Azienda Fratelli Revello: an interview with Carlo Revello

On the 22nd of June 2014, the Langhe zone (including the commune of La Morra), together with the Roero and the Monferrato zones, has been included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage.

 

The history and the family

Carlo took over the management of the estate in 1987 and he was joined by his brother Enzo in 1990.

1993 is the year when the wines started being made in a style which responded to the philosophy of the two brothers: short fermentations with the skins, small oak ovals.

The grandfather of Carlo and Enzo was a sharecropper of the local parish of San Martino. In 1967 he bought the first plot after which other plots were added to the property over the years. At first the vineyard extension was 5 hectares with an average production of 25,000 bottles per year, at present the vineyard extension is 14.5 hectares with an average production of 85,000 bottles/year.

Conca was the last cru to be purchased (in 2000) while the crus of Gattera and of Giachini were purchased by the father of the two brothers.

Carlo mainly follows the work in the vineyards, Enzo mainly follows the work in the cellar (although Carlo and Enzo both work as agronomists and as oenologists).

There is a full time employee and seasonal labour is employed.

Erik, the son of Carlo, and Simone, the son of Enzo, both study at the “Scuola Enologica” (School of Oenology) of Alba while Elena, the daughter of Enzo, studies foreign languages and Niklas, the younger son of Carlo, studies at the “Liceo Scientifico” (scientific high school).  They are the future of the estate! Paola, wife of Carlo and who is Swedish, and Luciana, wife of Enzo, work at the estate’s wine shop, help with the tastings and take care of the delightful Agriturismo (a lovely place to stay in La Morra!).  

 

The crus

Gattera is adjacent to the winery. The symbol of Gattera is the beautiful cedar of Lebanon planted right on the top of the hill in 1856. The soil is white, calcareous. It yields wines that are austere, with evident tannins and with a good acidity. The exposure is south-east. The wines made from these vines are matured in large Slavonian oak casks in order to enhance their classical character. This cru is different from the other ones of the area. A part of the vines were planted in 1954 and a part in 1987. All the vines follow the contour lines of the hill. The first vintage of Revello’s Barolo Gattera was 1999 and large oak has been utilised since 2001 for the wines.

Vineyard extension of Azienda Revello: 1.3 hectares

Total vineyard extension of the cru: 20 hectares

 

Giachini is the natural continuation of the Rocche dell’Annuziata vineyard. Its fully southern exposure is extraordinary. The soil is lighter, than the one of the other crus, with a small percentage of sand. It is an historical cru. The vines of Giachini were planted by the grandfather of Enzo and Carlo in 1954.  Distinctive features of the wines are principally their elegance and a nose with notes due to evolution such as china root. This was the first vineyard to be vinified on its own. The first harvest took place in 1994. The wines, as for the other crus with the exception of Gattera, mature in French oak barriques, half of which are new and half of which are second and third use.

Vineyard extension of Azienda Revello: 1 hectare

Total vineyard extension of the cru: 3.5 hectares

 

Conca is next to the homestead and below the road that goes to La Morra. It is a natural and very protected amphitheatre. The exposure is a full south. It is the warmest vineyard of the estate. The vines of Conca were planted part in 1954 and part in 2001.

The nose of the wines shows ripe fruit, jam notes and the wines are more “masculine” in comparison to the wines of the other crus. The first vintage produced was 2000. This vineyard was purchased by the Revello family in 2001.

Vineyard extension of Azienda Revello: 1.1 hectares

Total vineyard extension of the cru: 2.5 hectares

 

Rocche together with Brunate is the most important cru of La Morra. The part belonging to the Revello estate is tiny, only 1,000 bottles of Barolo (4 barriques) are made per year.  The vines were planted in 1954.

Vineyard extension of Azienda Agricola Revello: 0.2 hectares

Total vineyard extension of the cru: 30 hectares

 

The Barbera and Dolcetto vineyards

Barbera and Dolcetto occupy the spaces not planted with Nebbiolo. The most recent vineyards were planted by Carlo and Enzo in 1990.

