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The “Crus” of Nizza

What is there to know about the “crus” of Nizza?

Many wine enthusiasts know about the crus of Barolo and Barbaresco, they know about the Nebbiolo vineyards called Bussia and Cannubi, Rabaja and Asili. They also have an idea of ​​what a cru is in Burgundy. Certainly, the terms “cru”, “geographical mention”, “terroir” or “single vineyard” are gaining space and relevance in the narration- more or less rigorous – of Italian wines. Barbera Nizza docg included.

What can we do as Nizza producers?

For two years now, thanks to the “Nizza docg map” – a historical-scientific instrument that gives a name and geographical determination to the hills and vineyards around Nizza Monferrato – each producer can show exactly where his vineyards of Barbera are located and what kind of soil they have. Also, each producer can now use this instrument to better communicate possible differences between his vineyards or to highlight on the map where do his single-vineyard wines come from.

Coppo prefers to use the term “single vineyard” rather than “cru”.

The history of our family illustrates how tradition and constant research went hand in hand, over time, with increased attention to specific and connoted portions of our vineyards. We can sum this concept up as “tightening the circle” on typicality, on areas distinguishable by characteristics, practices, scientific peculiarities.

Historically, what were the milestones of this process?

There are some years to remember. 2020 will be one of them.

Let’s start from the seventies and eighties when the Coppo brothers – the third generation of the family: Piero, Gianni, Roberto and Paolo – decided to thin out the wine catalog. They excluded some very widespread varieties and focused on the best expressions of the territory. A great deal of credit should be given to their father Luigi, who had traveled around France, had met the Burgundian producers and had passed on to his children this vision – rare for that time – to prioritize a strict selection in the vineyards, focus on quality and longevity instead of quantity, concentrate on vines and specific areas.

Which bottle marked a turning point?

The emblem of this new approach was the first vintage of Pomorosso, in 1984.
This particular wine, constantly awarded with the Three glasses by Gambero Rosso, contributed greatly to the recognition of Barbera variety. The idea behind Pomorosso – here is the point – was to demonstrate the potential and evolution of Barbera based on a specific area of ​​vineyards, marked by tradition and character. At the time, that area was not even considered as a geographical mention of the vast territory of Barbera d’Asti docg. Luckily, over time, a group of local producers, joined by Coppo with enthusiasm, began to promote the peculiarities of the vineyards around Nizza Monferrato to achieve – to the present days – the recognition of the DOCG Nizza.

The first “single vineyard”

Fifteen years after the first Pomorosso, Coppo tightens the circle further by choosing its favorite vineyard, the Family Reserve, located in Castelnuovo Calcea, in the Gavelli area. In 1998, with those grapes only, the Riserva della Famiglia wine was born, the crown jewel of Coppo’s range, produced only in exceptional years and in a very limited number of bottles; using the classification of Nizza, this wine is technically a “Nizza Riserva”.

If in the first passage the circle was tightened on a delimited area of ​​ Barbera, now we have moved on to the “single vineyard”.

What are Coppo’s “single vineyards of Nizza”?

After the Riserva della Famiglia, two other Coppo vineyards – today “Nizza vineyards” – Pontiselli and Bric del Marchese, in the municipalities of Agliano and Nizza Monferrato, after years of study and research became two different labels. In fact, in 2017 they were bottled separately to be available right from autumn 2020.

Coppo’s “Nizza” wines come from the heart of the Nizza docg area and highlight the typicality of three vineyards, subject of continuous study and experimentation.

So, which Nizza labels does Coppo have?

Pomorosso is the “classic” Nizza: the grapes come from all the different Coppo vineyards from the Nizza area and summarize the peculiarity and richness of the denomination. The Riserva della Famiglia refers to a single vineyard in Nizza and is the best expression of Barbera for Coppo, classified as Nizza Riserva. Bric del Marchese and Pontiselli are the new “single vineyards” of Coppo, the new labels released from 2020 based on the 2017 vintage. In this way, alongside Pomorosso, we will be able to appreciate and discuss the specificities of the three vineyards of origin, vintage after vintage.