We met Fausto and Cinzia Cellario on a rainy day at their winery in Carrù, a small town in on the western outskirts of the Langhe hills. They are the third generation of winemakers in this particular village. They believe in working only with local, indigenous Piedmontese grape varieties and they fiercely defend the local winemaking traditions both in the vineyards and in the cellar while practicing sustainable agriculture.
At Poderi Cellario they do not want an anonymous wine, but wine that reflects the land and the character of its producers. They do not use pesticides or other chemicals and their approach is as attentive as possible to nature.
Fausto and Cinzia believe in the breeze that from the river (Tanaro) which goes up the gullies of the Genè into their vinyards. This temperature difference of hot during the day and cool at night gives the intense fruit aromas to their Dolcetto based wines. The winemakers believe that each wine has something of them too, because every small choice throughout the year, starting from the pruning of every single vine, up to deciding the day in which to bottle the work of a year. Every bottle is their philosophy encapsulated.
Poderi Cellario's approach to farming is organic and they just use the indigenous yeasts in all the fermentations. This means that only the natural occuring yeasts on the grapes are utilized in the fermentation and no commercially produced yeasts. Sulfhur is absent or added only in small quantities during the pressing or bottling (only when necessary). The wines are not fined and the elevage happens in big oak barrels, cement tanks or raw terracotta amphora. This approach ensures that the true character of the grape and terroir is reflected in the wines - something we deeply care about at TERRA.
Fausto and Cinzia farm 13 hectars of vineyards (of which also some hazelnut trees) in three different territories covering the southern Langhe. The Dogliani plot is probably the family’s most prestigious area and they like to consider themselves as “Dolcetto Specialits”.
The vineyards are all located in the in the hilly Langhe region, in the municipalities of Farigliano, Dogliani-San Luigi, Carrù and Piozzo.
In Farigliano there is a limestone and poor land that gives structure and body to red wines, there are the marls of Sant’Agata and the soil is white. In Dogliani and Carrù the soil is more ferrous and has a red color, this gives the wine a particular elegance and peculiarity. San Luigi, in Dogliani, is an exception, there is a mixed soil, both sandstone and marl, with reddish parts, giving a lot of fruit and elegance to the wine. In Carrù and Piozzo, on the other side of Tanaro, there is a ferrous soil again, clay with a layer of sand underneath, it is good for whites and gives a lot of minerality to the wines because the vines have to take a much longer root to survive and find nourishment and hydration. Generally, the more a vine struggles, the better the fruit.
Poderi Cellario's philosopy is centered around keeping the soil alive. So they let the grass grow between the rows instead of removing it with herbicides or other chemicals. Instead of artificial fertilisers, before planting a vineyard they use manure, natural fertiliser, and periodically plant some specific plants such as legumes and grasses to nourish the soil. They only use cultivation techniques that do not harm the environment and that do not damage biodiversity because their motto is "we come from the earth and we must respect it".
The main varieties farmed are: Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Favorita, Nascetta, Grignolino.'
After extensively visiting the different territories and cellar, we were immediately invited over for lunch when visiting Fausto and Cinzia. Genuine Italian hospitality. We drank Duzatti '15 with our tajarin and thats where the 'oh my' moment happened. A dolcetto like we never tasted, a stunning one. The wine range from Poderi Cellario has it all, from fun all day drinkers to hidden gems like Duzatti. All of which resonate with our philosophy at TERRA. Try them for yourself.