Margherita Otto is a new winery located in Monforte d’Alba founded by an American (turned Piemontese!), Alan Manley. Alan grew up in Westchester, NY, and later moved to Colorado where he ran his own restaurant for many years. It was there where he developed a love for wine, especially Barolo. His first visit to the region was back in 1995 and he continued to visit as often as possible in the ensuing years. Eventually he decided to sell his restaurant and move to Barolo with the dream of eventually making his own wine. His moved to the region in 2011 and was lucky to be offered a job helping out Maria Teresa Mascarello in the Bartolo Mascarello winery. He also worked part time for some other well-known producers as well including Luciano Sandrone and Cavallotto.
After a few years, he was able to locate and purchase parcels in Monforte d’Alba and Castiglione Falletto. In addition, he was also able to secure a long-term lease on a parcel in Serralunga d’Alba. As a producer just starting out it can be very difficult to get your hands on well-placed vineyards in Barolo but Alan was lucky enough to get access these three parcels. In Monforte d’Alba, his parcel is just outside of the official Ginestra cru at its southwestern edge at high elevation (470-500m). In Castiglione Falletto, his parcel is in the steep, southeast-facing portion Pernanno cru, and in Serralunga d’Alba his site touches the Vigna Rionda cru, though just outside it, at the bottom of the hill.
Alan was fortunate to be able to vinify his first vintages in a friend’s cellar. In fact, he made three “trial” vintages (2012-2014) before he decided to commercialize his official debut release in the 2015 vintage. In late 2017, he completed his own Cantina in Monforte D’Alba, above which is located his house where he lives with his lovely Piedmontese wife, Daniella. The cellar is equipped with the best of modern and traditional equipment, including a simple basket press and a few Botti from his favorite tiny artisanal cooper, Mittelberger, actually made from French oak (more sturdy, he says!), and coopered in the Alto Adige.
Alan makes his Barolo in the same ancient method of assemblaggio, similar to some of his traditional mentors. Here the different parcels are not only blended together to make one wine but they also are fermented together. In the cellar, the wines are fermented in tank using the traditional capello sommerso method (or “submerged cap”) with skin contact for about 45 days. The wine are then aged for at least 3 years in Botti before bottling.
Alan says his goal is “to make a wine of elegance, with precise structure and focus”, an objective he has certainly accomplished early on. The wines are cut from a classic Piedmontese cloth, mineral-driven, with nice acid, drive, and tannic structure. Given the care and attention to detail in both the vineyards and cellar, the wines should age gracefully for 15-20 years or more. We are proud to have his wine as part of our portfolio.