An agronomist in Langa

Gian Piero Romana

Gian Piero Romana is 56 years old and an agronomist by profession. He has been a consultant for Amalia Cascina in Langa since 2009, but he is not new to this particular area of Monforte d’Alba, Gian Piero says : “I already knew the area because some of the vineyards around the previous property of Cascina Amalia had been managed by the Conterno Fantino estate as I was a collaborating with them at that time. I have always liked this area very much, and when I was offered the opportunity to come back to work in it, I accepted with great pleasure. The area is beautiful and it goes without saying. Furthermore, working for Amalia gave me the opportunity to get to know, in addition to the Sant’Anna area, perhaps one of the best areas in Monforte for the production of Dolcetto, their other crus from the Barolo area, such as Le Coste and Bussia Fantini “. Gian Piero is a person with a reserved and discreet nature and a very determined character with a great passion for agronomy, the passion of his life.

Gian Piero continues: “My relationship with Paolo Boffa started well from the beginning, and it is essential, in a company the size of Amalia, that there is this type of communal aim, that is working together to achieve the best results . Paolo is the fulcrum of everything: he is the vigneron and the cellarman, and with him I feel that my presence is that of an accompanying and supporting role because he has clear ideas about what he wants and above all what he does not want in his vineyards. The wine he produces is the result of a unique terroir, and each of his wines are unique, because it is, above all, the result of Paolo’s idea of what his wine should represent. I, as well as the consultant enologist Piero Ballario, support him thoroughly in this respect”.

Even the most important decisions are shared, such as converting Amalia Cascina into a biological reality. It is a task that Paolo Boffa is fully aware of and the commitment that this requires. However, it is almost a natural follow on to his approach of tending to his vineyards. Paolo’s decisions in the vineyard is taken in a very straightforward and direct manner, he has the perfect mindset that is needed to work biologically, “because here in Amalia we are going biological in an inherent and gradual way, just like the overall approach / philosophy of the Amalia estate and certainly not just to follow the latest current trend. Furthermore, by going biological in this area means having a lot of courage and determination: this territory, like many other well suited sites in the area are at a very high risk of hailstorms which can destroy a whole year’s work or create problems with fungal diseases. In these areas you don’t mess with nature, which offers you a lot, but it must be respected. This respect is definitely one of the fundamental characteristics of this company”.

“Working for Cascina Amalia means being able to work with soils with different expressions, where each cru has its own character, its personality – continues Gian Piero Romana. For example, Le Coste of Monforte is in a difficult position, halfway up the hill , but the wines that come from the marly soils are always very interesting, or those of the Bussia Fantini cru ,where the sandy soils sometimes make it difficult for the optimal maturation of the tannins. Then there is the Dolcetto, which we know too well is facing difficulties in the current market but could return to being an interesting wine in the future because it has appealing price – quality characteristics . However, those involved in this work know that the ripening of the grapes must be “stretched”,otherwise you risk having hard and green tannins yet not forgetting the problem,due to a longer ripening period , of having excessive sugar levels. When you get the right balance with the sugar levels and you give it the right attention it requires in the cellar, Dolcetto can give you a lot of satisfaction. Then we have the white grape “Rossese” which is a revelation for me and I think that in these times of global warming it will become more of an interesting variety thanks to its acid framework. It is a vine that still hides many secrets, starting from its ampelography which still needs to be defined correctly (there are many white Rossese varietals cultivated both in Piedmont and in Liguria), which still require more studies and attention, but I am convinced that compared to today’s quality of a Rossese, it may become even softer and rounder in the future. The Rossese bianco is a variety of inconsistent production levels so it is particularly stimulating to be able to work on it: research into pruning still needs to be carried out and other interventions must be made with a view to future plannings. Rossese Bianco has all the characteristics to be a very modern wine, even if it is considered “ancient” as a varietal but only recently rediscovered. It has structure and harmony, the acidity necessary for excellent longevity and an important tertiary profile. But you know, in the vineyard you need to be patient and work hard”.
“Each wine that comes from this land is already a masterpiece of nature, if it arrives in the cellar with its unique personality, we only have to support its development. The important commitment is precisely that: listening to nature, assisting it to understand how far it can go with its evolution to then be able to enjoy these splendid and unique wines”.

GIAN PIERO ROMANA is a 56-year-old Piedmontese agronomist, originally from the Langhe and owner of an agronomic consultancy near Alba. For about 30 years he has been dealing with Viticulture in all its aspects. After 7 years of coordinating the “integrated defense programme” for the technicians of the Piedmont Region at the Piedmontese Producers Association, he has been actively collaborating and providing viticultural advice to important wineries in various Italian regions, mainly in Piedmont, since 1997.

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