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Founded in 1867 by Giuseppe Contratto, Contratto began as one of the first producers of bottle fermented Italian sparkling wine. At the same time, the family began construction of their cellars which would take over 40 years to complete. In 1910 they began exporting their wines. Such was their reputation for exporting high quality wine, they became the official purveyor for the Vatican, the Belgian Royal House, and the royal family of Savoy.  In 1920 they began producing liqueurs and vermouths. Today, these same beverages and their recipes remain largely the same. In 1993, ownership of Contratto was taken over by the Bocchino family, who are the proprietors of an eponymous distillery. Upon ascension to ownership, they set about restoring aspects of the property, including the Wine Cathedral, the courtyard, and the tasting room. Finally, in 2011, the winery is purchased by the Rivetti family. Giorgio Rivetti, had been collaborating with the Bocchino family, and had become well aware of the potential this operation presents. As an advocate and lover of Champagne, this was an ideal fit.


Rivetti’s first significant move was to acquire multiple hectares of land near the hamlet of Bossolaso. This is the part of the Langhe with the highest altitude, ideal for the cultivation of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These grapes are employed in the production of the Alta Langa DOCG. This was Contratto’s first foray into the Consortium of Alta Lange. Soon after, they would become the benchmark for the DOCG. Not wanting to move forward without paying homage to the past, early on Rivetti decided to rebrand the Contratto labels to reference their history and place as pioneers in Italian sparkling wine. Rebooting a popular advertising campaign from 1922 to 1925, they used images from famed poster designer, Cappiello as the face of the company.


In 2014, the Contratto’s historic Wine Cathedral was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Excevated and crafted entirely by hand, the breathtaking “Cathedral” is some 5,000 square meters at depths reaching 38 meters below the overhead structure. Temperatures are maintained at a desirable 13 degrees C, thanks largely to walls that are constructed of marl sediment, rich in calcareous tuff. This is .5 hectare roughly and can hold 1.5 million bottles of aging sparkling wine.


The Vineyards around Bossolasco are broken down into 3 subregions for our purposes here: Porera, Moncurto, and Ave.


Ave are southwest facing vineyards, which are offered natural sheltering from extremes by nearby hills. This increases the ethereal qualities of the wine and adds elegance. The clay-calcareous soils bring intensity and minerality. Ave is planted to 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. All in there about 12 hectares of vines in Ave, younger in age around 10 years, and sitting at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level-quite high.


Moncurto has a somewhat milder climate, and has a considerably more varied soil composition. As such, finesse and freshness are the two best descriptors. The 12.5 hectares of Moncurto are southern facing fanging from southwest to southeast, and sit between 750 and 820 meters above sea level. The top soils are sandy, calcareous, silty, with silicon, while underneath it is marle and calcareous soils. These vineyards are planted to 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, all reasonably young at 10 years of age.


Localita Porera is planted to 100% Pinot Noir in west and southwest facing vineyards. This is the smallest region at 5.5 hectares. The vines are a bit older at 12 years of age and sit between 75- and 780 meters above seal level. Soils here are calcareous marl, and light clay with  excellent minerality, especially silicon. These conditions produce Pinot Noir that is highly structured, yet fresh, vibrant, and mineral driven.


 For England Rose Alta Langa DOCG Pas Dose


As the name indicates, this wine was designed to satisfy the desires of the British market; pink, bubbly, and bone dry. The Pinot Noir grapes are very gently destemmed and crushed without pressure. The free run juice is captured and used in For England. The initial fermentation is conducted in temperature controlled stainless steel, followed by 9 months of aging. The secondary fermentation is followed by 40 months of resting on the lees. Bottles are hand-riddle for 18 days. Soft, salmony, pink, with creamy, lively bubbles, this offers a clean and specific nose of lemon zest, marzipan, and wild strawberries. The palate is angular and acutely precise, with fresh green herbs, citrus, and a pink peach hint. Drink with Linguine and Clam sauce (tomato or garlic), fried calamari, or crispy salmon bites with ginger and sesame.


