focus on design
Marcello Cattaneo Adorno is the latest generation of a long established Genoese family dating back to the thirteenth century. His family has long been important in the Genoa region, and among his ancestors were seven Dogi of the Genoese Republic. In 1997, he found himself taking over the family estate at Retorbido in the heart of Oltrepò Pavese.
It had been in the family since 1834 and had always produced Barbera and Cortese. Faced with an estate of ancient vines producing only simple wines for local consumption, it was time to take hard decisions – let things continue to decline or do things properly with a fresh start and lots of investment. He chose the latter.
Today there are 65 hectares of newly planted and revitalised vineyards with plans to increase this to a total of 80 hectares - all carefully chosen sloping sites facing southwards. Marcello has chosen to grow both top quality clones of international varieties like Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah, and also traditional local varieties like Croatina, Barbera, Pinot Grigio and Cortese. These have been bought from local nurseries and planted at much higher densities than is normal for the area.
Geographical premise of the possessions of Marquis Adorno, Retorbido is set on the hills of Oltrepò Pavese. The surrounding Staffora Valley embraces the location with a culture and tradition of wine making that dates back millennia.
Primarily known for its wines and food products, the area is also setting for natural wonders and age-old castles.
The lands of the Marquis surround the ancient and typically Lombardic architectural ensemble where the winery is. It is there that the processes of wine production and aging take place.
Logo of the historical holdings is a pyramid placed at the centre of the rose garden, marking the entrance to our underground barrique cellar.
In Lombardia, on the south bank of Italy’s River Po lies the region of Oltrepò, an area of green rolling hills lying between Piemonte and Emilia. It has been long known for its vine cultivation, almost certainly dating back thousands of years to the arrival of the Greeks from Marseilles to found a colony here. In fact they named the heart of the region Val Staffora from the Greek word meaning “bunch of grapes”.
The bars and restaurants of nearby Milan have traditionally bought most of the wines produced in Oltrepò for their customers, so the wines are little known outside North West Italy. Leading wine writers regard the gentle hillsides of the region as having great potential for quality and Marchese Adorno aims to put his wines and Oltrepò on the world wine map.
Retorbido is on the same range of hills as nearby Piemonte and was once part of its more famous neighbour. The south facing slopes here are warmer than most of Oltrepò Pavese. The Adorno vineyards are in two separate areas. Several plots lie around the village itself on gentle south west slopes overlooking the Padana Plain, at an altitude of 150m to 200m. The alluvial soils here have a high clay content and produce rich, full bodied wines. The second growing area is on the steeper hills of Costa del Sole, at altitudes of up to 350m and the well-drained; limestone soils produce wines of great aromatic intensity and elegance.