Rocca Rondinaria - Wine Farm
The family farm was born in 2004 and consists of a real estate of about 12 hectares in the Apennine hills of the Scrivia valley.
Originally, its activities included breeding horses and small farm animals, haymaking, and the experimental cultivation of special essences such as saffron. Subsequently, after taking over vineyards in an area exceptionally suited for wine-making, known as Lucesio, Giovanna and their children decided to combine the agricultural profile that has traditionally had an important part in the family history, with the expertise skilfully preserved by the winemakers of Rocca Grimalda. The result has been a small enterprise that aims to relaunch and develop a local wine of quality.
Taking into account that the landscape is a substantial part of wine making, we have preferred to recover old farm vineyards that still retain such typical characteristics of biodiversity (wine varieties coming from different selections) as to give the wine its specific quality.
The cultural practices are dictated by the pursuit of the greatest respect and harmony with nature: limited use of tractors, no trimming of vines in summer, organic fertilization using green manure, aeration of the soil, respect of cosmic calendars, use of biodynamic treatments, grape harvesting by hand etc...
The quantity produced is still small. It consists of two types of Dolcetto CRU coming from areas famous for the high quality of the “terroirs” named Trionzo and Vallegrande/Bernarda, and a wine that is fermented with the stalks of the grapes and therefore still pressed by feet, and aged for a long time, like it was done in the past.
A new vineyard of Dolcetto d’Ovada DOC/DOCG is being implemented and presently we introduced others local vines as: Barbera, Timorasso and Moscato.
The wine cellars, located in the basement of the castle, guarantee a natural stability of temperature and humidity. The processing interventions are therefore minimal and aim to accompany and enhance the characteristics of each vintage: partial pressing by feet, natural fermentation, a long period on the sediment of the barrel, the transfer to slow release barrels, followed by long ageing in bottles, respect of the cosmic calendar and no filtration.
Why we speak of “farmers” vineyards
What characterises the farmers’ vineyard and defines its physiognomy is the project/vision of family micro economy, which is its basis: the farmer would plan his working areas in order to meet the needs of a micro cosmos and to maintain high efficiency of the surrounding domain in the course of time without damaging it. In the vineyards, we always find a shed for the tools, because the plots were often far from home. There were usually also little plots of marginal vineyards cultivated for the table or for a few bottles of sweet white dessert wine, fruit trees, canes and willows to tie the vines, officinal herbs and ornamental plants. Besides the esthetical impact on the landscape, this tradition enhances the sense of nature as a complex organism: a symphony of functions, colours, perfumes, sounds. The farmer did not waste anything, observed and payed attention to the needs of his vineyard, trying to collaborate with nature at his best. Nowadays this productive cultivating profile proofs to be at the same time modern as well as poetic. Our purpose is to transfer this sense of the territory into our wine.
Tours of the vineyards and cellars
It is possible to take a walk in the vineyards and visit the cellars of the castle on fixed days, as published on the calendar on the website, or on demand, if it is compatible with the workings of the vineyard and cellar.
Our wines can be purchased directly from the cellars of the castle at Rocca Grimalda.
Visiting and Sojourning at the Castle
It is possible for groups to visit and tour the castle under the guide of the owners themselves. Visits are possible between April and October as published on the website of the castle in the “events and initiatives” section.
Individual visits and tours are possible all year round by booking in advance.
It is also possible to stay in charming apartments, welcomed with warmth friendliness by the owners of the castle. All the information can be found on the web site of the castle in the “hospitality” section.
The historic origins of the name of the farm: "Rocca Rondinaria"
According to a popular legend still known in the area of Ovada, Rondinaria was a large Roman city populated by thousands of slaves whose work was to find and collect the gold from the sands of the rivers Orba and Piota.
As it is common with popular traditions, there is a certain amount of historical truth to the legend and all the historians who have looked into this legend agree that the mythical city did exist. It is however identified with different villages. In this competition, an important recognition was obtained by Andrea Grimaldi for his estate on 1722 from Emperor and Duke of Milan Charles VI in an imperial diploma dated July 7th, 1722.
The Castle of Rocca Grimalda
The castle, because of its dominant location over the wide Orba valley, became a strategic defendable position, and a great variety of events has characterized its history, evolution and transformation over the centuries.
The majestic circular tower dates back to the beginning of the 13th century and such important families as the Malaspinas or the Grimaldis have owned the castle as a part of their estate. Today it is a private dwelling house, a home for a large family, which has recently taken care of the restoration of the castle and of its gardens.
Our work in the vineyards and in the cellars, inspired by the respect and dialogue with nature, enables us to offer a wine that represents the energy and the characteristics of the specific “terroir”. The nature of the soil of both vineyards is particularly suited for refined select wines, as the soil consists of sandy marble sediments with local, sandy veins of fine loamy material and bigger blocks of sedimentary, clay-poor and well-drained rock.
For the quality of our work in the vineyards and the cellar, we have obtained the certificate of biodynamic production with the mark “AGRIBIODINAMICA”.
In 2012 our vineyards achieved biological certification (by BIOS) and in 2013 we got the same certification for our cellars.
Here is a list of our wines:
SIBRA’ (red label)
The vineyard is situated on the slope of the Trionzo hill. “BricTrionzo” is an old Roman settlement and legendary place of arcane encounters.
This small plot has maintained its original typical farming layout: the vine variety is Dolcetto, with plants over 50 years old together with a few plants of Ciliegiolo, which contribute to giving an interesting and characteristic bouquet of perfumes and aromas to the wine.
GESUSIO (tobacco label)
The vineyard is in horizontal layout (lines follow the contours of the hill), thanks to the determined work of our recent family enterprise. The wine variety is Dolcetto and has been newly planted to complete the vineyard, it mixes diverse clones to produce a product of excellence.
SPESSIARI (blu label)
Dolcetto coming from a new plant utilising an old “biotype” of dolcetto named "Nibiò" thanks to the high quality of the wine.
RETRO’ (grey label) – Vintage vinification
The most mature grapes from both vineyards are brought to the cellar, crushed by foot, and then allowed to ferment including the stalks, just as it was done in the past. Afterwards they are transferred to large barrels, repeatedly decanted and finally aged in bottles. This type of winemaking enhances the perfume and the flavours of wine thanks to the high tannin content and extra ageing and provides refined, intense sensations.