Pas Dose Millesimato Alta Langa DOCG


Meaning “Vintage” this is 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. Grapes are hand picked and selected, then vinified separately based on location. Prior to crush and free run capture, the grapes are cooled to preserve freshness. Primary and secondary fermentations are conducted using indigenous yeast. After primary fermentation the wine is aged until May of the following year, then bottled for the secondary fermentation. The wine spends 48 months on the lees in bottle. Riddling is done by hand in the cellar. The wine is aged a total of 5 years prior to release. This is a zesty, citrusy, peachy, yet creamy, almondy, floral, bottle of wine. Indeed, it is everything you would want from a Champagne at 5 times the price. Have this with tempura shrimp, smoked salmon sushi with caviar and crispy potato frizzles, or just splash it out with your best mates while listening to Bossa Nova!


Contratto Vermouth Bianco


This is the result of well over 100 years of dedication to a very unique project. It is based entirely on the originally 19th century recipe which involves Cortese white wine, brandy, and the infusion of 50+ herbs, barks, spice, seeds, and roots. If this sounds beguiling, well, it kind of is, in a positive witchcraft sort of way. A very long, cold, maceration of something one might find in a cauldron in MacBeth; carob tree pods, Chinese bark, hibiscus flower, sage, bitter orange, et cetera. The alcohol is 18% and the residual sugar is 190 grams per liter. As such, this is a versatile Vermouth, serve it on its own with a twist of lemon, or utilize in your favourite classical cocktail; it will lift and intrigue.


Contratto Vermouth Rosso


Similar to the white Vermouth, this is Cortese white wine, brandy, and 30+ infusions, many of which still remain a closely guarded secret. In addition to the spices, roots, seeds, and such, caramelized sugar is added for colour. The alcohol is 17% and the residual sugar is  180 grams per liter, slightly lower than the white. Use in traditional cocktails, or serve with one big ice cube and a wedge of Orange.


Americano Rosso


The Contratto Americano Rosso Vermouth is also based on an original 19th century recipe. Made of Cortese white wine, brandy, and over 25 infusions, it is similar to the others, but slightly sweeter with 200 grams per liter of residual sugar. The alcohol is a modes 16.5%. Leading the pack of aromas you will find, mint, bitter orange, sage, and ginger. Create new takes on classics, or drink this chilled with your favourite citrus wedge.




This is made from Alcohol, water, sugar and 33 aromatics (18 of which are secret).The botanicals are crushed with a hammer mill, then cold extracted for 35 days using a hydroalcohol solution to irrigate the powders. This mixture is blended with water, alcohol, and sugur, regrigerated and filtered, then aged in stainless steel for 40 days. Primary aromas and flavours include saffron, cloves, ginger, mint, myrrh, et cetera et cetera. Serve as a digestif, or beside coffee at any suitable time of day.




Made from alcohol, water, sugar, and 28 botanicals (10 of which are secret).  The botanicals are crushed in a hammer mill. The botanicals are crushed with a hammer mill, then cold extracted for 35 days using a hydroalcohol solution to irrigate the powders. This mixture is combined with alcohol, sugar, and then refrigerated and filtered. It is then aged in stainless steel for 40 days. Primary aromas and flavours include wormwood, bitter orange, lemon, mandarin, cloves, cardamom, juniper, and much, much, more. Drink in a large wine glass with ice or blend with sparkling wine and club soda. Either way, garnish this with your favourite citrus. Meyer lemon would be ideal.




This is made from Alcohol, water, sugar and 24 aromatics (9 of which are secret).The botanicals are crushed with a hammer mill, then cold extracted for 35 days using a hydroalcohol solution to irrigate the powders. This mixture is blended with water, alcohol, and sugur, regrigerated and filtered, then aged in stainless steel for 40 days. Leading the pack of the myriad aromas and flavours are Aloe, oranges, wormwood, cloves, hibiscus, mint, et cetera. One classic cocktail is the Negroni. Serve one part Contratto Vermouth Rosso, one part Gin, one part Contratto bitter, stir over ice, and garnish with an orange peel.

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