The winery is situated at the top of the Bricco Montàlbera site, in an area lying between the communes of Grana, Castagnole Monferrato and Montemagno, at the highest point of the entire denomination, some 270 metres above sea level.
It is surrounded by the vineyards of the estate, which form a single, circular-shaped plot of exclusively hillside land, with different exposures and soils that vary from clayey to limestone. The vines cover four entire hills with the exception of the valley floor, where typically Piedmontese hazelnuts are cultivated.
The age of the vines varies between 7 and 30 years old, and the training system used is a low form of Guyot. All growing operations are carried out by hand, a decision that is particularly dear to Franco Morando’s heart and one that is also quite costly, seeing that 22 people work in the vineyards throughout the year, rising to 55 at harvest time.
In all, Montalbera covers an area under vine of 130 hectares, of which 60 are planted with Ruché, corresponding to 60% of the entire D.O.C.G. zone. The other varieties planted are Barbera d’Asti, Grignolino, Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Viognier.
If its area under vine has earned Montalbera the title of the Piedmontese company with the largest extension of vineyards in a single site, production is, however, only around 300,000 bottles a year.
All the grapes that arrive in the winery are, therefore, specially selected, before being entrusted to the skills of a winemaking staff of 3 people (Luca Caramellino and Andrea Paglietti for the reds and whites, Lino Lanfrancone for the sparkling wines ), under the supervision of innovative and forward-thinking Franco Morando.
They then carry out the vinification - traditional in the case of the Ruché La Tradizione - with long maturation in stainless steel and sometimes in wood for the special selections. Montalbera in fact currently offers three interpretations of Ruché: La Tradizione, Laccento and Limpronta. The estate’s experimentation on the grape variety has, therefore, become its distinguishing feature and in the last few years, Franco Morando’s staff has demonstrated the great versatility and quality of this cultivar.