To discuss white Piedmontese wines and attribute great importance to them as Coppo has done for the past 30 years might seem strange, as Piedmont is a land of great red wines. In reality, several white grapes are included among the oldest native grape varieties of Piedmont. For example, Cortese (whose name comes from “wine for the royal corte,” or nobles’ court); and overall Moscato, whose presence has been recorded in Piedmont since the 13th century. Not long after these first recordings, Moscato found its land of choice in Canelli.
The production of red wines was already broad and widespread, but for the most part destined for the populace. It was a high quality white wine that was destined to just a noble few. In addition, to think that Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, and other varieties only recently arrived in Piedmont is another common error.
Many think that the French imported these; on the contrary, it was Filippo Asinari, count of San Marzano and Costigliole d’Asti, who fell in love with these French varieties. This extraordinary man, a politician and valued military strategist, returned from France in the early 1800s with several different vines in tow – among which were Chardonnay, Pinot Nero, and Cabernet Sauvignon – and grew them at his estate in Costigliole d’Asti.
These varieties continue to endure today because the composition of our soil and microclimate is conducive to their growth.
Here, the marine sedimentary soil is calcareous and composed of white marl and clay. The strong presence of minerals, including gypsum, ferrous conglomerates, and calcium carbonate give Gavi and Chardonnay great minerality, savoriness, and longevity.