Recently we talked about Barolo winery Paolo Scavino. We had pending talking to winemaker Elisa Scavino and here is our conversation with her.
Buongiorno Elisa, and thank you very much for your collaboration. In our article, we talked about the Barolo wars in regards to the use of oak for ageing wines. What was the position of Scavino family?
I would like to say that my family and I are not interested in this “oak controversy” which is much more felt and endorsed by other producers. The ageing of wines in oak is one of the countless aspects of the winemaker work. The Barolo region and wines are appreciated because of our indigenous grapes, particularly Nebbiolo, and a unique and hilly territory made of different microclimates and soils, which come through the wines.
What kind of barrels do you prefer for your wines?
It really depends on the grape, on the wine. For our white wine, the Langhe Bianco Sorriso, we choose and like stainless steel as well as for our Vino Rosso, Dolcetto d’Alba and one of our Barbera d’Alba. We age for six – ten months in used oak-barrels our Barbera d’Alba “affinato in carati” and Langhe Nebbiolo then they both spend approximately six months in stainless steel before the bottling. For our Barolo we use 225-liter barrels (barriques), larger barrels (cask) of 25-50 HL and stainless steel before the bottling.
How do you balance the use of new and used barrels?
We season the new oak since we do not desire extraction from oak. However, before that it is important that the oak be of excellent quality so that it interferes as least as possible with the delicate and complex aromatic profile of Nebbiolo.
How are your vineyards located in Castiglione Falletto?
Castiglione Falletto is the village to whom we belong and where our winery is located since 1921. We own seven vineyards in this commune from the “menzioni geografiche aggiuntive” Fiasco, Altenasso, Vignolo, Solanotto on the western side of the village and Rocche Monriondino, Rocche di Castiglione, Pernanno on the eastern side of the village. Castiglione Falletto is in the heart of the Barolo region and from this commune we have Barolo wines with quite diversified personalities, one vineyard from the other.
And those in La Morra and Verduno?
The vineyards that we own in La Morra are from the “menzioni geografiche aggiuntive” Rocche dell’Annunziata, Bricco Manescotto and Annunziata purchased in 1990, 1992 and 1997. Among those, Rocche dell’Annunziata is the highest in elevation, approximately at 340 mt. The vineyard is split in two plots both exposed to Southeast with a frank-silty soil, very light in color and with a very fine texture. The Barolo from this vineyard is detailed and complex in the aromatics with a layered structure and quite elegant tannins.
In Verduno village, we own a little less then one hectare from the Monvigliero vineyard, which can be considered the township’s Grand Cru. Here we are on the Northern edge of the Barolo growing area on a hill Southeast exposed approximately at 300 meters above sea level. The soil is light-colored and pretty loose-textured. The proximity to the Tanaro River, running about 1 mile away, determines a particular microclimate in this vineyard. This hill, though well sunny during the day, is always caressed by a cool evening breeze that reduce the temperature contributing to the aromatic finesse and charm.
Do you have a favorite vineyard to work?
I like to be exposed to the diversity that each vineyard offers. Their rhythm is different, so are their needs. Working with each vineyard gives me a way to have a better understanding of our territory.
Which of these vineyards best show the true character of a Barolo wine?
Each vineyard gives a different Barolo. There is not one vineyard that shows most Barolo character then another one, in my opinion, because they all are true expression of the territory. The beauty of our region stands in the diversity that it offers and also any vintage is the same.
Different vineyards make different wines. How the character of each plot is shown in the wines?
Each vineyard has unique pedological profile, chemical-physical qualities, biodiversity, microclimate. In fact even just observing the morphological profile of our territory it is perceptible the level of complexity. This means that each vineyard gives Barolo with unique aromatic and texture profile, unique personality.
How do you want your wines to show their character?
I’d like each of our Barolo to show purely the Nebbiolo grape character that is recognizable and distinctive from any other grape. Then, of course, the characteristics of the vineyard where it comes from and the vintage.
What makes a Paolo Scavino Barolo different from the others?
I heard several times customers saying that they recognize producers in blind tastings. The contribution, the influence of the winegrower is a fact and it is essential. I usually find in our wines intensity and complexity in the structure, cleanness, precision in the aromatics and elegance. The Barolo develops well overtime.
Three of your Barolo Cru wines, Bric dël Fiasc 2010, Bricco Ambrogio 2010 and Bricco Cannubi 2010 were chosen among the best Barolos of that vintage, including a perfect score for Bric dël Fiasc. How is this level of excellence reached for a family winery?
We believe that to make the greatest wines it takes the greatest grapes and a sensitive winegrower able to valorize what he has been given from Nature.
Which of your Barolo wines are you most proud of?
I’m proud of all our Barolo. To me, they all have a special value for different reasons. Of course the Barolo Bric dël Fiasc is the connection to our family’s origins and not only I love its qualities, its elegance and force, but also it’s particularly dear to me for all what it means and the memories it recalls to me.
What’s your winemaking philosophy?
It’s a continuous learning process and my father Enrico is a great teacher. He inspires and he spurs me all the time. I think that working with Nebbiolo in Langa imposes a certain rigor. It demands to vinify in the most pure way, without dispensable interferences, in order to show into the wines the truest expression, the beautiful grape’s nuances and finesse. The road is marked.
What kind of wines you do drink when you are not working?
I am curious and I like to try different wines from different region. I enjoy a lot Champagne and recently I am learning about the beautiful wines from Loire region.
Grazie mille, Elisa!!
Photos (c) Paolo Scavino