Cascina Castlet, located in Costigliole d’Asti in Piemonte, has belonged to the Borio family for generations. In 1970 Mariuccia Borio inherited the estate from her father. I have been drinking wines from Cascina Castlet ever since I met Mariuccia at Vinitaly about 20 years ago. They were out of the US market for a few years and I am very happy to know that they are now available once again thanks to Artisan Selections by Romano.Brands.
Mocsato d’Asti DOCG sparkling (frizzante) 2019 wine made from 100% Moscato d’Asti. The vineyards are on well-exposed hillsides and there are about 5,000 vines per hectare. The grapes are picked by hand the first two weeks of September when they have acquired a yellow, old gold color and are ripe and juicy. Selected grapes are sent directly to the winery were they are soft pressed. The must is then cooled and filtered. The foaming is the result of a natural fermentation in an autoclave and an isobaric filler is used for bottling. This is a wine that should be drunk very young. The alcohol content is only 5.5%. The wine has a flowery and fruity bouquet with hints of apricot, peach a touch of orange blossoms and a note of honeysuckle. This is a wine that can be served as a operative, or dessert wine. $35
Barbera d’Asti “Vespa” 2019 made from 100% Barbera d’Asti The vineyards are at 300 meters and there are 5,000 vines per hectare. The soil composition is clay and limestone. Pruning and harvesting (the first two weeks of October) are done manually. The must is left in contact with the skin at controlled temperatures for 6 to 8 days. There is frequent remontages and racking is followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is bottled and released after a few months. It is a fresh fruity Barbera with aromas and flavors of cherry and blueberry with good acidity. Because of the good acidity Barbera is a wine that can go with many different foods. $35.
Litina Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2016 made from 100% Barbera grapes from hillside vineyards, which are more than 30 ears old. There are about 5,000 vines per hectare. Grapes are hand picked the first weeks of October. At the winery the must is fermented in contact with the skins at a controlled temperature for about 10 days. This is followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in medium sized oak casks for about 8 months and then in bottle for more than one year. The wine is released the second year after the harvest. The wine has hints of woodland fruits a hint of spice and a note of vanilla. $40
Polocalpo Monferrato Rosso 2016 Policalpo is the name of a vineyard whose 60% Barbera and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes make this wine. The are about 5,400 vines per hectare. Harvest is by hand the first weeks of October. The must is in contact with the skins at a controlled temperature for at least 15 days. Both varieties are fermented together. The wine is racked and malolactic fermentation is in French oak barriques. The wine is aged in barriques for 12 months and in bottle for at least 6 months. It is released the second year after the harvest. This is a complex wine wine with hints of tobacco, licorice, prune, a hint of vanilla, a touch of spice and a pleasant vegetal undertone typical of Cabernet. $48
Passum Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2016 made from 100% Barbera which comes from long established vineyards. The grapes are hand picked the middle of October and rushed to the winery for semi-drying in special are-conditioned, well-ventilated rooms. The duration of the drying depends on the vintage and therefore varies from year to year. The oenologist frequently inspects the condition of the bunches and the sugar content of the grapes. The stalkless grapes are pressed and fermented in contact with the skins in temperature contolled stainless steel tanks. The addition of selected yeasts along with frequent remontages causes regular alcoholic fermentation over the course of 15 to 18 days. The wine is then racked and kept in ideal conditions for the completion of malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in French oak barriques and medium sized conventional vats for about a year and another 6 months or more in bottle before release. This is a complex full bodied wine with hints of plum, red fruit jam, and a hint of vanilla. This is a wine that will age. $65
Uceline Monferrato Rosso 2013 Made from 100% Uvalino. Harvesting is carried out towards the end of October when the grapes reach a perfect ripeness. The bunches are hand picked and carefully selected and then go into a well ventilated, temperature room called a “fruit house.” Here they stay for over a month and become slightly over ripe and begin to wither. The must from the pressing is partially destemmed and undergoes fermentation and lasts for 20 days. Frequent stirrings causes the total dissolution of the anthocyans and the various phenolic components that for this wine play a very important role. Malolactic fermentation and aging take place in 5HL oak barrels.
The bottles rest for about a year before they are released. This is a full-bodied complex aromatic wine with hints of black fruit, prunes, blueberries and sweet spices. It is tannic with good acidity and has a certain rustic quality. It is a wine that can age. $65
Wine made from the Uvalino grape is the rarest of wines, a luxurious wine to impress which was given to give to the priest or the doctor or any one of importance or to be drunk on special occasions. Having this single-grape raisin wine in the house was a sign of wealth. The birds, ucelli, depicted on the bottle give the wine its name because they liked to eat the grapes because they were so sweet.
The Uvalino grape was save from extinction by Mariuccia Borio. This is the first time I have had wine made from this grape and it was an experience.