The Enrico Serafino winery in Piedmont was founded in 1878, when Enrico was only 24 years old. Perhaps one should call the winery Serafino Enrico instead since Serafino is the first name and Enrico the family name. At the time, Piedmont was not the rich and famous region that it is today but a quite poor region. But Enrico had ambitious plans. It was a busy time for Piedmont’s wine industry, shortly after the unification of Italy in 1861.
Enrico wanted to create a winery that made a kind of wine that the traditional small grape growers could not make at home, so early on, he decided to start making sparkling wine, what may have been one of the first spumantes in Piedmont. That’s a tradition that continues still today. His vineyards were on the Barolo hills, but he placed his winery in the centre of the small town Canale, where it still is.
Enrico Serafino produces quite a large number of wines, including six sparkling in the Alta Langa appellation, four barolos and barbarescos (with more coming), and a series of Piedmont wine from other indigenous grape varieties.
Today, Enrico Serafino is still family-owned, though not by the same family. It went through a period of big corporate ownership, as part of the Campari Group, a period that ended in 2013 when the American Krause family, originating from Iowa, bought it. But perhaps that’s not that far from “big corporate”. The Krause family business is called the Krause Group and had, according to Forbes, $2.8 billion in revenues in 2019. Their primary business is a chain of some 400 convenience stores.
In Italy, the Krauses now own the Enrico Serafino and the Vietti wineries, as well as the Parma Calcio 1913 football club and a luxury hotel in Piedmont (to be opened in 2021).
The grapes still come from Barolo, Langhe, Roero and Monferrato. These are wines that should be combined with food, says Nico Conta, CEO of the winery. That is why he thinks acidity is vital to the wines. “Acidity, the best thing to pair with food, the mouth stays clean and fresh”, he says. We totally agree.
Alta Langa DOCG Metodo Classico Millesimato 2016
A fresh and crispy sparkling wine with citrus and green apples. There’s complexity, toasty aromas and a pleasant mouthfeel.
Zero Alta Langa, riserva pas dosé, 2013
Quite shy on the nose, good body and volume, melon and citrus, good structure and astringency
72 months on the lees, high altitude vineyards (280-600 m)
Alta Langa is a small region for sparkling wine that received its DOCG in 2011. It has quickly become very appreciated in the world of wine. The wine is always made with the metodo classico, the traditional method, that is, with the second fermentation in the bottle. This method was first used in Piedmont (and in Italy) in the 1850s. Not long after, Enrico Serafino made his first sparkling wines in the same underground cellar that the vineyard uses today.
Roero Arneis 2019 Poggio di Caro
Light, elegant, flowery, good freshness, pears, apples, a bit perfumed, a touch of astringency in the end. This slight bitterness in the end is typical for arneis, according to Paolo Giacosa, the winemaker.
Gavi di Gavi Grifo del Quartaro 2019
Tighter and more astringent in structure but also more body, melon, long finish, peaches, nice and clean and delicious.
The wine is made from the cortese grape variety, a “semi-aromatic” grape variety with interesting flavour components in the skin.
Barbera d’Alba superiore San Defendente 2016
Fresh but ripe fruit, elegant, cherry. Relatively light body with cherries, a slight spiciness, clean and elegant.
A wine from an individual vineyard, a single-vineyard San Defendente. The wine has fermented in steel tank and has kept on the skins for 18 days and then aged in large oak barrels.
Barbera d’Alba Pajena 2017
Ripe fruit a touch oak on the nose, plums. Nice, smooth tannins. A hint of oak also on the palate, tannins have a herbal character, elegant and clean.
The wine has been aged for 14 months in large oak barrels.
Nebbiolo is the most prestigious grape in Piedmont, used for Barolo and Barbaresco, but it is only planted on around 4,500 hectares, which is no more than 10% of Piedmont’s vineyard surface. It is appreciated by many wine lovers thanks to its elegance and intensity. Enrico Serafino makes nebbiolo in several different styles.
Nebbiolo d’Alba Tovasacco 2016, Enrico Serafino, Piedmont
Light in colour and style, with an elegant, fruity, cherries and a bit spicy character. Some tannins give it a good structure. This is a nebbiolo that you drink now and enjoy the youthful fruit. The wine has been aged for 12 months in big oak barrels of between 2500 and 4000 litres.
Picotener, Langhe nebbiolo 2018
Elegant and floral nose. Good structure on the palate, elegant but quite rough tannins. Long. Fairly light body, tobacco. Lots of character.
Picotener is an almost forgotten sub-variety (or “biotype”) of nebbiolo that is difficult to grow, but that is interesting since it gives lower yields, more spicy aromas and more colour. Few producers use it. The first release at Enrico Serafino was in 2017.
The winery’s most prestigious wines are the single-vineyard barolos.
Barolo Monclivio 2016
Full-bodied, tobacco, distinct tannins, quite elegant, rough at the edges.
The grapes for this barolo come from Serralunga d’Alba, La Morra, Monforte. An effort is made to extract a lot from the skins, 28 days maceration with both a submerged cap and with délestage (rack-and-return). Twenty-two months on medium-large oak vats.
Barolo Serralunga 2016
Elegant, riper fruit, a touch of smoke, lots of tannins especially in the finish, a touch of bitterness, a powerful barolo.
A partial cold-soak is done before fermentation (cooling of the crushed grapes and then left to macerate for some time) which can increase fruit and extraction. Vinification is otherwise similar to Monclivo with 28 days maceration with both a submerged cap and délestage (rack-and-return). Part of the wine is aged 12 months on tonneaux (500/600 l) and part on medium-sized vats (2500 l).
Barolo Briccolina 2015
More full-bodied, more ripe fruit. Excellent balance, lots of tannins but with a full body that keeps it in check.
The wine comes from a 1-acre vineyard in Briccolina, a so-called “cru” or MGA in Serralunga d’Alba. The vinification is similar to the Serralunga, with cold-soak and extensive extraction. It is aged for 28 months in medium-size oak vats (2400 l).
Barolo Briccolina Catena Vecchia 2016
Restrained on the nose, spicy, more tannins than the Briccolina, intense acidity, heaps of cherries of the fresh rather than sweet type, lots of fruit, compact.
This is currently an experiment on one and a half acres with an old training system (catena vecchia, old chain), to be commercial in 2 years.