Azienda Agricola 499 is one of Piedmont’s most precious hidden gems. Founded in 2012 by Mario Andrion and Gabriele Saffirio, this relatively new project is already making waves across the region. For high-acid wines that go the limits, these bottles are just the ticket.

After pursuing studies in viticulture and enology, Mario went on to work as the winemaker for Castello di Verduno (Barolo/Barbaresco) and Domaine Serene. Gabriele was born into a winemaking family and was raised amongst the vines. The duo’s combined talents and contrasting upbringings create a multifaceted approach to their estate, though certain principles have been non-negotiable from the start: sustainable farming, minimal intervention in the cellar, and letting the juice speak for itself.

Mario and Gabriele’s six hectares of vines are cultivated on steep, terraced hillsides and are rooted into a variety of sandy and chalky soils. Upon realizing their shared passion for the Freisa and Moscato varieties, the estate’s focus was clear from the start. Today, the duo also works with a handful of other varieties, including Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and Chardonnay.

‘Enigma’

Region: Langhe, Piedmont
Grape: 100% Moscato Bianco di Canelli 
Farming: Sustainable 
Vine Age (average): 40 years
Soil: Chalk and sandstone
Vinification: Fruit is fermented for 25 days in stainless steel tanks (90%) and Austrian oak (10%)
Aging: 10 months in stainless steel tanks (90%) and Austrian oak (10%)
Fining/Filtration: Yes/No
Production: 300 cases/year
Additional information: This is one of the few ‘dry and still’ expressions of Moscato di Canelli being produced in the region. The wine gets its name (Enigma) due to the fact that there is no appellation for this style of Moscato, as well as the fact that the duo cannot put the grape variety on the label.

Freisa

Region: Langhe, Piedmont
Grape: 100% Freisa 
Farming: Sustainable 
Vine Age (average): 20 years
Soil: Chalk and sandstone
Vinification: Fruit is hand-harvested, skin-macerated for seven days, and spontaneously fermented for 12 days in stainless steel tanks
Aging: 14 months in stainless steel tanks 
Fining/Filtration: No/No
Production: 400 cases/year

‘Costa dei Fre’

Region: Langhe, Piedmont
Grape: 100% Freisa 
Farming: Sustainable 
Vine Age (average): 20 years
Soil: Chalk and sandstone
Vinification: Fruit is hand-harvested, skin-macerated for 15 days, and spontaneously fermented for approximately two weeks in stainless steel tanks
Aging: 20 months in large Austrian oak barrels
Fining/Filtration: No/No
Production: 170 cases/year
Additional information: The name of this cuvée translates to ‘iron slope,’ as there is an iron-rich spring located at the bottom of the hillside.

‘Sorri del Mattino’

Region: Langhe, Piedmont
Grape: 100% Nebbiolo
Farming: Sustainable
Vine Age (average): 20 years
Soil: Limestone
Vinification: Fruit is hand-harvested and spontaneously fermented in steel for two weeks
Aging: 10 months in Austrian oak
Fining/Filtration: No/No
Production: 85 cases/year