Azienda Vitivinicola Guglierame
High in the Maritime Alps of interior Liguria, nestled just 10 kilometers from France and a stones throw from southern Piedmont, is the tiny village of Pornassio, home to the Guglierame family and their unique, historic wines. Pornassio is an ancient village, a gateway passage in the high Alps that has been home to the cultivation of the indigenous Ormeasco grape variety since at least 1299. Descendants of the historic Marquisate-Scarella clans, the Guglierame family is the oldest in this mountain region. Brothers Agostino and Raffaele along with their sister Elisa have been making these wines their entire lives. Their first bottling was in 1958.
The village is perched on steep, terraced hillsides, up to and well over 550 meters above sea level. Ormeasco is a rare sub-variety of Dolcetto, with a morphology that is unique and has adapted to the harsh Alpine growing conditions. The berries are much larger and the harvest is almost an entire month later then the Dolcetto found growing in the Langhe. The soils are a complex blend of calcium rich clay as well as schist and blue marne. The combination of these qualities lend the wines to being elegant, less tannic and also long lived.
The Guglierame family holds just 2.5 hectares of estate vines, yet they are the "largest" producer in the region (there are 3, including Guglierame and the local Cantina Sociale). They make two versions of wine, both 100% Ormeasco; a classic and elegant red wine, aged in 25 hL old oak barrels and the rare and exciting Sciac-tra`, which translates to 'direct-press' and is an amazing rosato expression of the grape. The vineyards are tended organically and the wines are naturally fermented, basket pressed and aged in the family's historic cantina.
Beyond the technical aspects of these wines, the true beauty of the wines of the Guglierame family is just that, the family. Agostino and his brother have quite literally been making these wines their entire lives, planting the vines with their father and grandfather before that. We talk about a sense of place often in wine, here, high in the mountains, in a tiny, desolate village of 130 inhabitants, we peer into the past and discover wines of an entirely different ilk then found in the modern world. Andrea, Agostino's son, has too been by his fathers side since he was a boy helping the harvest the grapes, make the wine...he will one day take up the mantle of the family estate and bring it to the next generations. These wines mean much more to me then simply what's in the bottle. I urge you to seek them out, however difficult they may be to find from time to time (contact us if you'd like to find them of course). They are ethereal and truly special and it is a great honor to work with such an amazing family that is the Guglierames.