Giuseppe Contratto founded his winery in 1867, when he began to vinify muscat grapes from the Monferrato area, producing one of the first Italian sparkling wines in bottles. Also in those years the Contratto family began the construction of its historic cellar, which was then completed at the beginning of the twentieth century.
In 1919 Contratto produced the first vintage “methode Champenoise” sparkling wine in Italy. The winery became the official wine supplier for the Vatican, the Belgian royal house, and the royal family Savoy.
The Contratto family remained at the helm of the winery until 1993, when the Bocchino family, already owner of a grappa distillery, took the reins of the company starting a remarkable renovation of the “Cathedral of Wine”, the internal courtyard and the tasting room.
Giorgio Rivetti, always a great lover of Champagne and one of the region’s top sparkling muscato producers, began to collaborate with Bocchino family, immediately recognizing the great potential of the historic sparkling wine house. Shortly after, in 2011, the Rivetti decided to take an important step and acquired the winery.
Riveti immediately acquired several hectares of vineyard land near the small town of Bossolasco. Located in the highest part of the Langhe, the Bossolasco area lends itself perfectly to the cultivation of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, grapes used in the production of Alta Langhe DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita). This marked the official entry of Contratto into the Alta Langhe Consortium, and thus becoming a reference point for the entire denomination.
Grapes are manually picked and selected and kept separate according to their vineyard location. They are separated by parcel and variety, cooled down in the winery before crushing and only the free run juice is collected. The wines remain separated after the first fermentation, and continue to mature until May after harvest. After assessment, the cuvée is assembled and then bottled for the 2nd fermentation. Both fermentations are indigneous. Aging: minimum of 48 months on lees in bottle. Hand riddled and disgorged. No dosage.
In 2007 it was decided to pay tribute to the famous Leonetto Cappiello, considered the father of modern Italian poster art design, by labeling all the Contratto wines with his art. Cappiello had created a Contratto publicity campaign that ran from 1922 to 1925.
“The 2013 Metodo Classico Millesimato Pas Dosé has the bright intensity and definition of the highest caliber sparkling wine. This blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay is creamy and rich in the mouth with fine, soft beading. You’ll pick up notes of lemon mousse and honeydew melon. It would go beautifully with delicate seafood dishes. Drink 2019-2030” – 93 points, Wine Advocate (ML) – June 2019
If you visit the area!
In 2014 another important recognition was awarded to the Contratto winery: the historic Wine Cathedral was officially declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The beautiful Cathedral was excavated entirely by hand under the hillside above the city of Canelli. This extends for about 5,000 square meters and reaches a maximum depth of about 38 meters. The characteristic sedimental marl, rich in limestone tuff, favors the maintenance of the constant temperature at 13 degrees.