The Italian town of Alba is one of the first that comes to mind when you think of the great Italian winemaking region. Those in the know are more than likely well aware of the town’s reputation for creating amazing truffles, peaches, and wines. In fact, it has been a well-respected culinary highlight of the Piedmont region since the Roman era, and it has maintained a sterling reputation ever since, playing host to almost 300 wineries and thousands of acres of vineyards, which are used to create all sorts of wines.
As such, it is no surprise to note that there are a number of winemakers in the area that have managed to create great reputations for themselves for producing quality products, with the truly special rising to the top and establishing themselves as the absolute cream of the crop.
Pio Cesare stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the greats to emerge from Alba, so this week we are going to take a look at the town’s history, before examining one of its most popular and enduring wines.
The story of Pio Cesare started over 135 years ago, in the ancient cellars of its winery which have since been overseen by five generations of the family. Founded by Cesare Pio, who lent the company his name, in 1881, the company was the vision of an entrepreneur who had already achieved success with a variety of other ventures, but whose passion for wine was obvious amongst those who new him as a small scale producer of Barolos and Barbaresco, which he would often distribute amongst his friends and family, while saving a few aside to sell to the occasional customer.
He eventually decided to dedicate his efforts more thoroughly to the Piedmont region and settled in the town of Alba because of its lush greenery and the amazing potential he saw for making quality wines that truly stand out from the crowd.
His entrepreneurial talents were obvious from the beginning, as he quickly established Pio Cesare as a successful business, built on the back of the winemaking talents he had developed by running his previous, more personal, operations. He went to lengths that other winemakers either weren’t willing and didn’t think to go to in order to promote the wines he produced, including a tour of Europe during the early 20th century that exposed the company to potential customers who weren’t aware of the majority of Italian winemakers. In fact, a hallmark of this early era is on proud display at the winery that he founded, bearing the number 55 to denote the amount of countries he visited during the course of his career.
As Cesare prepared to stand aside for the new generation of winemakers, it was his son, Giuseppe, he took control of a winery that had both developed a great reputation and was enjoying the fruits of Cesare’s labours and marketing talents. Carrying with him his father’s passion for wine, he focused on expanding the cellars and growing the business even further, creating the supply to meet the demand that his father had worked so hard to generate in the process. In doing to, he made the Pio Cesare name a benchmark for quality in a town that is extremely well-known for producing absolutely superb wines.
During this time, Giuseppe had a daughter, named Rosy, who went on to marry an engineer named Giuseppe Boffa who had earned respect for his work to the point where he oversaw a large Milanese company by the 1940s. For a time, it appeared that may have been the end of the Pio Cesare story, however, World War II prompted Boffa to leave his engineering job behind and he decided to dedicate his efforts to the winery instead.
It was he who placed much of the winery’s focus on its superb Barolos, which in turn allowed it to create an even stronger reputation for itself, both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, the company began to earn even more recognition from its peers, to the point where it became one of the most respected producers in Italy.
And so, the third generation of the family helped to build Pio Cesare and take it to new heights, eventually having a young son, who they named Pio in honour of the many who had founded the winery today.
It is Pio Boffa who now stands at the helm of Pio Cesare, directing the operations of the company alongside his cousin, Augusto, who joined him in the early 1990s.
Happily, we also already know that the family lineage will not end with Pio Boffa. In the year 2000, he was joined by Cesare Benvenuto, his sister’s son, ensuring the company would stay in the family. These ties have been reinforced in more recent years, as Pio’s own daughter, Federica Rosy, has joined the crew. Together, these two represent the fifth generation and the future of this great wine family. Together, these generations of Pio Cesare have travelled to over 50 countries, echoing the efforts of their forebear in the process.
While most famous for the amazing red wines that it produces, Pio Cesare has also achieved infamy for a particular gorgeous Moscato d’Asti, so let’s take a look at it now.
Featuring the low alcohol volume that Moscato d’Asti has become known for, making it an exceptionally accessible drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day, though it goes particularly well with dessert, the 2016 vintage of Pio Cesare Moscato D’Asti is an absolute treat for the senses.
The beautiful golden colouring will catch the eye from the moment the wine leaves the bottle, only hinting at the fresh flavours of ripe fruits and honey that you will enjoy when the wine is brought to the nose.
There is no disappointment to be had in the taste either, which though relatively simple, offers a stunning rich and fresh experience that complements the wonderful aromas floating around the drinker. There truly are few better wines to share with friends on a warm summer’s day.