The family trip to Italy in October 1997 was meant to be a 6 month sabbatical to retrace my Italian roots, and learn of the family’s way of life. 15 months later we returned home to Perth, with an energy to pursue grape growing and winemaking as more than a hobby, with an understanding and respect for how the Italians approached winemaking.
Living in the family village of Bianzone in the valley known as Valtellina (in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy); surrounded by terraces of vines, fine wine, fine food produce, and tourism were the jewels of the area. This is where Nebbiolo is king (also known as Chiavennasca), the grape that is the backbone of Italy’s great Barolo wines. In this time I learned of my great grandfather’s role as Capo (head) of the Cooperativa (community) winery.
Terraced vineyard in Bianzone, Italy.
Unlike Australian winemaking trends of producing single variety wines, here it was about blending varieties to produce wines with complexity and layers of flavour, but always with Nebbiolo.
A few years later, settled back at Arlewood, I decided to make a wine in that medium weight, complex style in honour of the family. La Bratta (the name of the nearby mountain village where my mother was born, and the first family vines were planted) is that wine.
La Bratta Rosso and La Bratta Bianco now represent my personal selection of the best red wine and best white wine barrels from the best vintages. Made in small numbers, not made to a formula, each La Bratta wine is a reflection of our vineyard and our family.