Suno, Novara Province, Piedmont Region, Italy (Gastrosofie). More and more wineries, also in the province of Novara, spelled Noara in Piedmontese, Nuara in Lombardy, are increasingly focusing on class instead of quantity. But even if the quality of the wines is increased, the quantity is enough to be able to work in the vineyard and live on the farm. Alessandro Brigatti, the grandfather of Francesco Brigatti, the current owner of the winery, must have had a lot of work when he decided in the early 1900s to plant some vines and not just grain.

A view over the robin’s hill near Suno in the province of Novara towards the Alps. © Azienda Agricola Francesco Brigatti, caption: Stefan Pribnow

The vineyard

For good wine, you need a good vineyard. A gently rolling, south-facing hill with a clayey soil was what the grandfather found, says Franscesco, joking: „It was love at first sight.“A farmer is a farmer and knows something about soil. He learned to grow Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Uva Rara, three typical vines of the Colline Novaresi. The wines were usually blended and named after the vineyard where the vines were planted and the grapes grew and flourished. Brigatti’s vines stand on the robin’s hill, called Mötziflon in Italian. Möt stands for hill and Ziflon for robin.

The wine cellar

In grandfather’s time, Mötziflon was also sold by other winegrowers in small wooden barrels with a capacity of seven brente, brenta being an old unit of measurement equivalent to 50 litres. Today there are still wooden barrels, old and new oak barrels, more precisely Slavonian and French oak barrels, in the wine cellar, but also containers made of cement and steel. In the oldest cellar, Nebbiolo goes into cement tanks for a long maceration. The cellar for the red wines in the oak barrels, which have a capacity of 1 500 litres or 3 000 litres, is six metres underground. That fits. Down there, humidity and temperature are stable all year round. As expected, this cellar looks nicer than the one with the concrete and industrial steel tanks.

Luciano, Alessandro’s son and Francesco’s father, also put his money into these. First of all, he was able to keep good records, because he was a trained accountant, and secondly, he expanded the vineyard and thirdly, he brought a higher quality through the „green harvest“ thanks to the selection of the grapes. Francesco, on the other hand, is, like his grandfather, a trained farmer, also called an agronomist. However, he added something else. He is a trained oenologist. As such, he took over the Brigatti winery in 1995. He introduced the criteria of integrated pest management and cultivates 15 hectares. The production is around 30 000 bottles per year.

Francesco Brigatti in the wine cellar in Suno. © Azienda Agricola Francesco Brigatti, caption: Stefan Pribnow

The wines

These include Mottobello, a white wine, and six red wines: Selvalunga, Campazzi, Maria, Mötfrei, Mötziflon (spelled MötZiflon) and Ghemme. The Mötziflon from the robin’s hill is a red Colline Novaresi D.O.C. Nebbiolo. Well, 85 per cent Nebbiolo is in it as well as 10 per cent Vespolina and 5 per cent Uva Rara and thus (see above) a lot of tradition. See? I see a medium ruby red, my seat neighbours ponder about it. It was aged for twenty months in Slavonian oak barrels, so it has structure and is more complex. I would even call it elegant, because the tannins are mild. At the same time, I smell not only red berries, but liquorice from Harry Ritter in Bonn. You can see that! The Uva Rara provides the necessary and not too much acidity. With the Vespolina, the winemaker dares spicy notes. Daring, skilful, winning!

It is essential that the Mötziflon is served at a temperature of around 19° Celsius and that it has breathed sufficiently beforehand.

This also applies to the Oltre il Bosco, Ghemme D.O.C.G. The vines are planted on river and alluvial land rich in clay. The Olte il Bosco is a woodland vineyard situated between Suno and Ghemme. Nebbiolo grapes grow there on 1.25 hectares of a hill facing south. This wine is ruby red in the cellar light, intense on my nose, but also elegant. Red fruit rises in front of me. And lo and behold: it tastes like that too, but spicier with notes of violets. At 19° Celsius, it tastes good with the long matured cheese and the delicate cold cuts that were served.

Azienda Agricola Francesco Brigatti

Address: Via Olmi, 31, 28019 Suno NO, Italy.

Contact: Phone: +39032285037, Email:



The research was supported by Visit Piemonte.

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