Enrico Scavino is happy with his decisions and satisfied with the success they've brought him, especially now that his daughters, (Enrica and Elisa) have joined him in the family concern. They all say that (great) wine is made in the vineyard.
"This firm still bears my father's name: he dedicated his life's work to it, never conceding himself a day's holiday or a night out, so, when he died in 1984, I thought it only right to keep his name. He came here, to Castiglione Falletto, in 1921. In those days, this was a mixed ¬crop farm: some cattle, hay, maize, fruit orchards and a small vineyard. Some of the grapes were sold to private buyers from the plains who made their own wine but most of them were vinified on the farm itself and the wine was then stored in demijohns.
Halfway through the '50s, we started to bottle the wine ourselves: in the be¬ginning only about 500 to 600 bottles a year. Gradually we increased production to around 10,000 bottles in 1964 - these days we produce from 60 to 70,000 bot¬tles. When, in three or four years time, our most recently-planted vineyards start to produce fruit, production should increase further from 90 to 100,000 bot¬tles. A lot of things have changed since the old days. I inherited my love of viti¬culture and scrupulous cleanliness at cellar-level from my father, who made an honest, straight-forward wine which well reflected the frugal and genuine life-style of the Langhe. Obviously, things have changed since then: tech¬nology in the cellar, for instance. Some producers have preserved a more tradi¬tional approach, others have introduced new techniques - this isn't a criticism, there are excellent traditional wines on sale alongside more innovative ones. These differences stimulate the con¬sumer's curiosity. After all, it isn't only the use of technology which defines a product, there are also differences in terrain to take into account. For me, Nebbiolo is the most difficult grape to vinify: it has lots of tannins and little colour. I recall that, when we started out, we vinified grapes almost exclu¬sively from Castiglione Falletta, where the wines have great structure but fairly hard and aggressive tannins. I noticed that, during tastings, consumers were bothered by these bitter and astringent tannins and the idea came to me that perhaps the problem lay not so much in the quantity of tannins, but in their quality. It seemed to me that the longer the skins were mixed into the must, the greater the extraction of noble tannins and good colour. So, I introduced new fermenting vats and a method of mac¬eration which employs scrupulous con¬trol of temperature. Other firms were also on the look out for new methods during this time. So we got together a group of producers and organised blind tasting sessions. I noticed that most peo¬ple preferred wines made with the newer techniques, which encouraged me in my search for softer wines with a more delicate flavour and more elegant structure. After I'd improved maceration, there still remained the problem of age¬ing in wood. We used to use classic, fifty-hectolitre oak barrels in our winery but these weren't ideal for the oxida¬tion-reduction reactions necessary. So, I went to France to buy smaller oak bar¬rels, made in the Massif Central, which possess a better surface/volume ratio. I use a mixture of new and one to two year-old barrels for maturation. During this phase, maturation is carefully moni¬tored and then the wines are assembled and transferred to larger wooden bar¬rels. Finally, the wine is bottled and stored in the bottle for at least six months. This kind of technique has, in my opinion, given the best results so far and preserves the organoleptic charac¬teristics of the grape and its terrain.
I think the success of my methods is amply confirmed by both a more tradi¬tional clientele and the newer markets at home and abroad. These are wines that the consumer can either drink im¬mediately or, if desired, can store for years without the risk of losing their es¬sential characteristics.
To produce great wine you need to start with a vineyard in an ideal posi¬tion, then limit yield per vine through careful spring pruning to thin out the bunches and, last but not least, you need to exert great care during vinification. Together, these methods will en¬sure good standards even during more unfavourable years.
In my opinion, Barolo is one of the world's greatest wines. It possesses a character and agreeableness which no other wine can beat. It's a fine wine and, like all fine things, needs to be shared among good friends."
Text compliments of "The Mystique of Barolo" by Maurizio Rosso & Chris Meier