The Germano family has owned 6 hectares of land near Serralunga d’Alba, in the heart of the Barolo area, since 1856. Ettore Germano founded his eponymous winery in the 1960s as the first of his family to begin producing and bottling estate wines. His son, Sergio, took over operations in 1985, following his schooling at the prestigious Scuola Enologica di Alba. Sergio has leveraged his immense technical knowledge of the vineyard and the cellar ever since to expand into unknown and creative territories. Sergio has made his mark in the famed hills of Barolo, Alba, and Langhe, particularly with his pioneering interest in growing Chardonnay and Riesling as well as Pinot Noir for traditional method sparkling wine. The estate now consists of 10 hectares of red varieties in Serralunga and about 5 hectares in Cigliè dedicated to the production of white and sparkling wines. Sergio has no shortage of creative energy when it comes to innovation and new wine horizons but is staunchly unwavering in his approach to Barolo. His wife loved the wines from Spain, so in an abandoned hectare he planted Tempranillo over ten years ago. He has always been passionate about sparkling wines from champagne, specifically, so several years ago he planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with the intent of making great sparkling wines from the Langhe, which later evolved to an amazing sparkling Nebbiolo rosé. Barolo, however, has always been terroir specific and most importantly close to the cellar. Cerretta, PraPo, Lazzarito, and now Vigna Rionda are on Germano labels and expressed through his farming and stewardship in the cellar. His deep humility expresses a deference to the vineyard that shows itself in the finished wines. His wines are unique and thoughtful expressions of their varietal and soil. From a sparkling Nebbiolo rosé to one of the most impressive examples of Riesling in Italy, Sergio, along with his wife, Elena, and their two children, are steadily building a fascinating and delicious hub of Piedmont winemaking.
Sergio Germano and I met in 2009. His importer to Colorado at the time was not getting the job done and we were able to connect while I was in Serralunga visiting some wineries. We had an instant connection to the soils of Serralunga, as his attention to detail and love of wine was obvious over lunch. He took me to the Alta Langa, home to his famous Herzu Riesling. He brought a cooler full of old vintages ... Chardonnay, Binel, Riesling, and Barolo that we enjoyed over a gut busting lunch. I made the mistake of telling him I was "starving" ... something I tell any customer never to do when visiting a winery in Italy. 4 hours later we'd covered Barolo, winemaking, life, and tried to get the owner of the restaurant to explain how he made grappa "in house" without killing himself.
1856, 4 generations
Silty, calcareous (limestone-rich), stony