Nervi´s cellars were built in the 18th century and sold by Vincenzo Bertolazzi to Luigi Nervi for 17,000 Italian Lire in April 1919. A bottling plant was immediately built and the Bertolazzi´s private bowling alley was replaced with a state of the art vinification facility. The Italian garden, the wine store and the subterranean brick-vaulted cellars remain largely as they were in1919. Today the winery covers 3,800 square meters of which 1,100 square meters are subterranean cellars ideally suited for the aging of fine wine.
The vinification facilities host a series of vats made in stainless steel, cement and Slavonian oak.
Temperature controlled stainless steel vats are predominantly used to ferment Gattinara DOCG, Coste della Sesia Spanna DOC and our rosé Nervi Rosa. The open top oak vats (tini) are used to ferment the single vineyard wines Nervi Molsino and Nervi Valferana.
The oak fermentation vats, which are from the 1960s, have no temperature control beyond the inertia inherent in their thick oak staves. For aging as well as for the joining and stabilisation of blends, we use subterranean cement tanks, holding 5,000 to 16,000 litres. We vinify with natural yeasts and the malolactic fermentation starts naturally in the first spring following harvest.
Vinification and aging is performed in much the same way it was when Luigi Nervi founded the company in 1906, barring the introduction of peristaltic pumps and a modern bottling plant. In our vaulted subterranean cellars the temperature is low and stable, with oscillations limited to four degrees Celsius between the coldest days of winter and the hottest days of summer. Nervi uses only large oak casks for aging, ranging in capacity from 750 to 8,000 litres.
Nervi´s casks are all made in Slavonian oak with the exception of six 3,200 litre casks made in oak from the Black Forest, or Silva Nigra as the Romans used to call these densely forested hills in South Western Germany. Total aging capacity of Nervi´s cellar is about 400,000 litres.
The aim of the aging process is to enhance clarity, stability and aromatic imprint of the wine. It is largely achieved through the oak casks causing a moderate and controlled oxidation of the wine as well as the wine taking on aromatic characteristics of the cask. Patient aging is a must for Nervi as our treasured Nebbiolo grape´s aromatics fall well below the human sensory limit at the time of harvest and will only surpass it after three to four years of aging. Contrary to aromatic grapes, like for example Moscato, the tasting of a Nebbiolo grape at the time of harvest will yield little clue as to what aromatic character the resulting wine will take on after vinification.
The oldest part of Nervi´s sub-terrainian cellar features beautifully vaulted ceilings built before 1850.
Nervi´s oenologist Enrico Fileppo has been with Nervi since 1984 when he joined as an apprentice after completing his oenology degree in Alba.
Cement tanks are an important part of Nervi´s vinification process, both for fermentation and for resting of the wine after the aging process is completed in oak.