Orsola / Castello di Tassarolo
Ran by Massimiliana Spinola, L’Azienda Vitivinicola Castello di Tassarolo is situated in the commune of Tassarolo in the heart of Gavi in Piedmont and consists of 17 hectares of vineyards that surround the winery. The variety of vines cultivated on the estate are “Cortese di Gavi”, Barbera and some Cabernet Sauvignon. The Spinola family has inhabited the castle in Tassarolo and has been making wine from these vineyards since the 14th century! In 2006, Massimiliana and her team began developing biodynamic methods of viticulture that guarantees the maximum respect for nature and the environment.
Massimiliana’s former partner Henry, born and raised in London, was the first to develop working heavy horses in the vineyards in the North of Italy. He is collaborating with other experts in the field, in designing and developing draught equipment for biodynamic farming methods in the vineyards. He has also been a passionate student of Rudolf Steiner’s philosophies for over 20 years, and applies these methods to his work in the vines. Henry currently holds courses that teach the theory and practice of heavy horses within the vineyards, forest and fields. And is developing a nationally recognized certificate for the various fields of work suitable for implementing heavy horses, in regard to promoting heavy horse work in Piedmont.
Massimiliana works closely with their enologist Vincenzo Muni to make the wines in the cantina. Together they have developed a method of making white wines without any added sulfur and without oxidative properties, a difficult feat for many involved in Natural Winemaking. They attribute much of their success in this endeavor to the health of the soil and grapes afforded by their biodynamic work.
Certified organic (Bios, since 2006) and biodynamic (Agri BioDinamica, since 2007), USDA Organic and Vegan.
Watch this interview we conducted with Henry and Massimiliana:
Awarded the Snail by Slow Food and featured in the Slow Wine Guide 2013. The Snail is awarded to a winery for the way they interpret values (organoleptic, territorial, environmental) in harmony with Slow Food.
Orsola Gavi DOCG
The compelling label of this brand new J&F collab is based on a portrait that the iconic Andy Warhol made of Orsola Spinola, a relative of the Castello di Tassarolo owner and winemaker Massimiliana Spinola. As Massimiliana herself tells the story: “Orsola lived in New York for a few years when Warhol was still alive – she collected many American artists’ works because she was passionate about American modern art, but she especially loved Andy’s art. In fact, she was so keen on him that not one, but two portraits of her were painted by Warhol, both still hanging in her house not far from our winery.” In homage to the beautiful Orsola, one of these unique works of pop art graces the label, and the wine was named after her.
Grape: 100% Cortese di Gavi
Vineyard: Marl, silty-clay, 300 meters ASL. Selection of various vineyards, all estate-owned and biodynamic- and organic-certified.
Making of: The grapes are hand-harvested in small crates (maximum of 19 kg) in order to keep the grapes as intact as possible. The grapes are then immediately pressed in a pneumatic press, and the best part of the must is transferred to temperature-controlled vats for the start of the alcoholic fermentation, using only indigenous yeast. The wine is fined (vegan-friendly), filtered and a small amount of sulfur is added before bottling.
Personality: Elegant and attention-worthy just like the lady on the label! Straw yellow color with green highlights, intense floral nose of orange blossom and camomille. Fresh, fragrant, light, lively and persistent – serve well chilled with a wide variety of dishes or just on its own.
Orsola Red (Monferrato DOC)
Certified Vegan and USDA Organic.
Grapes: Barbera (dominant), Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard: Selected vineyards in the Municipality of Tassarolo (Gavi DOCG production area, Piemonte). Marley, silty-clay soil, 300 meters above sea level, worked by horses. Estate-owned, certified biodynamic (AgriBioDinamica)
Making of: Hand harvest. The grapes are crushed and undergo classic maceration and fermentation in tanks with indigenous yeast only, for 15 days. 6 months on lees in stainless steel. Light filtration, no fining. No added sulfites.
Personality: Ruby red color with garnet tinges. Heady aroma with scents of ripe fruit. Warm, soft taste, spicy at the finish. An excellent accompaniment for meat dishes, cheese, pasta and rice, as well as vegetables.