Paolo De Marchi is the owner of the renowned Isole e Olena estate in Tuscany, known for producing premium quality Chianti wines. Paolo inherited a 19th century family estate in Piedmont from his grandfather, Felice Sperino, a passionate viticulturist and professor in Turin. In 1999 Paolo set about realising a childhood dream to restore the vineyards with his son Luca, who now runs the estate. The property is located in Lessona in the province of Biella in northern Piedmont. This is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in Italy; wine has been vinified here since the 12th century, and from the 14th century the area gained a reputation for producing Nebbiolo wines of high quality. In 1861 Lessona wine was drunk to toast the unification of Italy but, following WW2, wine production was gradually abandoned due to cultivation problems and the emergence of the textile and metal industries. By 2000 the once 1,000 hectares under vine had shrunk to a mere 2.5 hectares. Paolo wanted to rescue Lessona from oblivion, and produce wine again. 1904 had been the last vintage bottled by a Sperino on the estate before it was bequeathed to the De Machi family. Now Proprietà Sperino has 12 hectares of organically farmed vineyards, 2 of which are in Bramaterra and 10 in Lessona, at the foot of Monte Rosa in the Pennine Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The terrain here is extreme and has a unique structure and, with a pH value of 4.5-5.5, it has one of the lowest pH values in the world. The soils are comprised of marine sand and Alpine granite, rich in magnesium and potassium minerals, which imbue the wines with their signature mineral and salty notes. Nebbiolo is the primary grape cultivated, known locally as Spanna. There is also some Vespolina and Croatina and a little Cabernet Franc which is only produced as a varietal wine in minute quantities in the best years. The cellar was already designed to work entirely by gravity and here at Proprietà Sperino the wines are crafted traditionally, fermented spontaneously with native yeasts in open wooden vats with no temperature control, and punched down slowly to enhance the aromatic qualities of the grapes. These are passionately handcrafted artisanal wines, mineral and aromatic with a unique sophistication. They are really something quite special!