History

The ancient home of the vine

An area that has a history of more than two thousand years. A place that deserves a happy wander not only in search of good wine but also of its ancient origins. A noble and rich history where vines have always been part of the landscape: rolling hills of vineyards planted with Pinot Nero, Barbera, Bonarda, Moscato, Riesling and Croatina.

“Good wine, people
hospitable and very large wooden barrels.”

Strabone – 40 B.C.

To the origins of wine

The clearest evidence of the presence of vines in Oltrepò comes to us from the Bollettino del Comizio Agrario Vogherese of 1876, which documents the discovery of a fossilized caràsa, that is, a fossilized vine trunk, 25 cm long by 6 cm in diameter, found near Casteggio(Clastidium). If, on the other hand, we look for the first mention of viticulture in Oltrepò it belongs to Strabone, who lived between 60 B.C. and 20 A.D. And indeed, in 40 B.C., documenting his passage through Oltrepò Strabone wrote of “good wine, hospitable people and very large wooden barrels.”

Strabone, a Greek historian and geographer, describing the Oltrepadana area that extended on either side of the Via Emilia, in the section between Piacenza and Clastidium, wrote verbatim: Of the goodness of the places is proof the density of the population and the size of the cities and the wealth… The cultivated land gives many and varied products… the abundance of wine is indicated by the barrels made of wood and larger than the houses…

 

Native grape varieties

Hectares under vines in Oltrepò Pavese

A historic agricultural wealth

Of the history of wine in Oltrepò is handed down to us in writing by the scholar Ettore Cantù, who states .. . the Gallo-Ligurians of the Oltrepò hills needed to communicate with Lomellina in order to sell their abundant wine there
A detailed list of native grape varieties of dell’Oltrepò Pavese has been handed down by Professor Giuseppe Acerbi in the volume Viti Italiane published in 1825; but there is in this regard, as an inspirational source, earlier since it is dated 1550, Andrea Bracci’s work De Naturalis Vinorum Historuia De Vinis Italie. Returning to Professor Acerbi it is worth quoting verbatim high praise for viticulture practiced here and going into the merits of the grape varieties report his interest in the characteristics of a typical grape-a variety well known under the name of Pignola grape-which is textually described exquisite for its excellent flavor between sweet and bitter, capable of yielding fine wines, beautifully colored and provided with rich froth.
Foto 35
MG 5340

A vine of other times (and peoples)

Adriano Ravegnani writes in his I vini dell’Oltrepò Pavese (1974, Gabriele Mazzotta Ed): In living memory, vine cultivation has been a characteristic and vital reason for this sweet and generous Italian plaga. Who imported the vine into the Oltrepò is uncertain: some think that from Armenia, Georgia and Mesopotamia-where artifacts dating from the sixth to fourth millennia BC have been unearthed-restless Aryan peoples, by sea and river, found permanent settlement here. According to other scholars in Europe, and thus also in the region now called Italy, indigenous, native grape varieties were alligating. The two theses, however, could coincide and coexist.

The wine came later

The wine came later, writes Adriano Ravegnani: The first written account is biblical, and it is represented by a hangover, the most famous in human history: … Noah began to be a farmer and planted a vineyard. Having then drunk some wine, he got drunk…. (Genesis, 9:18-21).
A popular saying claims: Bacchus loves the hill. And in fact the very hill allows the vine, when the exposure is satisfactory, to enjoy the full benefits of the sun’s rays, to distill within the berries all those aromas and scents that will then be transmitted to the wine. The hill, then. And the whole Oltrepò is a fertile hill: in fact, the hill belongs to the Cenozoic period. Agrologically, the hillside consists of soils rich in limestone but with good phosphoric anhydride and potassium content, and composts of limestone and marly and clay shale are common.

A curious story to taste

In Oltrepò there are still-and I reap great satisfaction-historic wineries that first distinguished themselves in the world of bubbles, starting with the classic, sparkling wine (once called Champagne by us too!). Among the oldest, 1850, the Conti Vistarino estate in the Valle Scuropasso has always been considered the house of pinot nero – in an area particularly suited for this grape variety. In Codevilla, Eng. Domenico Mazza with his company Montelio (1848) introduced a bottle specifically for sparkling wine. Another dell’Oltrepò record. Poking around the records of the wine world also reveals that the first in Italy to develop a valid tasting card was Emilio Sernagiotto (Metodo Sernagiotto-A.E.I.). We are talking about the 1950s. The Oltrepadano winemaker – from Casteggio – claimed that. Tasting a wine means investigating it rationally, without any bias, engaging all the senses we have to classify, through systematic analysis, its merits and flaws.

