Our history, everyone’s history


Nowadays the rolling hillsides between Novi and Gavi seem to have become a mythical Arcadia; declivities of peace, places where a restless soul takes comfort in the respite within the landscapes woven in a warp of rows and vineyards besieged by oak and robinia forests. Straddling the provinces of Piedmont and Liguria, nestled between the heart of Europe and the routes which branch out from Genoa into the Mediterranean to trade and conquer the old and new world, these rolling pastures are telling witnesses of human fatigue and passions. The result of millennial and bastard cross-breds. A place where populations, empires, languages, cultures and knowledge have been forged in iron and fire.


The roman limes ran along the foot of these hillsides. Rome deployed its imperial power in the valleys and in the ancient city of Libarna, but it always encountered great difficulty when it came up against those stubborn Ligurians, who obstinately fought off the forceful military power of the Legions on the hills and the Appenines. But it was actually a legionnaire who most likely planted the very first vine in the ground.


Always in the middle of barbaric wars, it was as if the whole of Europe agreed to meet in this one place and arrived dressed for battle: Barbarossa, the Genovese families whose trading with the Far East had made them rich, families with noble titles and also the Visconti families of Milan, the Sun King, Napoleon, the Austrians, the Piedmont populations. And last but not least, Italy. They were centuries of fierce wars and battles, but also of fertile encounters, a multiethnic melting pot that is seen in the dialects, in architecture, in art and the food and wine.


The Gavi hills rapidly start to hunch up as soon as they reach the Castle of Novi, as if to shake off the misty dew of the Po valley, uneasily crowding with a certain nostalgia in a line running towards the Genoa coastline.

Yes, nostalgia. Because where the bunches of grapes today stand proud on these hills boasting rows of vines combed by the marine breeze .. … once upon a time there was the sea. And it can still be found. In the marls where the Cortese vine takes root, you can find shells and marine fossils imprisoned in the memories of a quaternary Mediterranean sea; almost the pledge of love of an ancient, painful separation from these hills.


An autochthonous vine, mistreated for so long, the Cortese grapes were used mainly for semi-fermented sweet drinks of an uncertain nature and of ephemeral duration when it was not vinified distractedly among the Dolcetto and Barbera grapes; vines that were the undisputed masters of these hills.

Humble, stubborn and resistant, in the mid 1800 this vine finally encounters a man from Genoa, somebody of few words, a good eye and a fine palate. Love at first sight; the marquis Cambiaso was the first to plant Cortese intensively on his own estate, obtaining a fresh, fragrant and thirst-quenching white wine.


Its disembarkation in Genoa was triumphant, welcomed as the king of the table, the Cortese wine grapes which had been ignored for so long, finally gained revenge; a fresh slightly sour vein, fruity and intense aromas. Served with pesto, cappon magro, savoury vegetable flans or a tasty Ligurian sea bass, the Cortese wine grapes celebrated the reunited love between the sea and the hills of Oltregiogo that have never forgotten the scent of the sea. And it was from Genoa, from that port of ships  engorged with goods and sea breezes, that the wine embarked on its curious discovery of the world along the Superba sailing routes, a festive partner in crime of rough sailors who wallowed in the scent of home they found in that wine which came from the hills.


The seasons in our vineyards have the consistency of millennial rhythms, hypnotic oriental lullabies, vibrant Mozart sonatas, stirring rock music. In January the pruned vines rest silently in the icy embrace of the morning mists; it is the musical rhythm of memories, the slow flow of winter that never seems to end. Spring advances rather impatiently, with a buoyant rhythm, soaked by unannounced storms, avid to embrace the first days of March, proud of the first shoots, the promise of an abundant crop. And finally the triumphant rock of the summer season. The vineyard is crowded with farmers, agronomists and simple enthusiasts. Harvest time seems to be waiting impatiently, but no-one lets down their guard. Good wine is made in the vineyard and perfected in the cellar during those autumn days, suspended between endless afternoons of melancholic spleen and the new wine that accompanies red-hot roasted chestnuts fought over in the woods with wild boars.


With refrigerated barrels, controlled temperatures and all the science of our winemakers, modern officiators of initiatic rites, our cellars are modern cathedrals consecrated to ancient pagan deities. And on late summer nights, amid alcoholic vapours and dense sugary aromas, the barrels witness the miracle of wine being born to the gurgling rhythm of Dionysian musts. And the shadow of the dancing Bacchus returns to become the focus of the wildest Baccanti filled dreams of the winemakers.


Making a good, rich and complex wine requires effort, attention and technology. But it remains the fruit of an ancient magic; that ineffable love with Gaea, the land that we respect and love as the mother of all.


Our family, our work, our wine and what we are today, is the result of all this: legends, history, magic, passions, technology. An ancient love for the land whose name we have taken. Valditerra.