The small village of Scurzolengo, in the hills above Asti, has been the home of the Verrua family for many generations. The parents, Teresa and Ottavio, have been growing grapes and hazelnuts here for decades, in the purest Piedmontese tradition. Nadia Verrua joined them about twenty years ago, perpetuating the family style...
|Cultivated grapes||Ruché, Grignolino, Freisa, Barbera|
|Size||6 hectares of vines, 4 hectares de hazelnuts|
|Our favorites||Bandita, Teresa la Grande|
Azienda Agricola Cascina Tavijn, a family estate in Piedmont, has been located in the hilly region north of Asti, perched on the hills of Monferrato since 1908. It was not until 2000, under Nadia's leadership, that the estate's wines were bottled and marketed under the name "Cascina Tavijn", short for Ottavio, the name of her father and great-grandfather in the local dialect.
Of the 10 hectares of the estate, one part is dedicated to hazelnut trees and the largest to autochthonous grape varieties, Barbera, Grignolino or Ruché... planted at an altitude of about 300 metres, on limestone and sandy soils, with a subsoil of marine fossils, reminding us that the whole area was covered with water during the Pliocene epoch, a few million years ago.
The cultivation, which has been certified as organic since 2007, and the vinification are now the responsibility of Nadia Verrua, who used to accompany her parents from the vineyard to the cellar. Today, if she is alone at the helm, it is still under the benevolent eye of her parents, Teresa and Ottavio. It is they who give their name to some of the estate's iconic wines.
Wanting to promote the local know-how and to put forward some forgotten grape varieties, Nadia is constantly questioning and experimenting, on the plots, plantations, vinifications, and maturation...but the identity of the wines is there! Fermentations are generally done in cement, in tanks dating from the 1960s, built into the cellar walls, and Nadia often uses tank feet to encourage faster fermentations, reducing the risk of oxidation and preserving the carbon dioxide, which is often still found very slightly in the finished wines, adding freshness and crispness.
Nadia experiments with cement, wood, steel or fibreglass. She blends grape varieties, such as Barbera and Ruché in "68", or Moscato, Cortese and Chardonnay in "Bianca". Her favourite grape, Grignolino, is vinified in almost all its forms, from pet-nat to ripasso. She shapes the Ruché in different ways, with a longer ageing period for the "Teresa la Grande" cuvée... a unique approach that aims to be a synthesis of all that Piedmont has to offer, valuing the autochthonous grape varieties and the ancestral techniques.
What makes Nadia's wines special is also their labels! They are all designed by Giancluca Cannizzo, a friend of Nadia and her husband Pietro, owner of Ristorante Comsorzio in Turin. His artist name? My Poster Sucks. He started his artistic career by drawing posters and advertisements, including one for Pietro's restaurant in Turin.
Since then, this pencil stroke has been used on numerous Italian wine labels, bar and restaurant graphics and even importers' websites. Simple and somewhat naive imagery, texts with a pop-art feel, her style is recognisable among a hundred, just like Nadia's wines...