“The greatest interpreter of grechetto in the world”
A pioneer of the “rediscovery” of indigenous grape varieties, Sergio Mottura has dedicated a lifetime to research and experimentation with traditional techniques and new technology, studying the DNA of the most promising local varieties, and optimizing pruning methods, soil and land management, and the winemaking process itself – all in the aim of exploiting the potential of a terroir that finds its fullest expression in one particular grape: Grechetto. His Latour a Civitella, a monovarietal grechetto fermented in French oak barriques, was the first white wine from Lazio ever awarded “tre bicchieri” (the maximum “three glasses”) by Italy’s most prestigious wine guide, the Gambero Rosso/Slow Food ‘Guida ai Vini d’Italia’, who have called it “one of Italy’s greatest whites”. The Mottura family hail from Piedmont, and the earliest records of the family’s presence in the village of Mottura, near Turin, date from the 1500s. Here Domenico Mottura, Sergio’s father, farmed mint and produced mint oils for the international market. Sergio’s uncle, Alessandro, was an engineer who worked on major construction projects and travelled widely, and in 1933 whilst involved in the construction of the nearby Milan-Naples railway, he bought the estate at Civitella d’Agliano. The estate was fortuitously located at the meeting point of three different regions – Latium (Lazio), Umbria and Tuscany – and close to the important cities of Rome, Florence and Sienna. Its 21 farms produced wine, olive oil, cereals and the fodder needed for the estate’s cattle and the sheep that provided milk and wool for the sharecroppers and for the main house. The Mottura family spent their summers in the house, which is a medieval “palazzo” at the centre of the village, and the wines produced here were sold, on a small scale, back in Turin. In the 1960s, during the dramatic transition from the ancient and deeply-entrenched system of sharecropping to that of direct management, Sergio Mottura, who was still in his twenties, moved here to take over the running of the estate. The agricultural reforms marked the beginning of a new era, bringing with it the need to radically reorganise the estate’s commercial activities whilst conserving, and in some cases reviving, traditional crop types and farming methods. Sergio, who had a typically Piedmontese passion for good wine, realized that the key to achieving a sustainable transformation of the estate lay in the area’s historical tradition of viticulture. Important recognition of a lifetime’s dedication to the culture of wine and to his adoptive home arrived in 2013 in the form of the accolade “Winemaker of the Year” (Gambero Rosso).