Azienda M. Marengo: an estate where wine has been made since 1899

The history
The estate was established in 1899 by Giacomo Marengo a wine producer and the great-uncle of Marco Marengo, the present owner. In 1903 the Marengo family bought 1 hectare of the Brunate cru, one of the greatest crus of the Langhe area. Marco’s father, Mario, took the helm of the estate after the second World War in 1947. It has always been a very small winery. Barolo Brunate and a little Dolcetto and Barbera were bottled. In 2001 Mario passed away and Marco, who had been helping his father for 7-8 years, took over. Marco modernized the vinification system. Bricco delle Viole, the other cru in the zone of Barolo of which 1 hectare belongs to this estate, used to belong to the grandfather of Marco on his mother’s side.
The first vintage of Barolo Brunate was 1974 while the first vintage of Bricco delle Viole was 1997. Marco has an amazing collection of bottles of all vintages starting from 1899. He recently opened a bottle of Barolo Brunate of 1974: it was still extraordinary!

The staff
The estate is an example of a very successful family synergy: Marco Marengo is the wine maker and the agronomist supported by his son Stefano, an agricultural technician who was trained at the agricultural school of Grinzane Cavour, part of the well known “Scuola Enologica” of Alba. Jenny, Marco’s wife, takes care of the administration, of the tastings and of the marketing of the wine.
Paolo Ruaro is the consulting agronomist and Beppe Caviola is the consulting oenologist.
A co-operative of workers from Macedonia helps the family with the work in the vineyards.

The vineyards
The total vineyard extension is 6 hectares of which 3.6 hectares are planted with Nebbiolo for the production of Barolo, 1.03 hectares are planted with Nebbiolo for the production of Nebbiolo d’Alba, 0.6 hectares are planted with Dolcetto and 0.77 hectares are planted with Barbera.
The Brunate cru stands in the commune of La Morra and a small part of the vineyards stands in the commune of Barolo. The Marengo family owns 1.2 hectares of this grand cru while the total extension is 25 hectares. The exposure is a wonderful south/south-east, the altitude is 350 meters above sea level. The soil is calcareous on the surface and the deeper strata are made up of rock. The vines are 60-70 years old and the vineyard density is 3,500 vines per hectare. The vine training system is guyot. The homonymous Barolo is made from this cru.
The Bricco delle Viole cru stands in the commune of Barolo. Its name is due to the fact that many violets grow here in springtime. The Marengo family owns 1 hectare of this cru. The exposure is a full south and the altitude is 450 meters above sea level. The soil is calcareous without rocks in the subsoil. The vines were planted here at the beginning of the 1950s. The homonymous Barolo is made from this cru.
The grapes of four vineyards in the commune of La Morra (in the zones of Boilo, Serradenari, Roncaglie and Fossati), of a total extension of 1.8 hectares, go into the blend of the Barolo “base”. The grapes of each vineyard are usually vinified separately as the ripening period is different. In 2016 the grapes of the four vineyards were vinified all together as they ripened at the same time.  The average altitude is 350 meters above sea level.
Vigneto Valmaggiore stands in Vezza d’Alba in the Roero area. The extension is 0.8 hectares. The exposure is south. This vineyard is famous for the quality of the Nebbiolo grapes grown here. The vines are approximately 50 years old. The soil is loamy-clayey tending to calcareous.
The Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC Valmaggiore is made from this vineyard. The altitude is 300 meters above sea level.
The vineyards of Dolcetto and Barbera stand in the zone of Castiglion Falletto.
Vigneto Pugnane is planted with Barbera vines and the Marengo family owns 1 hectare of this vineyard. The total extension of this cru is medium-small.
The vines of Dolcetto and of Barbera are 17-20 years old.

Viticulture: the practices followed in the vineyards are integrated/sustainable and they are certified by “Valoritalia” (a company that certifies the production of DOC/DOCG wines) according to the SQNPI (National Quality System for Integrated Production).
Spontaneous cover crops are left on the aisles. Starting from 2016 leguminous plants are sown on every second aisle and worked into the soil. Only products allowed under the SQNPI are used. The vineyards are worked by hand except for a few practices that are carried out mechanically (toppings, sprayings and mowing of grass).

The Cellar: 2011 was the first vintage vinified in the new cellar of 1,000 square meters in the town of La Morra. It is all on one floor and built underground. The vinification sector is equipped with a destemmer/crusher, vertical steel vats with automatic pumping over of the must and temperature control. The ageing sector is equipped with French oak barriques (20% new) and with a humidification system. There is also a storage sector with a bottling plant and a very nice room for tastings.

The vinification and ageing of the wines:  the maceration with the skins of Nebbiolo grapes lasts approximately 10 days depending on the vintage. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations are natural: no yeast nor bacteria are added. The temperature in the cellar is raised in order to make the malolactic fermentation start. The Barolo wines mature for 24 months in French oak barriques and they are bottled during the following summer.

The production philosophy:To produce good quality instead of quantity. We drop fruit giving up much of the (potential) production in order to ensure high quality. We are convinced that the “raw material” constitutes 70-80% of a good wine. The grapes must be beautiful and healthy”.

The wines: the total average production is 35,000 bottles/year.
Marco Marengo makes three Baroli DOCG: one from the Brunate cru, one from the Bricco delle Viole cru and a Barolo “base” made from the grapes of four vineyards in the zone of La Morra. A Barolo Riserva is made from a selection of the older vines of the Brunate cru. This wine is born in the vineyard and not in the cellar. The Barolo Brunate Riserva 2011 has been released at the beginning of 2017. The other wines are Nebbiolo d’Alba Valmaggiore, made from the homonymous vineyard in Vezza d’Alba (Roero), Barbera d’Alba Pugnane, made from the homonymous vineyard in Castiglione Falletto, and a Dolcetto d’Alba from vineyards in Castiglione Falletto.

Some more details (for further details please click here to  consult the section on Marengo of our website)

Barolo DOCG Brunate
Zone: La Morra, Barolo
Cru: Brunate
Grape variety: 100% Nebbiolo
Average production/year: 5,200 bottles

Barolo DOCG Bricco delle Viole
Zone: Barolo
Cru: Bricco delle Viole
Grape variety: 100% Nebbiolo
Average production/year: 5,000 bottles

Barolo DOCG Riserva Brunate
Zone: La Morra
Cru: Brunate
Grape variety: 100% Nebbiolo
Average production/year: 800 bottles

Barolo DOCG
Zone: La Morra
Grape variety: 100% Nebbiolo
Average production/year: 12,000 bottles

Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC Valmaggiore
Zone: Vezza d’Alba
Cru: Valmaggiore
Grape variety: 100% Nebbiolo
Average production/year: 5,000 bottles

Barbera d’Alba DOC Pugnane
Zone: Castiglion Falletto
Cru: Pugnane
Grape variety: 100% Barbera
Average production/year: 5,000 bottles

Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
Zone: Castiglion Falletto
Grape variety: 100% Dolcetto
Average production/year: 4,500 bottles