Barbera Ciabot du Re is a selection, it is not a single vineyard wine. The production depends upon the vintage. In good vintages approximately 10,000 bottles are produced, otherwise the production is lower.

The vineyards of the “regular” Barbera were planted after 2000.

The vineyards of Dolcetto are the oldest. In the past the vineyards were mainly planted with this variety. Where possible, the vineyards was replanted with Nebbiolo, the plots that were not suitable for Nebbiolo were replanted with Barbera.

Enzo and Carlo have recently purchased 3.5 vineyards in Serralunga: 3 hectares of Nebbiolo for the production of Barolo and 0.5 hectares for the production of Langhe Nebbiolo.

 

The cellar

The surface is approximately 800 square meters. It was gradually enlarged over the years, the last time in 2010. The vinification sector is equipped with rotary fermenters and with vertical steel vats with temperature control and with automatic systems for the pumping over of the must. The total capacity is of 400 hectolitres. In 6-7 days all the Baroli are vinified. The vats are controlled with a computerised system. The cellar is also equipped with a pneumatic press and with a bottling plant. There is no filtering equipment.

The part of the cellar for the ageing of the wines is equipped with French Allier oak barriques (medium-light toasting). There are two large Slavonian oak casks for Gattera and for the Barolo “base”.

 

Environment friendly practices

Viticulture is carried out with a great respect for the environment. Although the estate is not certified, the practices for organic viticulture are followed. A spontaneous grass cover is left on the aisles between the rows of vines. The grass is mowed and worked into the soil. The fruit-grape moth has been controlled through the “sexual confusion” system for four years (this technique consists in placing strips emanating insect sex attractants - pheromones – in the vineyards. These pheromones mask the female insect’s own attractant so that the sexes fail to get together). The Revello estate was the first in the area to use this technique. It was then followed by the neighbouring estate and now nearly all the wineries in the area use it. It has given good results.

All the operations in the vineyard are carried out by hand. The grapes are harvested by hand and placed in crates.

During the harvest the clusters are crushed every two hours (approximately six times a day). About 8 tons of Nebbiolo for the production of Barolo are picked.

In the cellar the wines are not filtered nor clarified. The level of SO2 is well below the limit foreseen for organic wines.

 

The philosophy

“We try to create the quality of our wines in the vineyard,” Carlo Revello tells us. “where we work with the utmost rigour. We try to bring grapes with an optimal quality to the cellar. This makes the work in the cellar easier. We have made the fermentation with the skins longer and we have reduced the percentage of new wood. Our experience has made us make this decision as we saw that we had better results. In the cellar we work as little as possible: we rack the wine very little, we do not clarify nor filter the wines. Our wine is a natural product. After a few years a small quantity of deposit can form in the bottle, but we prefer it to clarifications and to filtrations….”

 

The wines

Barolo DOCG Conca

Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo

Vineyard extension: 1.1 hectares

Average production/year: 4,800 bottles

 

Barolo DOCG Gattera

Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo

Vineyard extension: 1.3 hectares

Average production/year: 5,400 bottles

 

Barolo DOCG Giachini

Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo

Vineyard extension: 1 hectare

Average production/year: 4,500 bottles

 

Barolo DOCG Rocche dell’Annunziata

Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo

Vineyard extension: 0.2 hectares

Average production/year: 1,000 bottles

 

Barolo DOCG

Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo

Vineyard extension: 6.5 hectares

Average production/year: 24,000 bottles

 

Barbera d’Alba DOC Ciabot du Re

Varietal: 100% Barbera

Vineyard extension: 1.5 hectares

Average production/year: 7,000 bottles

 

Barbera d’Alba DOC

Varietal: 100% Barbera

Vineyard extension: 2.5 hectares

Average production/year: 28,000 bottles

 

Dolcetto d’Alba DOC

Varietal: 100% Dolcetto

Vineyard extension: 1 hectare

Average production/year: 12,000 bottles

 

Langhe Nebbiolo DOC

Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo

Vineyard extension: 1 hectares

Average production/year: 6,000 bottles

 

Langhe Rosso DOC L’Insieme

Varietals: 40% Nebbiolo, 30% Barbera, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon

Average production/year: 1,000 bottles