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Bric del Marchese and Pontiselli, two new Nizza wines from Coppo’s vineyards

Coppo Pontiselli Bric del Marchese

After years of research and experimentation, Coppo is releasing two new labels, both Nizza docg, called “Brich del Marchese” and “Pontiselli”. The goal is to highlight and promote the specificity of two vineyards representative of two distinct areas of the appellation. The 2017 vintage, with only 2000 bottles produced for each label, will be available from the beginning of the autumn season 2020.

From Coppo’s vineyards, the 3 Nizza crus

In order to fully grasp the importance of these new labels for Coppo, it is important to understand the significance of “Nizza” for the family. 

The 2016 vintage of Pomorosso, the first edition of the family’s flagship wine labeled as Nizza, marked a turning point, but only nominally. The end of a “Barbera d’Asti” chapter and the beginning of the “Nizza” one. But Pomorosso remained the same. 

In the last few years, Coppo kept renewing and extending its estate properties following a well-defined strategy: gain access and ownership of the best vineyards located in this territory so fitting for Barbera. The new appellation “Nizza docg” set the scene for this type of strategy by defining the production area through a process of exclusion: only 18 municipalities, as opposed to the 167 of Barbera d’Asti. 

Where are the vineyards of Nizza owned by Coppo?

It’s time to look at the Nizza map. It’s very detailed, designed by Alessandro Masnaghetti. The different municipalities of Nizza Docg were divided in “areas” (or “Cru”), each one characterized by its own specificity.

Coppo’s vineyards are located in the western part of the map, on three different areas: “Bric del Marchese”, on the borderline of the municipality of Nizza Monferrato, “Gavelli” in Castelnuovo Calcea and “Pontiselli” in Agliano Terme.

Coppo and its 4 Nizza

From the vineyards located in these 3 areas, Coppo produces 4 Nizza wines.

(It’s important to remember that the Nizza appellation dictates not only the origin of grapes strictly from 18 municipalities but also the use of 100% Barbera and a minimum aging of 18 months, of which at least 6 in oak).

Pomorosso is Nizza in a nutshell, representing the highest synthesis of three different areas. This wine embodies the essence of Nizza for Coppo, showcasing a unique and recognizable style over the years.

Bric del Marchese and Pontiselli are the 2 new Nizza wines. 

Coppo decided to adopt even longer minimum aging than the one requested by the appellation.

According to Roberto Coppo, production manager: “After many years of tasting, we kept finding recurring differences between the grapes of the 2 areas (Bric del Marchese and Pontiselli). So we decided to highlight the specificity of those berries and bottle them separately. We’ve always vinified each area separately, but we used to blend them at the end for Pomorosso.”

Riserva della Famiglia comes from a third area, Gavelli, in the municipality of Castelnuovo Calcea. Produced from a single vineyard, among the oldest that the family owns, it was first produced in 1998. Vinified every year, but bottled only in the exceptional vintages. Today, it’s labeled as a “Nizza Riserva”, to testify the longer aging.

The personalities

The winery organized a horizontal tasting of its 4 Nizza wines, vintage 2017, in January at Relais San Maurizio in Santo Stefano Belbo, to announce its new labels.

Gianni Fabrizio, a well-known expert of Bourgogne and Piedmont, lead the tasting and depicted the different aspects of this “zoning” project. Bearing in mind the features of this variety, the tasting focused on the differences.

“We all know Pomorosso very well, it truly encapsulates the other 3 wines” Fabrizio said. “Ready to drink and balanced, only 3 years after the harvest”.

Moving to the new labels, “Bric del Marchese – with a significant presence of clay in the soil – is round, smooth, powerful, voluminous on the nose and the palate, with lower acidity and tannins. Pontiselli – with a more compact soil – is more tannic and has a higher acidity. Seems sharper, but destined to last with elegance and finesse”. 

Riserva della Famiglia, crown Jewel of Coppo’s production, shows some common traits with Pontiselli (the areas of Pontiselli and Gavelli are close, with a comparable soil, while Bric del Marchese is a few miles away). “We have to consider here that this vineyard is older and we’re currently tasting this wine way in advance. It won’t be released on the market before a year”, Fabrizio said.

For the growth of Nizza Appellation

While presenting the new labels, Luigi Coppo wished for the development of the whole Nizza appellation and for a common effort by the producers.

 “Pontiselli and Bric del Marchese are not owned by Coppo only. As the other Nizza areas, these are historical names adopted by Masnaghetti’s map. We hope that many other producers will start putting these names on their labels. The objective here shouldn’t be to rank the crus or the producers but to help the production chain of the Italian wine market. We have to remind people, in Italy and abroad, of the enormous heritage and diversity of this territory, its vineyards, and wines, its landscape and men. It is our duty to support people in getting to know this appellation so representative and multifaceted” said Luigi Coppo.