The Unique Wines of Cascina Ebreo

 

When I was the wine director of i Trulli restaurant in NYC, we carried the wines of Cascina Ebreo. These are unique wines and I always wanted to meet Peter Weimer, the man who produced them. Even though the invitation to meet Peter and taste his wines was scheduled for the night I was to leave for Rome, I just had to go.  Along with Peter the other speaker was the young enologist Gian Luca Colombo.

Peter and Gian Luca

Many years ago Peter Weimer, a successful businessman and wine collector, drove from Switzerland to the Langhe in Piedmont. He visited the producers and brought back their wines. Peter liked the wine so much and visited so many times that he became friends with many of the producers. He would bring bottles of Burgundy and other wines to share with them when he visited.  Eventually, Peter and his wife, Romy Gygax, decided to follow the advice of friends.  They moved to the Langhe and bought a winery.

In 1991 he brought Cascina Ebreo (Ag.Agr Weimer Gygax) with its southwest oriented vineyards not far from the town of Novello.  It was called Cascina Ebreo from the 18th century but no one knows why.

Peter stated that his vision for making wine in Piedmont is: “unruly, sincere, spontaneous, anarchic and crazy just like all great wines should be.” He is not  your typical winemaker and in many ways he is just as unique as his wines.

Rosso made from 70% Dolcetto from grapes which were not crushed, 20% Barbera Segreto and 5% Nebbiolo Tobido. The production zone is Bricco del Gallo, Dogliani- Ravera subzone Nivello. The Rosso and Barbera are pressed together, while the Nebbiolo is included in the end during the malolactic fermentation. Spontaneous fermentation takes place with 25 to 30 day maceration in steel. The wine is aged in Austrian oak for four months and another six months in bottle before release. This is a fragrant, fresh straightforward wine that can be drunk young or can age.  It has aromas and flavors of red and black fruit.

Segreto 100% Barbera from vineyards in the Ravera subzone of Novello from late harvest grapes. The exposure is east/northeast. Pressing and spontaneous fermentation takes place in steel, with maceration between 25 and 30 days. It is bottled without filtration. The wine is aged in German and Austrian oak barrels and spends at least two years. Peter described the wine as “a singularly severe and selective wine, it charms and seduces with its complex profoundness, enigmatic emotionally and indescribable mystery.”

“Sinché… ” 2015 100% Sauvignon Blanc, clones from the Loire Valley and Friuli. Vineyards in Novello until 2016. From 2017 in San Sebastiano subzone of Monforte D’Alba. The grapes are immediately pressed in a closed bladder press and the wine is transferred to stainless steel tanks. After 48 hours the must is separated from the solid parts and transferred to barriques of which some are new for fermentation. The wine remains here for 28 months in contact with the yeast left over from fermentation. Each week the battonage takes place. Then the wine is separated from the yeast and returns for 6 months to steel tanks. After it is bottled, no filtering, it remains in bottle for two years before release.

Peter’s description is “A unique Sauvignon, it is aromatic, complex and mercurial in character. The perception of wood is muted, almost imperceptible, but it aids in the longevity of the wine.”

Gian Luca Colombo made the Rosso and the 2015 Sinchè… in cooperation with Peter. In 2014 Jean Luca was voted the best young enologist in Italy. Peter hopes Gian Luca will follow his path of winemaking.

Peter gave the name Torbido! to this wine because when he presented his first vintage to the DOCG commission to qualify as Barolo, they told him that wine cannot be labeled Barolo because it is cloudy, in Italian torbido. Peter decided to follow his own philosophy of production. No filtration or fining, organic fertilizer, natural yeast, etc. He believes that we have to live in harmony with nature. Peter never went before the commission again so his wine is not labeled Barolo.

He only uses grapes grown on the estate and the harvest is by hand.  The vineyard is 1.5 kilometers near the village of Barolo below the village of Novello, the zone is know as “Ravera.”  Both Cogno and Vietti have vineyards in this zone.

We tasted the Torbido! made from 100% Nebbiolo. Peter said that wine is produced only in extraordinary years. The wine is fermented in the classic style with a maceration of 20/25 days. Selected yeast is not used, nor is there automatic temperature control. Pete said that with pumping over or pushing down of the treber head (cap) for 3 or 4 hours, there is a maximum extraction of color and aroma. Malolactic fermentation takes place in wood.

After fermentation the wine rests in steel for a short time. Then it is transferred to second and third 600 liter Allier and Tronçais French oak of medium toast. Only some of the barrels are new. He said they replace the barrels which do not fulfill their needs any more. The wine remains here for 30/36 months with some movement to support the natural clarifying process by sedimentation. It is bottled without filtration. The wine remains in bottle for two years before release.

We tasted 6 vintages of the Torbido!  Peter described the Torbido! as a deep and structured wine. Rich and vibrant with a charming and complex personality that is endowed with lively, full and enjoyable tannins.

2010 Peter said that that the summer was perfect and the weather in September was good.

2009 He said this was a hot vintage the wines were big and much heavier than the 2010

2007. He dd not say much about this vintage

2006 has a lot of tannin

2005 was a vintage that showed what Nebbiolo should be and said it was better than the 1995

2004 was a good vintage.

These wines were classic with hints  of cherry, tobacco, tar, tea and violets. They are wines that can age.

 

 

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