The towns of Novara and Vercelli are the 'major' population points for what is referred to as the 'Alto Piemonte' region, close in distance to the famous cities of Milan, Turin, and Asti, but vastly different cultures. The history is largely agricultural until after World War II when there was a massive push towards industrialization. Aside from some crops like rice, most agricultural industries shrank to virtually nothing; vineyards had once been the equal in volume to those around Barolo and Barbaresco, but at its lowest point were reduced to less than 1,500 total acres. In recent years there has been a rural renaissance evolving where more people are rediscovering their roots and exploring many pursuits once abandoned, which includes redeveloping many vineyard sites. Inovaters like Gianluca Zanetta are leading the charge, developing the small La Capuccina resort and curating the Alto Piemonte specific cuisine and ambiance. Over time his love for the region's wines pushed him to purchase small parcels in the Fara DOC to make his own bottlings. Normally a winery of such limited production would have little need or desire to export, but fortunately for us we have importers in Virginia with the passion (and strong persuasive skills) to pry free a small amount for us.
Vespolina is the workhorse grape in the region, with Nebbiolo usually featured in the more famous and expensive wines, but is increasingly important as the need for affordable wines increases as the reputation grows. This is about as high as the quality gets for the varietal, especially at this price. Smoky red cherry aromas with a huge flavor wheel's worth of complimentary savory notes on the nose; dark flowers, wild game, blacker fruits and spices. The palate gets drier and darker with lots of plum skin, black pepper and tart red fruit flavors, and a very fine earthy texture to the finish from the tannins. This is a wine that shows its wild side, less fruit forward and 'crowd-pleasing' than a Barbera, but more accessible than a Nebbiolo that may need 4-6+ years in the cellar to loosen up. This craves gamey meats to pair with it, lentil soup, or hearty stews with lots of beans and rustic flavors.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!