Nicoletta Bocca - San Fereolo
By Eoghan Neburagho of Natural Swill
You want to talk about someone who’s a proud Italian winemaker, self-sufficient, and absolute in what they do?
Well then, let’s talk about Nicoletta Bocca and her Dogliani based winery - San Fereolo.
Nicoletta’s Early Life
Born and raised in Milan, Nicoletta grew up as a city girl who knew “nothing of the countryside”. Although she did have ties with the not-so-far countryside of Langhe in her youth, Nicoletta’s father Giorgio Bocca, had winemaker friends in Langhe who he had met and fought alongside during the second world war.
Giorgio used to bring his kids (including Nicoletta) to the countryside of Langhe every single year because it brought back fond, partisan memories. He also viewed Langhe as the perfect place to teach his kids the nature of both wine and cheese. Unfortunately, this trip was only made annually in the Bocca household, leaving Nicoletta with nothing but memories of the ‘far away’ countryside throughout her city-life upbringing.
After graduating from university, Nicoletta went on to start her career in the fashion industry as a supporter with dreams of demonstrating the individuality and progression of each Italian designer over a five-year period in a fashion museum. This seemed to be an impossible task once she dived deeper into the project and after just ten years in the fashion industry, Nicoletta gave it all up to go become a winemaker...in the countryside of Dogliani, not two hours away from Milan.
The Birth of San Fereolo
The birth year of the San Fereolo estate dates back to 1992, and it is situated in the southern part of Piedmont, opposite to the Barolo wine country in Langhe. The terroir consists of hazelnut trees everywhere, wild scattered woods, and unharmed fields for as far as the eye can see!
After bringing a child into the universe amidst the late 90’s, Nicoletta decided to change her methods in the vineyard and go completely organic with eyes for moving to 100% biodynamic farming once everything had converted to organic. It took a few years to get there, but during this time Nicoletta continued to educate herself on all things Rudolf Steiner related. By 2004, her land completely converted over to biodynamics and this is when things started to get really interesting at Nicoletta’s San Fereolo estate.
Nicoletta and her team mainly work with just the traditional grapes of Piedmont: Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo, and the only use of ‘foreign’ grapes at San Fereolo is Gewurztraminer and Rhine Riesling for their white wine.
Nicoletta produces an outstanding red wine made from 100% Dolcetto grapes that is named after the estate - San Fereolo. Now, this isn’t just any ol’ Dolcetto wine that’s made to be drunk young, Nicoletta and her team pay close attention to these grapes and their tannins in the vineyard. Once the Dolcetto grapes make it to the cellar, Nicoletta works tirelessly to produce “a wine with the potential to age and to express itself, changing over time”.