Schiavenza is located in Serralunga D’Alba in the heart of Piedmont’s Lanhge district- celebrated for its great Barolo vineyards.  The estate was founded in 1956 by the brothers Vittorio and Ugo Alessandria.  Today it is run by the second generation Alessandria sisters, Enrica and Maura and Maura’s husband Luciano Pira.   The estate and surrounding area were formerly part of the Opera Pia Barolo (a castle that is kind of like the Hospice du Beaune- part educational institution and part hospital) whose vineyards were traditionally worked by sharecroppers.  The local dialect for sharecropper is “schiavenza” which should give one a clue as to the style here; this is no modern “barrique” aged Barolo estate.  The Barolos here are aged in the traditional large Slovenian barrels called botti, they use only naturally occurring yeasts and ferment the wines in cement cisterns.  Their holdings include approximately 8 hectares split between Serralunga and Monforte D’Alba and include the heralded crus Prapo, Bricco Cerreta, and Broglio.  In the vineyard, Schiavenza does not use pesticides or herbicides; harvest is manual and is conducted according to the phases of the moon.  The only piece missing from all of this information is just how good the wines are.