THE FORMIDABLE WOMAN; THE KING OF WINES
Barolo is not only a commune in the Piemonte region of northwest Italy, it’s also the village within that commune and the name of the local wine. Barolo is coveted worldwide to the likes of Burgundy and Bordeaux. And why not—the place is steeped in history, tradition, and most notably—winemaking!
The region grows Nebbiolo, named for the nebbia—or fog—that would cling to the tops of the hillsides in the morning, making for truly fairytale views. Nebbiolo pairs beautifully with Barolo’s regional cuisine of simple rustic dishes; pastas like tagliolini with butter sauce and local truffles shaved over top; or osso bucco—braised veal shank, or perhaps tartare from local Fassone cattle. Is your mouth watering yet?
Charting A Path for Women in Winemaking
Chiara Boschis is the face of Pira; she’s been revered as a rebel, a pioneer, even a rockstar. As the story goes, the legendary Luigi Pira died suddenly, leaving the family name to die out. The Boschis family purchased the estate in 1980. Chiara was studying nearby in Turin, still that didn’t stop her from tasting and discovering wines with the Barolo Boys. Things became clear to her; she took the reigns of winemaking at E. Pira in 1990.
It’s remarkable that Chiara was intended to be married off, but she decided to do things on her own terms. She was honored as the first female winemaker in the Langhe region. In a place where men dominated the vineyards for centuries, she had to work exceedingly hard to gain the consideration of respect and acceptance. She is content that her efforts have created a domino effect; her nieces both work in the vineyards and more women have now joined Chiara in the winemaking world.
You Have to Do It Your Own Way
Chiara wanted to marry the power of Barolo with approachability. She’s made strides against traditional Barolo winemaking: employing green harvesting, shorter fermentations, and usage of smaller French oak barrels—barriques. These tactics amount to approachable, fresh, and less tannic wines.
Chiara began practicing organic principles in 2010, then converted to Certified Organic in 2014. After creating a project called Cannubi Bio, she convinced 80% of the other growers in Cannubi to also work organically! To practice agronomics—scientific agriculture—vineyard operations are fulfilled a little differently. Essential oils are used for organic pest control; management of cover crops and soil health are also vital. These decisions have clearly paid off thanks to her intuitive sense of winemaking.
Written by Brittany Marsh, Hart & Cru helped open the door for Brittany to head to Barolo to work harvest with Chiara at E. Pira for the 2019 vintage.
THE WINES OF E. PIRA – CHIARA BOSCHIS
BAROLO “CANNUBI” : Her super strong weapon is the Barolo Cannubi from the oldest vineyard in Barolo, long considered the region’s “Grand Cru.” This wine was her first, and incredibly, a triumph! It was this bottle that helped her emerge and stand out among the masses, an expression of finesse and power. It is Chiara’s most recognized wine. 275 cases produced
BAROLO “MOSCONI” : When the single vineyard Mosconi became available, Chiara leapt at the chance. Deep dark colors, rich structure, and power all emanate from the Mosconi; an interesting contrast to the elegance and perfume of Cannubi. Vines are from 3 hectares of land 400 meters above sea level. About 400 cases produced / 50 magnums total
BAROLO “VIA NUOVA” : Prior to 2009, Via Nuova was the common name of the vineyard behind Chiara’s cellar in Barolo. Under new wine law, the vineyard became known as Terlo. At this time, Chiara decided to stop producing Via Nuova as a single vineyard expression, and instead make it a classic Barolo blend from all of her plots; thus reiterating the name “Via Nuova” as the new way. The blending of several vineyard sites was common with Barolo producers until the 1960s, when the single vineyard bottlings took off. Ironically, “Via Nuova” represents the new way with a nod to old-time tradition. About 450 cases produced
LANGHE NEBBIOLO : Baby Barolo is a great way to look at this wine. The fruit is all coming from Ravera in Monforte and is made from the youngest vines that are destined for Barolo when they are of age. The wine sees 12 months in barrique. Chiara is able to show the youthful fruit and elegance in a wine that drinks incredibly well young. About 640 cases produced