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Cascina Gilli

Cascina Gilli lies in the Basso Monferrato, between Castelnuovo Don Bosco and Albugnano, on a spine of hilltops composed of greyish-white terra bianca, with uninterrupted expanses of vineyards in every direction, a terroir that has always produced wines prized for their full body and complex aromas.
Cascina Gilli comprises a historic villa built in 18th century and 14 surrounding hectares. Gianni Vergnano, who has directed the winery estate since 1983, has poured into it his efforts and passion, with the result that Cascina Gilli stands as one of Piedmont’s most prestigious and influential wineries.
A large proportion of the labour over these years has gone into recovering grape varieties native to these hills, and that has substantially contributed to the respect Cascina Gilli has won for its Freisa, Barbera, Bonarda, and Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco.

Cascina Gilli’s first release was the Freisa Ferma Vendemmia 1985, which immediately merited a profile in Gambero Rosso’s prestigious annual wine guide.
A few years later, the winery acquired autoclaves, pressure fermenters for producing sweet wines, and was thus able to make a Malvasia. This sweet wine, with an enthralling bouquet and delicious flavours, immediately garnered enthusiastic reviews in the Italian and international wine press.
Thirty years may sound like a lifetime, but not in wine. To revive a forgotten variety for example, one must select the best plant material in the field, propagate it, wait until the vines mature in order to produce quality fruit, and then every year one must carry out experimental vinifications, varying temperature, period of maceration, length of pumpovers, use of oak, and length of maturation, a process of learning that always raises further questions.

As one winds along the sinuous road that leads through the vineyards and hills towards Nevissano and the Abbazia di Vezzolano, one is irresistibly attracted to Cascina Gilli’s estate villa. Set in the midst of expansive swaths of vineyards, it rises up with its ochre tower, spacious portico-lined terraces, and lovely surrounding park. The villa, dating back to 1700, was restored by the Vergnano family; they respected fully its original configuration, and furnishing was carried out with exquisite taste and period sensitivity.
Next to the villa is a rural farm complex restructured in the 19th century, which offers pleasant, spacious room where we offer our wine tastings.
The venerable brick-vaulted estate cellars were once used for winemaking; today, they host the barrels for wine that is maturing. Modern winemaking equipment and more extensive vineyards required the construction of an extremely functional modern winemaking facility, built partially underground in order to lessen its impact on the pristine nature in which it is set. 

The hills of “terra bianca” soils where Cascina Gilli is located give this area a very different character from adjacent zones. Like the Langhe area, these bluish-grey clay marls have consistently produced unique wines, well structured and richly scented.
The vineyards completely surround the Cascina and extend along the Bricco di Cornareto in the commune of Castelnuovo Don Bosco, as well as over the nearby Schierano hill in the commune of Passerano Marmorito. Our Barbera and Bonarda vineyards are located here, and these vines yield the best lots for our Malvasia.
Our own scrupulous management of these vineyards, plus a low crop yield, ensure grapes that are sound, fully ripe, and complex. This high-quality fruit is complemented by winemaking practices that are professional and state-of-the-art, and it is no wonder that we produce wines that are beautiful exemplars of the Piedmontese tradition of true elegance and unparalleled quality.

Convinced that wine should be neither some imaginative gesture nor an individual’s personal statement, Gianni Vergnano attracted, over time, a group of dedicated, talented colleagues who worked together to further a common enterprise based on high quality, research, and constant experimentation.
For almost thirty years now Giovanni Matteis has overseen and tended our grapes in the vineyards. Oenologist Gianpiero Gerbi, son of the respected Professor Gerbi, devotedly follows the experiments and the maturation of the wines. Marketing and sales are directed by the son Paolo Vergnano.