Yesterday I had the honor to meet Claudio Rapalino, the do-it-all winemaker at his namesake winery in Neviglie. It took me a little while to find, partly because of the windy streets of Piemonte, lack of signs, and especially the characteristic bed of Langhe fog that appeared. I just kept feeling so lucky that I didn’t have a stick shift here! Thankfully, I got just enough phone service to talk to Manu who was waving at me from the terrace overlooking my little Classe A dive into the depths of the fog.

A half an hour later, I was greeted by the very friendly Claudio and Manu who led me into a nice cozy tasting room with a wood burning stove. We chit-chatted over a glass of their delicious Arneis (one of my favorites!) and got into some pretty intriguing conversations.


For reasons outside of their control, trusting too much in others, and the suffering global economic situation, they have definitely had their ups and downs. But the most important thing to remember is keeping your “piedi per terra”, staying true to yourself, and trudging down that road, even if it may be slower. Claudio even showed me all the gorgeous local stones they used for the building of their winery. Instead of taking the easy way out and just buying stones, they dug them up locally, washed and placed them all perfectly.


With about 40 hectares (100 acres) they only produce about 30,000 wines. Although it sounds clichè, he really truly believes that great wines come from the vineyards and if you work well there, you shouldn’t have to intervene too much in the cantina.



Claudio also expressed his frustration, understandably, about not being able to offer the consumer specific information and data about the wines on the bottle. In order to be DOCG classified, there is a maximum value of approx. 150 mg of sulfites per liter… His were measured in the 20 range! He risked getting in big trouble by wanting to print that on his labels because apparently it would damage the competitors with higher amounts. But shouldn’t that be valued and be known?


Punctually at noon, his mom brought us out a simple but delicious meal. I couldn’t be happier shooting the breeze with a winemaker, having his mom Carla serve us up risotto with leeks and radicchio, chard fritatta, winter salad, and sipping on wine. It is so refreshing to be with such REAL people, who might not even know what twitter or a blog is, but make pretty darn good wines!


In their small production they still manage to have about 12 different labels! They admit it might be too much, but every time they think about eliminating one from their production, they feel some sort of justification or rather a sentimental bond, just won’t allow them to do it. Each wine is grown on the type of soil most adapt for that grape. At heights up to almost 500 meters (1,640 feet), they even grow Pinot Nero!

I haven’t written about wineries lately but I really feel like this one deserves a blog post write up. I can’t wait to visit again and would like to give them encouraging words with this post by saying that we, as consumers, do care about quality and we appreciate their efforts!

Un grande grazie e abbraccio a tutto la famiglia…

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