- Piedmont, Italy
Crealto is the creation of husband and wife Eleonora Costa and Luigi Armanino, originally from Genoa. In their former life, Eleonora was an audiologist and Luigi an engineer. Looking for a change of scenery and lifestyle, and already in love with traditional Piedmontese varieties, they responded to a promising real estate ad which led them to purchase 4.5 hectares of vineyard land from a man named Carlo Quarello. Little did they know at the time that Mr. Quarello was dubbed "the Master of Grignolino" by Luigi Veronelli, one of Italy's preeminent wine writers. Veronelli collected and aged Quarello's wines, made from this isolated vineyard outside the village of Alfiano Natta, in the far north of the Monferrato zone. There is not a monoculture of vines here, and only a few like-minded young producers working naturally. Eleonora and Luigi made their first vintage in 2008.
The vineyard sits at 350m in elevation, and consists of 2 hectares of 60-year-old Grignolino, as well as 3 hectares of Barbera and 1.5 hectare of Nebbiolo, both of which are 20 years old. The site was known as the Crè Alto (Crè is Piedmontese dialect for chalk). The estate is certified organic and all harvesting is done by hand. In the cellar the use of SO2 is kept to a minimum, with small amounts added after racking. The wines are often kept in tank for an extended period and released later than their peers. Since 2013, Crealto has declassified their wines in order to avoid the appellation’s tasting panel from interfering in their process.
They also run an agriturismo with creative local fare (adding a few Genovese touches, of course) and a guesthouse.