THE HILL OF BRACHETTO
Crossed by the 45° parallel, the southeastern part of Piedmont is home to the hills of the region’s most “aromatic” wine: Brachetto d’Acqui.
The area of Acqui is a remote and secluded territory in southern Piedmont. The hills of Monferrato surround it on three sides: the high grounds of Asti to the north; those of the Bormida Valley to the west; and southwards, following the course of the Erro, increasingly steep ridges covered by dense woods that gradually rise to the Ligurian Apennines.
The heart of this territory is the city of Acqui Terme, located in a flat area that opens towards the plains of Alessandria, where the rivers Bormida and Erro meet. Acqui is also known as «la Bollente» (“the Boiling one”), named after the thermal spring of hot and sulfurous water that flows abundantly in the city and has given life to a thriving thermal industry.
Acqui is the key point for those who want to begin their journey along the Brachetto hills. An ancient city boasting a glorious past, Acqui was conquered by the Romans in 172 BC to the detriment of the local Ligurian tribe of the Statielli. It quickly became a strategic point as it is found along the main communication routes between the plain and the sea: the Via Aemilia Scauri, built in 109 BC to connect Dertona, (Tortona) to Vada Sabatia (Vado Ligure), passed here. The Romans were able to masterfully make use of the hot springs present by building the first thermal complexes and an incredible aqueduct (still visible today) that conveyed the fresh waters of the Erro to the city and was used to cool the thermal springs: the remains of an ancient calidarium are still visible near piazza Italia.
Acqui Terme, Piazza della Bollente
THE TWO NATURES OF ACQUI
Starting from the «Bollente», the two natures of Acqui unfold.
Towards northwest, in the direction of Nizza Monferrato and Canelli, the rolling hills are crossed by woods and dotted with medieval towers of small rural villages. This area is heavily planted with vineyards, home to the area’s wine production. Bubbio, Cassinasco, Castel Boglione, Castel Rocchero and Alice Bel Colle form an ideal arch that, from west to north, provides the perfect soil for vine cultivation, especially for the area’s main grape variety: Brachetto. The earth ranges from white soils, rich in limestone, to more clayey red ones as well as sandy soils, found near rivers.
Going south, past the Bormida, the landscape completely changes. Vineyards start to thin, and rock begins to emerge from the soil. Between marvelous broadleaf forests are streams of crystal-clear water, even the air seems to be clearer and crisper: this is the microclimate of the Apennines. Small villages suddenly disappear, and the roads become narrower: only stretches of forest as far as the eye can see. This uncontaminated nature is so fascinating that, between Acqui and Ovada, lakes and streams are considered as an alternative to the sea of Liguria: during summer, they turn into “small seaside resorts”, provided that reaching these places require a backpack and adaptability.
Resti dell'Acquedotto Romano di Acqui Terme
BRACHETTO D’ACQUI DUCHESSA LIA
The complex soils of Acqui and the microclimate influenced by the Apennines are reflected in the territory’s symbolic wine, Brachetto d’Acqui Docg. This very particular wine is fruit of an aromatic vine that is vinified to become sweet and sparkling. Brachetto d’Acqui Docg Duchessa Lia is exclusively made from Brachetto grapes grown on these hills. It presents a typical and bright ruby red color as well as an unmistakable aroma: rose, geranium, violet and light notes of musk. Fine, elegant, soft and naturally sweet, Brachetto d’Acqui Docg Duchessa Lia is perfect with all kinds of desserts, particularly chocolate. But it also surprisingly goes well with cheese and cured meat. Brachetto d’Acqui Docg Duchessa Lia is the wine of the party: it can be mixed with many fruit-based drinks to make fresh and original cocktails!
DISCOVER OUR BRACHETTO D'ACQUI DOCG AND ITS PAIRINGS