Federica Boffa Pio: She is the youngest winemaker in Italy - and dusts off the world-famous Barolo

When the video call starts, Federica Boffa Pio doesn't stop talking.

Federica Boffa Pio: She is the youngest winemaker in Italy - and dusts off the world-famous Barolo

When the video call starts, Federica Boffa Pio doesn't stop talking. The 25-year-old is passionate about what she does. she makes wine And not just any wine, but one of the most famous in Italy: Barolo. In Alba, in Piedmont, not far from Turin, she is the 5th generation to run the Pio Cesare winery.

"It is thanks to my grandmother that the winery is still family-owned today," says Federica Boffa Pio in the video interview. "She was an only child and the granddaughter of the founder of the winery. When my grandfather fell in love with her, they actually wanted to move to Milan and sell the winery". At that time the region was very poor, but the grandfather saw the potential in the winery. Today Pio Cesare is one of the most renowned wineries in Italy - and Federica Boffa Pio represents a new generation that wants to lead the winery into the future.

"Today we have many problems in terms of climate change. The year 2022, for example, was far too hot," says the Italian. They had to bring in the harvest as early as mid-August, earlier than ever before. The highest vineyards are at 400 meters, which is high for the region. Here Pio is experimenting with new vines, also to defy climate change. Barolo could also be created up there if climate change no longer allowed viticulture at lower altitudes: "The biggest problem is the lack of water. In some years we are really afraid of not being able to harvest grapes," says Federica Boffa Pio. "Unfortunately, the Barolo and Barbaresco consortium has not allowed irrigation so far, which is unbelievable because today's climate is simply not comparable to the climate of 20 years ago."

The Pio Cesare winery is particularly famous for its Barolos, which may only be pressed from the Nebbiolo grape variety. "Our wines are an honest representation of our region," says Federica Boffa Pio. For 140 years, the Pio family has followed the same philosophy: they combine different terroirs and microclimates to produce the best Barolo in their family style. The wine has hardly changed to this day: the winery covers 80 hectares and produces 400,000 bottles a year. That's not much for the size, considering that Pio Cesare produces 15 different wines. Single production focuses on low yield to achieve high quality. Only the best grapes are processed.

In addition to Barolo and Barbaresco, Pio Cesare also has a very characteristic white wine for the region: Gavi. Since the 1980s, the winery has also been producing Chardonnay, which comes across as strong and structured, but also very fresh and elegant. But there are also Sauvignon Blanc and a cuvée made from both grape varieties in the wine cellars, which represent a rather young line.

Pio Cesare's bestseller remains the classic Barolo, of which they produce 60,000 bottles a year and export it to 50 countries. The 2019 vintage has just been bottled, a blend of vineyards from five different villages. It combines everything that makes a good Barolo: density, structure and depth. It tastes juicy of red cherries and finishes with liquorice and smoky notes. A wine to be preserved.

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