"Like fresh grapes in a glass"

Cascina Pian d'Or: Moscato d'Asti and climate

Valter Barbero, winemaker of Moscato d'Asti, tells his reflections



Why do people say that the climate hasn’t changed? Actually it has…



Why has the harvest been anticipated? Why has Moscato d’Asti always been picked at the end of August over the last years? Valter Barbero, owner of the winery Cascina Pian d’Or in Mango who can boast several years of experience in this area of the Langa that gives the sweet and fresh Moscato grapes, expressed this reflection. Even if it seems that there is no answer to this question, it reveals an important aspect which has effects on all the basic work performed in the vineyards during the year.


MOSCATO D’ASTI: 2012, A VERY INTERESTING YEAR. Quality. This is the key word to sum up the working philosophy of Valter Barbero, owner of Cascina Pian d’Or in Mango. The same quality is always an essential feature of his Moscato d’Asti. The pressing of healthy and beautiful grapes with balanced organoleptic features has enabled us to obtain a perfect basis for the future wine (now the must is resting in cooled vats).

At a first glance, it seems that these steps are ordinary. Actually, they are ordinary, but we have to take into consideration the climate changes in order to ensure their “normality”, adopting some essential measurements in the vineyard cultivation. “What about the climate? – asks Valter Barbero – are we paying it the appropriate attention? According to my age-old experience, I can say that the climate has changed, even if compared to only ten years ago. We are harvesting Moscato d’Asti grapes earlier and earlier, at the end of August.

What does it mean? What kind of grapes are we taking to the winery? I have tried to answer these questions, focusing on some of the work stages in the vineyards, which I consider to be essential in order to obtain fresh, aromatic grapes that will become a great Moscato d’Asti”. The solutions adopted by Cascina Pian d’Or are as follows: “Investigating the soil composition and the climate evolution I noticed that the temperature change leads to an anticipated ripening. In order to avoid excessive sun exposure, I leave more leaves round the grapes, in order to protect them, keep them cool and let the plant “breathe”. Preventing water stress is essential. We achieve it by leaving the right quantity of weeds near the vines and between the rows. If there is humidity under the vines I’ll leave more weeds, while if the under-vine rows are dry, I'll reduce them. Plants have to adsorb a balanced quantity of water. The soil between the rows is another basic element: in order to keep it soft, whet I cut the grass, I always mix it into the earth, turning it into nourishment”.

These steps are essential to Valter Barbero: the climate has changed, but quality has to be preserved: “Of course, every vintage year is different, I have to be able to enhance its features through the work in the vineyards. In the winery technology is essential for the production of Moscato d'Asti, my mission is to set free the taste and perfume that make the difference between a standard wine and a wine that reflects the personality of our land”. The work in the winery is similar to that in the vineyards, and a high quality Moscato d’Asti starts from the vine.

Livio Oggero

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