The headquarters is located outside the village center, developing from the house that once belonged to the great-great-grandparents. Today it is the production site and the fulcrum of our viticulture and winemaking project, the true protagonist of a wine's quality.
The Rapalino Fratelli winery is located in Neviglie, east of the town of Alba and to the right of the Tanaro river, in the middle of the Langhe hills, which have always been known for the quality of the grapes produced here. The commune is adjacent to the production area of Barbaresco, a wine that our company has been producing for several years.
We, the two brothers, started bottling our wines in 1998, but wine has been made at home for a long time already: wine has always been produced as a food from which to obtain useful energy for the hard work in the fields. We started with grapes from the family vineyards, remaining faithful to ancient farming wisdom; the practices of sustainable agriculture, as fashionable as they are necessary today, have always been part of our cultivation habits. We have been convinced for five generations that our actions must always be for the betterment of the land that hosts us, and with this deep-rooted sentiment, we build step by step the future we desire for our children and grandchildren.
With this in mind, we combine technological progress with tradition: we have adopted the procedures of the so-called “4.0”, a national plan aimed at improving business processes to optimise resources and make them traceable; we avail ourselves of the advice of experts in various fields, so that we can always deal with competent people; we are expanding our environmental certifications to continue the transparency and consistency that have always guided us.
Our family name, according to heraldry, indicates our origin in the city of Rapallo, Liguria, as a branch of the Counts of Lavagna, traced back to 1520.
Our great-great-grandparents Francesco and Giuseppina came to live in Neviglie at the end of the 1800s and from then on began cultivating the vineyard, along with other crops and livestock needed to support the family.
Our parents continued the farming activity and we today, with our respective families, continue this activity. We are all involved, in different roles and tasks, in the myriad activities that a farm requires.
Today, as before, our satisfaction comes from simple but rare things: the making of a good wine after years of work and patient waiting; a Sunday lunch all together; or time spent with the people we value and love.
From the moment our great-great-grandparents arrived in Neviglie, they immediately experienced what Fenoglio meant by bad land (“La Malora”, translated as “Ruin”). Despite their fatigue, they always worked the land with care, patience and dedication. Our grandfather never liked modern chemical products, the great novelty after the Second World War, so we never used herbicides or treated the vineyards with synthetic products.
Of course, when we were younger, it seemed absurd to us not to take advantage of the easy routes that the new products offered, and we well remember the effort of cutting the grass by hand in certain vineyards, where it was difficult to walk because of the steep slope... the results and time have proved our grandfather right, and today we are grateful to him for not having traded consistency for convenience. We have continued in that vein, as they say in our farming world, and to the original four hectares of vineyard, all around the winery, we have added others, until we reach the current forty or so.
Today the land is located in six municipalities: Neviglie, Alba, Treiso, Trezzo Tinella, Neive, Camo, with an average height of about 400 metres above sea level and an average slope of 20° with peaks of 30°. Some of our vineyards are included in the mapping of the “Sorì Eroici”, a recent recognition that highlights the hard work of decades and the value of certain vineyards that, despite the discomfort, continue to be cultivated precisely because of the excellent fruit they produce. It is exactly in vineyards such as these that one can distinctly perceive the deep bond between the land and man.
Each vineyard is different and we work it differently, depending on the variety, the zone, the exposure, the slope... we listen to its messages every day and interpret them to bring the healthy fruit of a whole year's effort into the cellar.
Our approach to wine and winemaking starts in the vineyard: the hard, clayey-calcareous soil gives the wines their typical ageing characteristics: plenty of structure for great longevity. Moreover, our vineyards are located in dry and ventilated areas, a characteristic that allows us to bring very healthy grapes to the cellar without having to intervene chemically.
Perfectly healthy and ripe fruit is in fact the prerequisite for obtaining a good wine. It has already been said many times and we repeat it: quality wine is made in the vineyard.
Harvesting is only done by hand and, in certain cases, we use the double box: an initial selection is already made during the harvest. Once in the cellar, the grapes placed in the low crates, with perfectly intact berries, are further selected to be sent to the vinification process, the same as our grandparents used to do, albeit supported by modern equipment.
We take care of the delicate part of fermentation as one would care for a new and sensitive creature, with constant and untiring attention, but then, once the transformation from grape to wine is complete, our intervention is greatly reduced. If we have done a good job in the vineyard and taken good care of the fermentation, the aromas and characteristics specific to the grape and that vintage have become an integral part of what we will find in the glass.
Ageing in wood is a real resting place for the wine: we intervene rarely and with a light hand, with a delicate and respectful approach, until the wine is ready to be bottled.
Ours are wines that express the land they come from: hard, steep, uncomfortable, tiring. Historically, only the vine was able to survive and bear fruit in certain years with a particularly unfavourable climate. This atavistic bond between the vine, our hills and the work of man, rewards us with wines that arouse deep and unexpected emotions.
The Langhe can offer very different wines, which can be either fresh and drinkable or with great structure and complexity.
Moreover, certain grape varieties are very sensitive to climatic trends: it will therefore be possible to discover a wide range of sensations and aromatic recalls, different for each vintage.
We work to ensure that all specific characteristics are well transferred from the grape to the glass, and we hope that in this process 'our way' of making wine will be recognisable. Our wines do not try to please everyone, but ask to tell their story, directly and without frills, to those who decide to find the time and attention to listen.