The story of Marchesi di Barolo is a love story that has been going on for more than 200 years. It began in 1807, when the Marchese di Barolo, Carlo Tancredi Falletti, fell in love with the French aristocrat Juliette Colbert de Maulévrier.
After her marriage to the Marchese di Barolo, Juliette Colbert de Maulévrier fell in love again – but her husband had no reason to be jealous, as the object of her passion was the Nebbiolo vine. It was Juliette Colbert de Maulévrier who recognised the potential of the vines on the soils of lime, clay, marl and tufa in the Piedmont microclimate. She set up the wine cellar and named the wine after its place of origin, according to the French tradition.
She thus brought Italy’s most prestigious wine to the world – Barolo. Many other vintners and even more wine lovers have also fallen in love with the wine. The Marchese di Barolo, and also his wife, were both very committed to the welfare of their fellow men. They built several schools, a home for young mothers, used parts of the Palazzo di Barolo in Turin as a home for workers’ children, and founded a monastery.
However, in 1864, the Marchesa, now called Giulia di Barolo Falletti, died childless, thus ending the line of the Marchesi di Barolo. Her material inheritance was put into the Opera Pia Barolo Foundation which was set up to continue her charitable work. She also left behind her love of Barolo as a legacy that is accessible to everyone.
Pietro Abbona received a great deal from this intangible legacy. In 1895, he began working in his father‘s winery, but his dream was the Marchesi di Barolowinery. He wanted to go to the place where Barolo had started out and from where it began its triumphal advance to become the wine of kings. In 1929, Pietro Abbona finally achieved his dream and, together with his brother Ernesto and their sisters Celestina and Marina, acquired the winery.
His arrival not only brought a new lustre to the famous producer, it also ushered in a new era for Barolo. For proven Barolo-specialists such as Massimo Martinelli, Pietro Abbona is the first of the pioneers of Barolo. He succeeded in spreading the reputation of Barolo far beyond its Piedmont home. He dealt reverently with the legacy that he was now able to continue. His great respect for the creators of Barolo is especially evident in the cellar. Pietro Abbona kept and cherished the wine barrels in which Marchesa Giulia created Barolo from Nebbiolo gapes. This legacy has been preserved to this day. Five of the winery‘s very first barrels are still used for ageing the wines. It is as though the Barolo held by the ‘botti della marchesa’ for two centuries had given them something of its longevity.
The love of Barolo has been passed on within the Abbona family from one generation to the next. Anna and Ernesto Abbona are the fifth generation to manage the winery. While Ernesto takes care of the production and management, Anna is a tireless ambassador for Barolo and represents the wines on numerous trips. Their children are also ready to continue the family history. Their son Davide is taking his winemaking education further at university, while their daughter Valentina is now fully involved in marketing the estate. She previously spent a year in Asia in order to gain a better understanding of the local market.
The Abbonas are proud of their heritage and the fact that the wines of Marchesi di Barolo are still among the best examples from the region and are highly sought after around the world. Their motto is to combine tradition and evolution. As Pietro Abbona was, they are committed to the traditional methods but, at the same time, they want to present Barolo in a contemporary way. A beautiful way for visitors to the winery to enjoy it is to spend time in the restaurant created by Anna Abbona. The winery is a tourist magnet in Piedmont, attracting 40,000 visitors each year who then take their love of Barolo, fostered here, back home with them.
The family’s bond with Barolo starts with the vines. The aim is to promote the biodiversity of the vineyard. This will give the soil vitality and fertility, benefiting the vines and ultimately the wine. A particular challenge for the winegrower are the historic crus. It is a vocation for the vintner to transfer the uniqueness of these sites into the wine. This requires a close familiarity with the land and a lot of flexibility in the cellar in order to be able to respond to each of the crus – and Marchesi di Barolo boasts some of the most prestigious crus in the Barolo area: Cannubi is a site characterised by lime, which is protected from extreme weather conditions by the surrounding hills. Coste di Rose is a very steep site with a high quartzite content. Sarmassa faces south-east and has very stony soil.
The wines originating from these sites have an extremely long life. The family is especially proud of this longevity of Barolo. Here too, the family is maintaining its traditional heritage, keeping in its cellar several bottles from the 19th century. At special tasting events, these antique wines radiate the magic of Barolo to wine lovers.
Cantine dei Marchesi di Barolo
Via Alba, 12
12060 Barolo CN
Tel. +39 0173 564400
Tel. +39 0173 564444