Class of 2021
34 / Carema, Italy
The Italian winemaker breathing fresh life into a historic growing region
When young people were leaving the rural Piemonte in favour of employment in Italy’s main cities, abandoning the vineyards that had been passed down to them through the generations, Gian Marco Viano was making the opposite journey. After starting his career as a sommelier and working in award-winning restaurants across Europe, he found himself unable to resist the call of the vine and fell in love with Carema, a picturesque borgo on the border with the mountainous Valle d'Aosta region with a winemaking tradition dating back to 23BC.
Characterised by steep slopes where vineyards are built on terraces, the area around Carema never lent itself to industrial wine production. Gian Marco understood this from the moment he first bought his plot of land: 700sq m where he decided to bet on organic viniculture, doing away with pesticides and instead using algae, essential oils and orange blossoms as strengthening products. He named his company Monte Maletto, after the mountain that overlooks and protects the Carema vineyards.
Gian Marco’s gamble paid off. He now owns 1 hectare of land in Carema and 0.3 in the area of Caluso Erbaluce, where he makes his red wines Sole e Roccia (sun and rock) and Battito del Maletto (Maletto’s heartbeat), rosé Rosa del Maletto and white Vecchie Tonneaux. His entrepreneurial spirit has breathed fresh life into the area, with vineyards in the region experiencing a revival that has been compared to the New Wave in French film – a rebel movement developing a new language for winemaking.
“We need to break the patterns that modern enology has taught us, letting wine run like a horse that doesn’t want to be fenced in. That doesn't mean we have to let natural processes make bad wines, but we need to be clever and interfere in the process only when it’s really necessary, and preferably using our hands and our minds, not enological adjuvants.” – Gian Marco Viano
Portrait: Danila Atzeni