Il Cascinone was acquired by leading Piemonte producer Araldica in 1999 - an exceptional estate in the Monferrato hills which has undergone extensive restoration and replanting. Now around 70ha of the total 102ha are in full production, with the warmer, southwest-facing slopes used to grow Barbera, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon - whilst the northeast slopes are ideal for more aromatic varieties Brachetto and Moscato, along with Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.
The 'Il Cascinone' range (and part of the Alasia range) is produced with grapes sourced from Araldica's most prized vineyards, both on the estate itself and from other selected sites. This includes the further d'Annona vineyard in the village of Fontanile - purchased by Claudio Manera in 1998. This south-west facing vineyard is a source of premium quality Barbera, from vines over 60 years old. Grapes from d'Annona are brought to Il Cascinone for vinification.
All harvesting at Il Cascinone and d'Annona is by hand. The Araldica winemaking team of Claudio Manera, Lella Burdese and Carlo Manera oversee all production.
The Merlot grapes are grown in a single block of just 2.5 Ha, planted in 2000 on south, south west facing slopes to encourage ripening. Cool nights on the hillside vineyards also encourages the development of fruity characters in the finished wine.
The must is carefully fermented at controlled temperatures (26-28 degrees C) for 15 days to ensure plenty of fruit extraction. The wine is then racked at least twice before being transferred to barriques and traditional Piemontese tini (large conical wooden vats) for malolactic fermentation and maturation for 8-10 months.
Plum, blackberry and savoury spice characters on the nose. Full flavoured with layers of black fruit and toasty spice backed by firm, ripe tannins, dark chocolate notes and a fresh finish.
Drink with grilled red meats, roast duck, rich stews or pasta with intense tomato sauces.