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  • Writer's pictureJohn Paul Kaminga

Le Piane Tasting with Christoph Kunzli

Updated: Feb 25, 2022

Christoph Künzli is a man of infectious charisma and joyful optimism. He also produces some of the finest wines you will find in Alto Piemonte. This high-performing winery is a true treasure not only for Piedmont but for Italian wine in general.

-Monica Larner, Wine Advocate

Le Piane is one of Italy's undiscovered jewels... one of the leading estates in Piedmont.

-Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

I have nothing but admiration for what owner Christoph Kunzli has managed to do at his very fine Boca estate of Le Piane.

-Ian D'Agata

Christoph Kunzli
Christoph Kunzli

Boca is obscure but on the rise. Once one of Italy's most famous wine regions, Boca has a longer history with Nebbiolo than both Barolo and Barbaresco, but by the late 20th century most of the region's vineyards had been abandoned. Prospects were rather dim, but Christoph saw enormous potential in Boca, and took over Le Piane in the late 90s. Le Piane is now one of Italy's most celebrated wineries and the wines go from strength to strength, the best may be yet to come from Le Piane. If you love Nebbiolo, Barolo and Barbaresco, you have got to try an excellent Boca.

Boca is full of promise. An ancestral home to the great Nebbiolo grape, the Boca region was once a revered source of wine, much celebrated across Italy. At its height, Boca was planted to thousands of hectares of vineyards, but by the end of the last century it was almost completely abandoned, with less than 10 hectares in production. Christoph Kunzli, a Swiss wine merchant, having met and befriended Antonio Cerri, one of the very last people to keep Boca sprouting through the 20th century, saw enormous potential in the region. Tasting Cerri's wines, knowing the history of the region, seeing countless old terraces on overgrown hillsides, Christoph became determined to bring Boca back to glory. Upon Cerri's death in 1997, at 84 years of age, Christoph, with investors, bought his farm, and subsequently several choice vineyard sites in and around the Boca DOC. The new estate was named Le Piane.

Some of Le Piane's organic vineyards, high in the hills of Boca
Some of Le Piane's organic vineyards, high in the hills of Boca

Since the beginning, Christoph has sought to push the quality envelope, and excitement for his project has been real. In recent years, the team at Le Piane has really hit its stride and the wines go from strength to strength. If Le Piane was in Barolo or Barbaresco, the wines would be much more difficult to acquire (and perhaps much more expensive) but Boca flys so low that even its best wines are not hard to find on release. We always keep a few wines from Le Piane in stock, and we can confidently say that they are not only the best of Boca, but among the best of Piedmont; a fine vintage of their Boca stands shoulder to shoulder with any Italian wine.

Christoph is brilliant and charming, as well as endlessly passionate about wine and Boca. To pour these wines for you with Christoph makes us very (very) happy, and we can't wait to do so on Friday, March 6th. Please do attend, and please do note the time of the tasting: 5pm to 7pm. See you there!

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