes of the region.
Giacomo Ascheri decided to plant Viognier, from southern Rhone Valley, to see how Cotes du Rhone grape varieties would grow in Piedmont and to his delight and that of consumers, the wine tastes fruity, reminiscent of peaches and apricots, minerally, in the mouth with a full body, and superb finish.
The Vintages essentials catalogue features Ascheri’s Barolo at very reasonable cost.
Other wines mentioned above can be ordered through his Ontario agent Prevedello and Mathews.