The history of the Project “Alta Langa Traditional Method” provides answers and fulfills ambitions that the Piedmontese wine sector had pursued for a long time.
In the Piedmontese wine circles in fact, since the first half of 1800, people expressed interest and curiosity for spumante and surely the proximity with the prestigious French production areas had contributed to people’s familiarity with French wines.
In the 1700s Champagne exportations progressively increased thanks to the new bottle manufacturing technology; the aristocratic and court Piedmont was not immune to the charm of the French bubbles, which had by then become a social phenomenon.
Carlo Gancia, back in Piedmont in 1850 after spending time in the city of Reims and gaining direct experience of the Champenoise Method in a prestigious local maison where he worked, was now convinced that to obtain that same type of wine in Piedmont, there were only two ways: either using the same French grapes, or apply the Champenoise Method to some autochthonous grape varietals that presented characteristics similar to Pinot. He decided to follow both paths: he found Moscato to be the perfect grape varietal to produce a sweet spumante and he also experimented with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He obtained therefore “Moscato Spumante” as well as a production of “French Style Spumante”.
Carlo Gancia had promoted the spread of Pinot and Chardonnay amongst the winegrowers of the district of Canelli to ensure a certain quantity for the production of his dry spumanti. One of them was Sir Boschiero of Asti who, around the year 1870, preferred to grow in his estate La Galleria several hectares of Pinot Noir, Grigio and Blanc in an attempt to produce Champagne-style spumanti. These grapes gave such results that the Fratelli Gancia Company decided to acquire them.
By the end of 1920 the almost entire Piedmontese wine production was controlled by few large companies. Along with vermouth, spumanti were also exported: not only Asti, the spumante invented by Carlo Gancia, but also the so-called “Italian Champagne”, which in the catalogues of the Canelli Cellar significantly carried in brackets the name of the Pinot varietal.
With the Project “Traditional Method Spumante in Piedmont”, of which the appellation Alta Langa is and will be both the starting point as well as the final goal, the Piedmontese Spumante Industry has given its territory a precious economic and technologiacal contribution and has promoted a territory vocation that went unexpressed if not in the mere scientific scope, so much so that it risked being forgotten. But this time, the winegrowers too did their part.