Albiera Antinori, president of Prunotto and daughter of Piero Antinori, head of Marchesi Antinori, said they are planting 10 acres of Merlot and Barbera this spring. Next year, she hopes to plant 1,000 Albarossa vines (a cross between Barbera and Nebbiolo). The remaining land will be planted with experimental vines of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
"The idea is to make a premium red wine, with a complex structure, which will be a blend of varieties best suited to the terroir," said Albiera Antinori. Depending on the blend, she added, the wine may be categorized under the Monferrato Denominazione di Origine Controllata, the Piedmont DOC, the Langhe DOC or simply as a Barbera d'Asti.
"The new property is on a well-ventilated, south-facing hillside, with a good mix of sand, clay and chalk," she said. "Although the land around here has a reputation for producing quality wines, it has not been cultivated in a long time, so we had to clear it and replant."
Antinori expects the first vintage to be 2005, with release in 2007. Though it's too early to be sure, she estimates production at 1,500 cases, with a price around $50 per bottle.
Prunotto already makes a range of traditional Piedmont wines, including Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera d'Alba, Barbera d'Asti, Dolcetto d'Alba and Roero Arneis (a white wine), as well as a small amount of Grignolino, Moscato and Nebbiolo. It produces an average of 90,000 cases of wine per year, 10,000 of which are exported to the United States.
Check our recent ratings of Prunotto wines.
Read senior editor James Suckling's latest tasting report on Piedmont's wines: