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Though the Crealto winery is only a few years old, its origins go back over fifty years, when Carlo Quarello, the “master of Grignolino,” planted a tiny vineyard in Monferrato in northeastern Piedmont. Carlo’s wine, the Crè Marcaleone, put the Grignolino grape on the map. Societá Agricola Crealto is the creation of Eleonora Costa and Luigi Armanino, two sommeliers from Genoa, whose love of traditional Piedmontese varieties led them to purchase 4.5 hectares of vineyard land from this “master of Grignolino.” Eleonora and Luigi made their first vintage in 2008 and began bottling Barbera and Nebbiolo in 2009.
The vineyard consists of two hectare of old vines Grignolino, 1.5 hectare of Barbera and one hectare of Nebbiolo, both of which are over 20 years old. The vineyard is 350m in elevation. Since January of 2013, the estate has been certified organic (they practice biodynamic, but are not certified due to costs). All harvesting is done by hand and the use of sulfur dioxide is kept to a minimum, with small amounts added after fermentation and racking, never at bottling. Luigi Armanino, the winemaker, utilizes natural yeast and extended skin contact to produce a light, orange-tinted Grignolino whose spicy, bitter cherry notes highlight the natural tension between dry fruits and tannins that make this grape so remarkable.