Boca, Piedmont

Le Piane

In the 90s, and together with enologist Alexander Trolf, I visited Boca and its forgotten vineyards and we became enthusiastic about the region and it’s excellent potential. At that time we became acquainted with Antonio Cerri, one of the last winegrowers to produce the typical and outstanding Boca wine. In view of his advanced age, more than 80 years old, Antonio Cerri handed over to us his small vineyard (0.5 hectares), cellar and his old vintages. We seized the opportunity and step-by-step acquired further small plots of forest. Like a jigsaw, the property developed to become a whole. The best areas of Boca – 4 vineyards with about 1.5 hectares (4 acres) each – were cleared and replanted with Nebbiolo and Vespolina vines. “Le Piane” now has an area of 8 hectares (20 acres) of vineyards, 2 (5 acres) of them with old vines.

Sadly, Alexander Trolf was killed in 1998 in a road accident and did not live to see the results of this successful development. His ideas and dreams, however, remain in the “Meridiana” vineyard that he had replanted. The prominent yellow house there has become the company’s logo and thus symbolizes a new beginning. A group of international friends of wine culture is financing the project.

The combination of its soil and microclimate provides a fortunate opportunity for the region of BOCA DOC. The soil is porphyritic (volcanic origin), ground on its surface to fine gravel. This soil is unique in Italy. The moderate climate of the Lower Alps characterized by high autumnal temperatures, together with intensive sunshine thanks to the south facing position and with high temperature changes, creates optimal conditions for perfect maturity of the grapes. The vineyards embedded between the surrounding hills are protected against cold Alpine winds.

The Boca wine region, in the province of Novara, is the most eastern and highest (420-520 m) in Piemonte, situated between the Sesia Valley and Lake Orta nestled in the hills of the Lower Alps. Boca, like all regions in northern Piemonte, looks back on a long and rich wine culture. North Piemonte was considered in general to be one of the principal wine producing regions of Italy.

New priorities were set by the early industrialization of the whole region of the Lower Alps and the success of its well-known textile and tap industry. The laborers as well as the investments went to the more successful industries. In the 50s most of the vineyards of Boca disappeared and were overgrown by forest. In the 90s Boca, with less than 10 hectares (just under 25 acres), reached the critical point of being totally abandoned and forgotten. There are a lot of local varieties of grapes like Nebbiolo (Spanna), Vespolina, Croatina and Uva Rara but also minor amounts of other varieties mostly unknown or forgotten like Durasa, Slarina, Malvasia di Boca, Dolcetto di Boca, Neretto.

Our wines are based on a rigorous selection of grapes. The pickers are well trained to pick only the very best bunches; the individual grapes that are not flawless are immediately removed. The bunches, carefully placed in cases, are delivered to the cellar in impeccable condition. This allows us to produce our wines as naturally as possible, only being influenced by our taste and our sensitivity for every minute detail, thus producing balanced and harmonious wines with great potential.

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