The Sella wine estates are one of the oldest active Italian wine producers. The Sella family has produced wine in Lessona from their own vineyards since mid 17th century, and has owned and cultivated vineyards in Bramaterra (at Villa del Bosco) for the same amount of time; the two estates were combined in 1881. The cellar of the estate still holds old vintages of these wines, including Lessona from 1904, and wine labelled as “Vino Lessona” that may be even older.
The Sella family produces eight wines, mainly reds produced of Nebbiolo. The five top wines are made from grapes grown in vineyards that are at least twenty-five to thirty years old. Some parcels, particularly (but not only) the Lessona vineyard called San Sebastiano allo Zoppo, are more than 80 years old. The grapes from young vines of Lessona and Bramaterra are combined to make the estate second wine: L´Orbello.
The high average age of these vineyards naturally tends to produce very low yields. An older vine is more difficult and more expensive to look after than a younger one, but the complexity that an old vine gives to the wine is, in our judgement, enormously greater than that of a younger vine, even if severely pruned.
In the old vineyards in northern Piedmont Nebbiolo is never planted by itself. It is always found with some rows of Vespolina, Croatina, or Uva Rara. For this reason, the Sella wines from Lessona and Bramaterra consist of a majority of Nebbiolo with a small percentage of these traditional local varieties.
Sella vinifies in a classical style. “Classical” doesen’t mean “old”. Although the technique of vinification and the technology used in the cellar are continually updated, authentic characteristics of the terroir and the vines are what is prized most and expressed by gentle extraction and aging in neutral wood. Today the estate still maintains its original artisanal scale, and is still devoted to a limited production of high-quality wine.