Nizza Monferrato is a small town between Asti, Alessandria, Acqui Terme, and Alba. It is surrounded by a hilly area, renowned as an excellent place for growing Barbera grapes.

The hills’ morphological conformation, the soils’ geological composition, and the particular microclimate offer ideal conditions for this vine.

pianoalto vineyard

These conditions led an initial group of producers and friends of the area to take a bet, which proved to be a winner: in 2016, the first vintage of NIZZA DOCG, a wine derived from Barbera vinified in purity, entered the market.

We are excited to have been a part of NIZZA DOCG since its inception, and as it approaches its eighth birthday, we would like to take a moment to look back at its history and unique features.

It is no coincidence that today the denomination chosen for the wine does not include ‘Barbera,’ but only ‘Nizza’: it is proof of how the territory of origin can dominantly characterise the product.

Today, the NIZZA production area comprises 18 municipalities, including Agliano Terme, where our Pianoalto estate is located.

pianoalto bottles

The specifications

One of the main differences between NIZZA DOCG and Barbera d’Asti DOCG is that the former requires 100% Barbera, while the latter allows using 10% other red grapes.

In declared unfavourable years, NIZZA DOCG will not be produced since the enrichment of the alcohol content is not permitted.

NIZZA DOCG: the milestones

The history of NIZZA DOCG began more than a decade before it was put on the market.

In 2000, the name NIZZA appeared on the label for the first time as an indication of a ‘sub-zone’ of Barbera d’Asti Superiore (i.e. Barbera aged at least one year).

In 2002, the Nizza Producers’ Association was founded, a sign of a desire for identity recognition for this wine.

In 2008, Barbera d’Asti was awarded DOCG status, the most important recognition of quality and geographical indication for a wine. The ‘Nizza’ sub-zone is also included in it.

In 2014, NIZZA was recognised as an independent wine with its own regulations: this is the official birth of NIZZA DOCG.

On 1 July 2016, the first vintage was officially put on the market.

NIZZA DOCG Pianoalto

Our NIZZA DOCG takes its name from the farmstead around which our Barbera vineyards slope gently down the hillside.

Pianoalto is the expression of a cru that, in the Nizza territory, finds ideal soil and climatic conditions to develop its distinctive identity best. It has an intense and complex bouquet with fruity sensations and a distinct spicy component of pepper and tobacco.

This wine has a smooth and well-balanced taste with a velvety texture. The wood ageing process adds a touch of elegance and longevity to its overall flavour profile.

Our 2018 Pianoalto NIZZA DOCG was awarded the Gold Medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles!

pianoalto nizza docg

Vinification and ageing

In the vinification process, the Barbera harvested at the Pianoalto farmhouse is destemmed and then gently crushed using rubber rollers and fermented in 53 hl French oak vats.

Fermentation is carefully monitored daily by the cellar workers with manual punching-down and, if necessary, delestages until racking; tasting by the oenologist then decrees the moment of racking. Malolactic fermentation follows racking, and after a few racking operations, wood maturation begins for at least 18 months. 

The bottle ageing allows Pianoalto to complete its growth until it reaches its best expressiveness.


NIZZA DOCG and food pairings

NIZZA DOCG Pianoalto goes well with red meats, stews and elaborate first courses. In particular, we recommend pairing it with a typical dish of the Piedmont and Monferrato area: agnolotti ai 3 arrosti, traditionally the protagonists of feast days.

Download the free recipe book “Food and Wine Stories” to discover the recipe and other pairing suggestions.