Emanuela Bolla

Emanuela Bolla

Fratelli Serio & Battista Borgogno (Barolo) (Enologa/Winemaker & Family Owner)

”My love is for the vineyards and the cellars.”

The charismatic Emanuela Bolla is a fifth-generation family member who grew up having a special relationship with her nonno, Serio Borgogno, who was the family’s widely respected winemaker for many years. The estate is entirely family run and managed, which frequently is the case in the Piemonte region.

Emanuela left home for Turin to study architecture, another of her passions, and met her future husband there in 2006. She told us that, “luckily the family did not expect me to work at the winery. I was able to come to my own decision.” It was not until after completing her degree that the strong influence of her special relationship with her grandfather became apparent, as well as her own love for the vineyards and cellar: “I realized that I wanted to stay here.” She studied with a friend, an enologa, and in 2010 joined the family business, working for a year with her grandfather in the vineyards. In 2012, she joined her father, Marco Bolla, in the cellar and said, “My curiosity brought me to learn from my father the art of making wine.”

Fratelli Serio & Battista Borgogno is located at the very top of Cannubi, surrounded by its stunning vineyards, which we had the opportunity to visit on a beautiful clear morning. Emanuela explained, and demonstrated, how every vine in the vineyards is considered unique and thus treated differently. Every stage, from pruning to thinning, is meticulously executed in order to safeguard the vine and respect its productive capacity. The goal is to produce a healthy, high-quality fruit and also protect the biodiversity that makes their vineyards so special. Organic practices are followed; only sustainable processes are used in the vineyard.

While touring the extensive cellar, we learned about the importance of following traditions when making the estate’s wine. The family believes that one needs to conserve and preserve the characteristics of the different vineyards in the winemaking process. Each vintage has a unique character that must be kept and expressed in the wine. Wines are fermented in big wooden vats called "Tini" and then transferred to large Slovenian oak botti (barrels) having a capacity of 25–50 hectoliters for aging, the “traditional” way to make wine in the Piemonte.

It should be noted that Serio, who died in 2016, did not favor using barriques, smaller barrels with a capacity of some 225 liters, when they came into favor in the 1980s. He refused to support doing so, deciding instead to protect his winery’s tradition and authenticity, an approach that Emanuela and her father are continuing.

Advice. Emanuela believes that technical study is important as is “curiosity and sensibility.”

The Wines. Fratelli Serio & Battista Borgogno is known for its excellent Barolo, Barbaresco, and Nebbiolo. In addition, a number of white wines and dessert wines are also produced.

We appreciated the opportunity to taste three excellent wines, the 2016 Nebbiolo d'Alba, the 2015 Barolo Cannubi, and the 2013 Barolo Cannubi Riserva. We tucked the Riserva 2012 Cannubi Barolo that we purchased into our suitcase, and it is now safe and sound in our wine cellar.

The estate’s three hectares of Cannubi are central to the estate’s production. Spanning 15 hectares total, Cannubi is considered to be one of the greatest vineyards of the Piemonte region. With its strategic location, this hill contains vines from different soils (e.g., sand and limestone) and different microclimatic conditions and exposure, terroir that lends the wines fullness, elegance, delicacy, and longevity.

The Barolo Cannubi and Barolo Cannubi Riserva consistently earn positive reviews from Italian and international wine critics. The Barolo Cannubi Riserva 2008, for example, received a score of 95 from Wine Spectator and was awarded a silver medal at the 2014 International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC). A more recent vintage, the 2013 Barolo Cannubi, was rated at 92 points by Wine Enthusiast. Jancis Robinson described this wine as “Balsamic and deep and almost a little ethereal. Lots of fresh acidity and ripe cherry, and almost a little tart on the finish. Certainly youthful. Long, fragrant and muscular.”

The estate produces 60,000 bottles, of which 50% are exported.