2019 Tavaglini Gattinara DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (Alcohol 13.5%, Residual Sugar 2 g/l) LCBO Vintages $37.95 (750ml bottle)
Although Barolo and Barbaresco to the south in Langhe are certainly more well known, the Gattinara DOCG in the north of Piedmont produces some of the region’s most interesting takes on the Nebbiolo grape. Located at the foot of Monte Rosa, this small growing area has been famed for its Alpine-influenced wines produced almost exclusively with Nebbiolo, known locally as Spanna.
Fermented in stainless steel and then aged in large old oak barrels, this example is Travaglini’s flagship wine and an approachable calling card for the Gattinara DOCG the world over.
The nose is initially intriguingly reserved and delicate, but allow the wine to develop in the glass, and it becomes quite expressive, earthy, and complex, with red berry fruit, tar, spice, mountain herbs, and just a touch of Alpine flowers.
The medium-bodied palate shows pronounced sour cherry acidity and strident tannins, giving the wine some admirable structure, allowing it to age for quite some time. This 2019 is a relative baby, but it’s tasting wonderfully even at this early stage. This is definitely a wine that requires a good decant before consumption, and luckily for you, the oddly shaped bottle is specially designed to assist with this, catching any sediment in the slightly bulbous neck. Saying that, this young wine shouldn’t be throwing any sediment yet, but give it a few years, and I can see that feature coming in very handy.
I’m intrigued to see how this wine develops tertiary characteristics over time. The wine is certainly terroir-driven, with the palate being dominated by a mineral element that continues out into the long and satisfying finish. Fun fact: Gattinara is the world’s only Nebbiolo grown on volcanic soils, and this certainly shows in the mouth.
For me, this would sit perfectly alongside a braised (wild if possible) rabbit risotto, but I think it would also pair extremely well with any tomato-based pasta sauce. This is an excellent wine if you love Nebbiolo but would like to stray from the usual Langhe Barolo/Barbaresco axis.
Look out for an extended interview with Alessia Travaglini-Collauto about her family’s winery in the coming weeks.
(Four and a half out of a possible five apples)