top of page

Contratto and the UNESCO cathedrals of Alta Langa DOCG

If you'd like to start with the overview of Alta Langa DOCG, learn about varieties, winemaking techniques and the famous Canelli Cathedrals that are actually wine cellars - start here, at Metodo Classico Wines from the boutique Alta Langa DOCG

Contratto winery - history and the owners

Founded in 1867 by Giuseppe Contratto, the winery has been sold a couple of times. However, as the staff ensures - it was for the best. Every owner brought something special to the estate. The original recipes are still kept for both sparkling wines and vermouth production - these come from the Contratto family.

Winery visit to Contratto winery and tasting their metodo classico sparkling wines of Alta Langa DOCG
long history, and even longer list of labels!

The second owner was a serious gourmet. Taking a tour to Contratto's UNESCO 'Cathedral' underground cellar, you'll see an impressive dining table right there among the bottles. He was known for organizing amazing dinners for his friends and inviting best chefs from the world to cook for them.

Metodo Classico sparkling wines being riddled on the pupitre and aged in the underground cathedrals of Canelli town at Contratto cellar
riserva wines ageing on lees in the 'Cathedral'

The current owner - Giorgio Rivetti, owns as well La Spinetta winery, so it brought Contratto back to its' roots - production of only sparkling wines. While all the still wines are in La Spinetta (nearby in Castagnole delle Lanze).

The revolutionary Contratto For England A very famous wine from Contratto is called 'For England'. In the past sparkling wines were sweet, wineries used to add a lot of sugar, around 60 g per liter! English market asked for less sugar - 30 g, which was a revolution back then, but would feel extremely sweet for us today. As the wine was such a game changer for all sparkling wine industry in Piedmont, Contratto decided to keep the label, even though today it's 0 sugar, a Pas Dosé wine.

Tasting sparkling wines at Contratto winery in Alta Langa DOCG during my wine study trip to Piemonte
For England Rosé - not only for England anymore!

The famous Parisienne label for Contratto The very French styled painting of a woman with a glass of bubbly was painted by Leonetto Capiello in 1922 for Contratto Liqueur. The artist was born in Livorno in 1875, but he spend his whole life in Paris. Capiello is known to be the most influencial poster artist in history. The famous labels (those times, advertising posters) of Cinzano, Ramos Pinto, Cioccolato Venchi and many more are his creations.

Find a gold coin in Contratto's sparkling wines Well, not anymore... Bacco d'Oro is their only sparkling wine that is not Pas Dosé, so it has added sugar and is and Extra Dry wine. In the past Contratto used to hide a gold coin in between the cork and cage, every 100 bottles of Bacco d'Oro. Then gold price increased, and they hid 1 coin every 1000 bottles. Today the name is kept but no gold coins to look for anymore.

How to determine whether the sparkling wine producer does manual riddling (remuage)?

On all metodo classico wines from Contratto you will always find the mark on the bottom of the bottle as they do remuage (riddling) only manually. There is always a mark on the bottle if the producer does remuage using the old-school pupitres.