Locally it’s known as Anascetta or Nas-cëtta (the pronunciation in Piedmontese dialect detaches the “s” from the “c” and the “e” is semi-silent).In 2010, with the attainment of the Denomination of Controlled Origin Langhe “Nas-cetta or Nascetta del comune di Novello”, the foundations were laid for the journey towards the defence of the roots and the origin of this historical grape variety which, way back in the 19th century, was already known for its goodness, mentioned in municipal documents on cultivation in Alba and Mondovì.
To trace its current name, we have to go back to 1877, when Di Rovasenda called it “‘Anascetta’, a very delicate grape and an exquisite wine” in the “Saggio di un’ampelografia universale” (Essay on universal ampelography) now kept in the library of the Department of Tree Crops of Turin University. According to Lorenzo Fantini, in 1883 it grew all over the Alba area and he presents it as a grape which boasts the “same finesse as Moscato”, while the ampelographer Giovanni Gagna entions it and
describes it as an “excellent wine grape, used with Moscato Bianco and Favorita”. After the advent of modern viticulture, with the introduction of single variety vineyards, the distribution of this grape variety was reduced considerably, surviving only in a few vineyards in the municipality of Novello. Starting in the mid-nineties, its cultivation was reintroduced in the whole of the Langa.
Genetic studies of the grape variety have determined that it is unique and a precise legislative positioning was achieved, envisaging a “subzone” with its own regulations: Langhe Nas-cetta del Comune di Novello can be produced only in the municipality of Novello using 100% Nas-cetta. The production of 100% Nascetta spread to the municipalities of La Morra, Serralunga d'Alba , Santo Stefano Belbo , Castiglione Falletto, Barolo, Dogliani, Trezzo Tinella and Carrù. It is becoming more and more popular also in other areas within the Langa and Roero districts. Today it can be considered the only autochthonous white grape variety in the Barolo Langa. In the past, it was considered a triple-use grape: for eating, for wine (“Anascette grapes can be used to make real Rhine-style wine.” Gagna G., 1873) and for sparkling wine. Nowadays it is used for the production of dry white wines and experiments are being carried out to see how it behaves in the production of raisin wines. This jewel of the Langhe is making its way among the blazoned reds, Barolo and Barbaresco, and is harvested from the beginning of October. It prefers sunny areas, so the vineyards cannot be planted on the valley floors or on north-facing slopes. The discovery of this semi-aromatic grape variety is a pleasure for those who taste it. The important structure and levels of acidity give the wine an excellent capacity for ageing, guaranteeing a long and dynamic aromatic evolution of the taste and body. The bright straw yellow colour with greenish highlights indicates the presence of notes of citrus, grapefruit and white peach which evolve into white flowers, tropical fruit, acacia honey and thyme. Freshness floods the palate and evolves in the mouth, thanks to the savoury base which, together with dried fruit, creates a pleasantly juicy and silky sensation. Its marked savouriness and acidity make it ideal for pairing with cold starters featuring vegetables, fresh cheeses, rice and pasta dishes made with raw fish, shellfish and white meats. The recommended serving temperature is between 10° C and 12° C.