Have you tasted Nebbiolo wines from Alto Piemonte yet?
Nebbiolo is the name of the red grape variety that is most famously known to produce the great bottlings of Barolo and Barbaresco, both of which come from the Langhe area and are required by law to be crafted entirely from Nebbiolo. Nebbiolo production is mostly limited to the northern Italian region of Piedmont, where its reputation is firmly associated to wines from Langhe. However, did you know that Barolo and Barbaresco have only recently become the most prominent Nebbiolo wines in Italy and around the world?
Nebbiolo wines are also produced in the tiny area of Alto Piemonte (Northern or High Piedmont), and for a long time they were the most popular. Tenute Sella’s Lessona, for example, is called the "wine of the Italian unification", as historians narrate the former minister of finance Quintino Sella uncorked a bottle of the family wine to celebrate the capture of Rome with the other ministers in 1870.
Despite its former success, most lands and vineyards were abandoned or left unattended during times of rapid industrialization in the mid-1900s. Only recently have they been revitalized by a small cohort of young entrepreneurs who believe in the potential of this once great bastion of Italian wines. Large wineries from the Langhe have also invested in the area to benefit local fervour and wine output.
Alto Piemonte is a small but geographically complex area composed of various appellations, like Lessona, Bramaterra, Boca, Ghemme, Gattinara, Fara, Sizzano, and Coste della Sesia. Most of the soils in these areas are distinctly acidic and quite different from Barolo and Barbaresco’s soils. Acidic soils generally produce wine with ferrous minerality and lower alcohol than in the Langhe. Wines are also lighter, savoury, and quite juicy. Nebbiolo can be also blended with Vespolina and Croatina grape varietals, which give the wine spice and fruit.
Over the last twenty years, there has been a renaissance with new interest in the wines from Alto Piemonte. Do not wait any longer. Search our e-shop for "Alto Piemonte" and "Nebbiolo", and you will find a selection of the best labels from established and emerging wineries who are eager to stir strong emotions with their Nebbiolos.