Castello di Neive and the surrounding 150 acre estate are owned by the Stupino family, siblings Anna, Giulio, Italo, and Piera. The Castello di Neive winery began when Giacomo Stupino, the family patriarch, capitalized on his experience as a surveyor and his knowledge of the area to purchase favorable vineyards and land whenever possible. In the small cellars of their family home, the Stupino’s began their first wine production (including Messoirano, Montebertotto, Basarin, Valtorta, and i Cortini) and, over time, their acquired vineyards grew with the family’s production and ambitions. In 1964 the family purchased the castle with its spacious cellars, along with more land and farmsteads in Santo Stefano and Marcorino. This marked a turning point when the Stupino’s were able to renovate the castle cellars and reorganize their vineyards to produce wine according to modern methods. When Giacomo died in 1970, Giulio and Italo oversaw the transition from tenant farming to direct management of the land, initiating production and export of Castello di Neive wines abroad.
Tradition, research, and creativity make up the philosophy of the Castello di Neive winery. Recently released photographs from the winery’s library show that, as early as 1904, Pinot Nero was being bottled at the castle, and that by 1925 Nebbiolo was recognized as a fine wine grape with varietal labeling. Now, roughly one century later, the Stupino family continues tradition of cultivating and vinifying these noble varieties as well as the often overlooked Barbera and Dolcetto and the local favorite, Grignolino. The Stupinos’ winemaking philosophy is to respect a centuries-old heritage of winemaking while embracing new technologies and research activities—both in the vineyard and in the cellars.
2011 Castello Di Neive Barbaresco Albesani Santo Stefano Riserva $49.99*
The grapes that are destined for this ultra-premium wine come from the highly-respected Santo Stefano vineyard which is known to make some of Piemonte’s finest Nebbiolo wines. As with the other Castello di Neive Barbarescos, this wine is made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, but the grapes used to make this wine represent the finest selection of grapes, picked at optimum ripeness. These grapes are pressed and the resulting wine is allowed to age in wooden barrels for 4 years to soften the wine’s tannins and add a layer of spicy complexity to the wine’s opulent floral aromas.
Wine Spectator 94 Points: Rich, intense and complex, this red is beginning to reveal secondary aromas and flavors of leather, dried berry, floral and tar. Fresh and focused, with a solid structure and plenty in reserve. Terrific finish.