When can we talk about viticulture in Oltrepò?

The clearest evidence of the presence of vines in Oltrepò comes to us from the 1876 Bulletin of the Comizio Agrario Vogherese, which documents the discovery of a carása fossil, that is, a fossilized vine trunk, 25 cm long by 6 cm in diameter, found near Casteggio(Clastidium). If, on the other hand, we look for the first mention of viticulture in Oltrepò it belongs to Strabone, who lived between 60 B.C. and 20 A.D. And indeed, in 40 B.C., documenting his passage through Oltrepò Strabone wrote about “good wine, hospitable people and very large wooden barrels.”

Strabone, a Greek historian and geographer, describing the area beyond the Po Valley that extended on either side of the Via Emilia, in the section between Piacenza and Clastidium, wrote verbatim: Of the goodness of the places is proof the density of the population and the size of the cities and the wealth… The cultivated land gives many and varied products… the abundance of wine is indicated by the barrels made of wood and larger than the houses

How does the history of wine relate to the history of these places?

The history of wine in Oltrepò-as in many other places in the wine-growing world-is inextricably linked with the history of the towers, fortresses, vestiges of castles and monasteries with which the area is rich. Even during the Middle Ages, a black period for wine and witchcraft (and to everything that links food and nature for human well-being), vines were raised in the areas of churches and monasteries to produce wine for Holy Mass. It was already an economic source: it was sold for the needs of the community, and just like that it also began to be important to make good wine for Sunday

How many native grape varieties are there in the Oltrepò?

In 1884 Oltrepò Pavese boasted 225 native grape varieties. Today there are over 12 between those never lost and those found. A detailed list of native grape varieties of dell’Oltrepò Pavese has been handed down by Professor Giuseppe Acerbi in the volume Italian Screws published in 1825; but there exists in this regard, as an earlier inspirational source, since it is dated 1550, Andrea Bracci’s work De Naturalis Vinorum Historuia De Vinis Italie. Returning to Professor Acerbi it is worth quoting verbatim great praise for viticulture practiced here and entering into the merits of grape varieties to report his interest in the characteristics of a typical grape – a variety well known under the name of Pignola grape – which textually is described as exquisite for its excellent flavor between sweet and bitter, capable of giving fine wines, splendidly colored and furnished with rich froth.

On the latitude of great wines

On the latitude of great wines, the grape-shaped Oltrepò is considered the home of Italian winemaking. Oltrepò lies along the axis of the 45th parallel that unites the world’s great wine-producing areas. In particular, it is considered the ideal latitude of the world’s great wines.
A land that has always had a vocation for wine, dell’Oltrepò Pavese, south of Lombardy, with rolling hills, ancient villages and green vines enchants with its charm and is prized for wine production, thanks to the unique characteristics of the soil, the special climate, but also the resourcefulness of its wineries.
Here the cultivation of Pinot Nero has taken root, which in this territory is able to express its great potential and its dual soul: that of the refined Metodo Classico bubbly and that of the prized red wine making.

Subscribe to Newsletter

To attend the Oltrepò divine even that on the web. To know what is happening and where the road to appellation wines leads. Quality. Fill out this forum, you can unsubscribe whenever you want. But we look forward to having you in our Community forever!

Via Riccagioia, 48 27050 - Torrazza Coste (PV) Lombardy - Italy

ph.+39 0383 77028

info@consorziovinioltrepo.it

Acknowledgements and sources

Photo: Ersaf / Regione Lombardia Archives, CONSORZIO TUTELA vini OLTREPÒ Archives, Alessandro Anglisani, Mario Didier, Luciana Rota.

Bibliography: I vini dell’Oltrepò Pavese, by Adriano Ravegnani, publisher Mazzotta (1974), Storie e vini dell’Oltrepò by Mario Maffi and Lorenzo Nosvelli, Edo editions (2008), Edizioni Bibenda, Vino al vino by Mario Soldati, publisher Mondadori (2006), Signori del vino by Marcello Masi and Rocco Tolfa, by Rai Libri (2016).

gal sito web