Nas-cëtta or Anascetta!

Last spring, 2023, during my sojourn a la Monforte d’Alba (Piedmont), I spent most breakfast times sitting on the terrace of the wonderful Felicin Hotel (not to mention their outstanding ‘Dimora Storica’ restaurant) enjoying the best of Italian brekky and looking out onto this part of Langhe’s beautiful vineyards. Over the hill ‘yonder’ sat a pretty little towered commune called Novello, sitting up high and almost mysterious, surrounded by vineyards that did not seem to connect with Monforte d’Alba. Nobody had mentioned anything to me about Novello beforehand, and I could not find any note of the place in local wine journals. So I decided, full of curiosty, tired and on my penultimate day in Langhe to find a road map and go have a peekie. Off I went. The journey by crow was only a stone’s throw away from Felicin’s balcony, and yet in the motor, it took me about an hour and a half to wiggle my way round the country lanes to Novello. On arrival, the place was pretty empty, no cars, except for a small sign handpainted with a bunch of grapes and a name. It read Casa E.di Mirafore. I followed the arrow, parked outside the house, which of course turned out to be a Cantina, no suprise there. Greeted by a larger than life Oscar. ”Inglish you hav cum to taste my Nascetta”? he asks me. Of course I have (ummmm?), having absolutley no clue as to what he was actually talking about, but got the drift. We went down into his cellar to taste something, and I was handed a generous glass of white! It was Moscato in style, delicate, off dry and quite exquisitley mineral. ´´What is this Senor Mirafore?´´, I asked, ´´it’ s delicious!´´ 

”Anascetta” he replied. And then I began to learn direct from the maestro all about a grape variety that I have never heard of before and rather wish that I had done so, it’s been around for centuries. In a world where everbody seems to think that they know everything, it is so refreshing, especially in the wine business, to come across something totally under the radar. 

Nascetta or Anascetta (Nas-cëtta) as it is known there, is only grown and to be found in and around Novello. Somehow, this noble grape has escaped extinction. Imagine!, amongst a Nebbiolo dominated landscape it has not only survived well having been used in small quantities as a mere blending grape but in 2002 it was finally recognized by the D.O.C. Langhe and rightly awarded it’s status. 
Then, almost ten years later, in 2010 theNas-cëtta from Novello was DOCG’d!

Nascetta was mentioned in ampelographic sources going all the way back to 18th century, thriving in the clacareous-clayey marls of Langhe, which give the wine it’s acidity, structure. complexity and of course minerality. Terpene analyses have highlighted the semi-aromatic character of the grape variety. With it’s bright straw yellow colour Nascetta expresses a very individual character. It’s bouquet often features hints of white flowers and citrus. It is a wine with remarkable freshness, slightly savory and has a light almondy bitter finish. Delicious! This was the first wine tasted of the day, Oscar Mirafiore’s 2022 Langhe Nascetta. We then wondered through the narrow alleys of this ancient hamlet to try a neighbour’s Nascetta, and went to visit Le Strette. Oscar told me that there where only really four producers here and two of them had vineyards over in Barolo where they spent most of their time. 
Le Strette´s 2022 Langhe Nascetta was fresh and gritty, notes of white stone-fruit and citrus. Full and persistent on the palate, again delicious!
Unfortunately for us wine drinkers these wines will not be found outside of Italy, yet! but they are working hard on that.


“If it´s sent by ship then it is a cargo, if it is sent by road then it is a shipment” D.Allen