QUILA Estate was founded in 2019 as a personal project of Bisso A., a wine journalist with international fame (see article in La revue du vin de France from 2008) that has also worked as a winemaker around the world (Chile, South Africa, France, Greece, Portugal and the US) and for the previous 7 years as a winemaker in chief of a winery in Barolo area. His Barolo “Aculei” from the 2016 vintage won the “Best in Show” prize at DWWA-2020 (97 points) and was placed among the 50 best wines of the world by the jurors of the biggest international wine competition.
The name QUILA derives from the common part of the Italian word “aquila” (eagle) as the estate vineyards in Cossano Belbo (Langhe) have the form of an eagle’s head and “tequila” as a large quantity of agave had been planted there by the previous owners. QUILA’s logo represents an eagle’s head and agave leaves in form of a wing. Also the Golden eagle is the official symbol of Mexico as well as tequila is its most famous drink worldwide. The connection with Mexico comes also through the so called Mexican “Nebbiolo”, one of the top red grapes grown in the country, which actually is another Piedmontese variety, nearly extinct in its homeland. One of the main QUILA’s missions is to discover the potential of this “secondary variety” that has already received numerous accolades under the Mexican flag, in its homeland. The research started in 2015 and involves already several producers from Mexico and the Universities of Turin & Piacenza.
In 2019 Bisso found the last existing micro-vineyard of the Mexican “Nebbiolo” in Piedmont, near Tortona and made one barrel of single variety Moretto (the local name of the grape), the first ever produced in Italy (available in limited quantities under the MX♦Quila Piemonte DOC Rosso label).
Moretto grapes continued to be sourced from that plot during the subsequent 3 vintages. Planting material has also been sourced from the micro-vineyard and the first 0.4 ha of Moretto have been planted at QUILA Estate in 2021.
Apart from Moretto, QUILA cultivates Favorita, Muscat of Canelli, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto. Most of the wines Bisso makes are quite experimental, like the “orange” Favorita with up to 200 day maceration in amphora (A♦Quila Langhe DOC Favorita), a dry Muscat (MUS♦Quila Piemonte DOC Moscato secco), and a rosé pet-nat made from Muscat and Dolcetto (MODUS). In 2022 two more reds were added to the portfolio. The first is an old vines Dolcetto based field blend (Bric Bissarello), that with its first release already gathered many accolades, like a bronze medal at DWWA 2022 (only 10 Dolcettos got medals) and a gold medal at WOW!, the wine competition of Civiltà del Bere. The second one is an old vines Nebbiolo “ripasso” (Jeff Pramas).
The research and experiments continue thanks to several varieties found in the oldest QUILA vineyard, planted in 1935: genetic analyses revealed the presence of such varieties as Uvalino, Malvasia di Casorzo and Brunetta di Rivoli, several clones of Freisa & Barbera.
Three more varieties were identified in 2022: Bonarda Piemontese, Barbarossa Piemontese and Teinturier (Tenjurìn) ad acino rotondo.
In 2021 QUILA took another small vineyard in the neighboring Canelli with 2 small plots of Muscat (one of the local Canelli clone and the other – Zibibbo or Muscat of Alexandria). Two new plots have been planted the same year – on with 5 clones of Barbera and the other with 3 “minor” local white varieties: Baratuciat, Bianver & Rossese Bianco.
QUILA is in organic conversion since 2020. Apart from the vineyards olives are also cultivated at the estate, 60 new olive trees have been planted in 2021 along with the 40 old trees already present there.
In 2022 QUILA became member of two important associations: FIVI & Sorì Eroici. FIVI is a non commercial organization that promotes and defends the Italian independent winemakers with full production cycle. It has around 1300 members from all over Italy [see more].
Sorì Eroici is a Langhe-Monferrato association of winegrowers cultivating their vineyards on steep slopes (inclination more than 30%) [see more]
Drone view of Quila Estate vineyard (Cossano Belbo) – the “eagle’s head”