The Baroque Ancient Wineries of the Marchesi have their seat in Barolo, in the palace overlooking the Castle of the Marchesi Falletti. Right here, more than 200 years ago, a beautiful story began. And now, the family controls more than 430 acres of UNESCO World Heritage Vineyards. The story:
The history of a cellar, protected by gentle hills in the heart of the Langhe, where a wine was born, which in the fashion of the French tradition was called Barolo in honor of the place of birth.No one could then imagine that one day he would become king: the King of wines, the king's wine.
The story begins, more precisely, in 1807 when the Marquis of Barolo, Carlo Tancredi Falletti, married a French noblewoman in Paris, Maulévrier's Juliette Colbert, a great-grandson of the famous King of Commerce Finance. The potential of the wine produced at Barolo, which only after a complete fermentation and prolonged refinement in wood could reveal all the typical qualities of the soil and the vine: the Nebbiolo, powerful and austere, capable of lasting over time and expressing all the Features of this extraordinary terroir.
In 1864, with the death of Juliette, the prestigious Falletti dynasty was extinct: in order to perpetuate the memory and the charitable activity, Opera Pia Barolo was created by the will of the Marchesa in the beautiful Barolo Palace in Turin.
This story was intended to be crossed with that of another family: the Abbona family, who had founded his own "Cavalier Felice Abbona e Figli" wine cellar in the square at the foot of the arch of the Baroli Castle Marchesi.
Precisely in those years, in fact, Pietro Abbona was born who, working with tenacity and competence in the paternal cellars, together with his brother Ernesto and his sisters Marina and Celestina, managed to buy the Estate Agency Pia Barolo, that is, the ancient wine cellars And the aging of the Marches of Barolo.
So Massimo Martinelli describes it in the book "The Barolo as I Feel It": "Among the characters associated with the name of Barolo some may be called historical, true pioneers. The first place goes to the commendator Pietro Abbona, the true patriarch of Barolo, who made the wine of his land worldwide known. It is true that her was the cellar where Barolo moved the first steps in history. Its barrels (and partly the same ones that can still be admired in the cellars in Barolo) were in fact the patronage of the Marchesa Falletti. Commendator Abbona inherited tradition, love vineyards, wine cellar, wine and brought his label where the castles of Barolo and Serralunga were everywhere on the farthest canteens.And it is with pleasure that he acknowledges this great merit ".
Coming to our days, the Abbona family continues the work begun more than two centuries ago: to produce high quality wines, destined to enrich, year after year, the history of a large wine cellar where news and tradition meet and where it is handed , From father to son, an important patrimony of vineyards, cellars and knowledge for more than five generations.
Interview with Valentina di Barolo
Everyone has the legends they deserve. Valentina Abbona, sixth generation to head the Marchesi di Barolo winery, grew up with the legend of the French noblewoman Juliette Colbert de Maulévrier, wife of Marquess Carlo Tancredi Falletti, and a central figure in the history of the winery, as well as in the whole of vinegrowing in the Langhe region.
The winery was born from the undertaking of a woman
“When I was a child, my parents often told me her story, which literally left me bewitched,” Valentina told us. “At the start of the nineteenth century, Juliette married and moved to Piedmont. She straightaway understood the huge potential of the Nebbiolo grape and devoted herself personally to building a large winemaking and ageing cellar…
And so Barolo wine was born and named after the place. I find it fascinating to think that it all started with a woman. In 1929 my ancestor Pietro Abbona bought the palace and land and now my father Ernesto runs it with my mother, Anna, who devote themselves passionately to the family winery.”
Valentina Abbona, from student to export manager
If Valentina keeps one eye on the past and the illustrious tradition, the other looks towards the future and abroad, in search of new importers and consolidating the main markets. “My role is marketing and export manager. Marchesi di Barolo exports wines to about 65 countries, but obviously I don’t follow them all directly. The focus is mainly on the United States, Canada and Central America, with a few stopovers in Asia. I am away from home between 180 and 200 days a year, but for the moment it is not a burden, quite the opposite. Every trip is a unique experience, which leaves me with indelible and very different memories. Travelling is a great privilege.”
A passion for travelling
The passion for travelling is a constant in Valentina’s life, dating back to before she started working. “After studying science at secondary school in Alba, I moved to Milan to study business economics at Bocconi University, where I graduated in 2012. My university years enabled me to have many different experiences all over the world: Manchester, New York, Hyderabad in India, Shanghai. I had the chance to see very many wineries and business models which were often extremely different: it was very educational.”
The tie with home
One day, while Valentina was in China, her mother Anna asked her to return to Italy to work alongside her. “That period together was enlightening: it enabled me to rediscover our situation on a national level and to see the business dynamics of the winery first-hand. I decided to go back home, to settle in Barolo and start working alongside my parents.” Marchesi di Barolo is one of the most prestigious wineries in the Langhe. It has premises in Barolo, in the building opposite the castle of the Falletti Marquesses, where it all started over 200 years ago.
The Great Barolo crus: a family heritage
“Our wine production concentrates on the Nebbiolo variety, which produces great DOCG Barolo Crus,” Valentina explains. “Our mission is to produce wines of the highest quality, thanks to an important heritage of vines and cellar knowledge handed down from generation to generation.” In total, 201 hectares of vineyards, some owned by us and other belonging to historic vinegrowers who supply us with grapes. After Valentina joined the winery, it’s now her brother Davide Abbona’s turn: born in 1994, he is about to finish his studies. “After studying at the oenological institute in Alba, Davide is now attending the Catholic University in Milan to become the linguistic expert of the winery. He is very good, I know that his contribution will be invaluable, too.”