Tasting notes, Feb. 29, 2020; wines of Piedmont

Ok, it’s Leap Day, which only comes every four years,. We want to celebrate the occasion by opening and sampling wines that are not generally available despite their centuries old heritage and mythical status  at (or near) the pinnacle of the wine world; the wines of Piedmont, of Northwest Italy. As Burgundy is to Bordeaux, Piedmont is to Tuscany; wines that are equally exalted, but far less available and more difficult to understand.  The grapes from Piedmont are grown almost nowhere else in the world, subsequently the wines are quite unlike any others. Enjoy!

Angelo Negro ‘Perdaudin’ Roero Arneis DOCG  2017

Regular Price $29.99 

Sale price $23.99

Arneis is the grape, and its story is that it was all but extinct into the 70s when a handful of producers set out to reclaim it. Giacoso and Vietta are the best known of those, but Giovanni Negro was the first to produce a dry Arnies, in 1971. Little known outside of Roero, Negro is a legend within the community; the eponymous winery dates from 1670. Perdaudin is among the most important and oldest vineyards in the region and this Arnies if full and rich with floral notes followed by tropical fruit and cleansing acidity.

G.D. Vajra ‘N.S. Della Neve’ Extra Brut Rosato, NV

Regular Price $34.99

Sale price $27.99

N.S. refers to the vineyard (and chapel), ‘Nostra Signora Della Neve’, from which the Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir for this fabulous sparkling wine are harvested.  The wine is made in the traditional style, a la Champagne, and is fresh and fruity as well as structured and minerally. It’s delicate enough to serve as aperitif and rich enough for dinner. 

La Colombera ‘Derthona’  Colli Tortonesi DOC 2016

Regular Price $27.99

Sale price $21.99

The grape here is Timorasso, which, like Arneis, was nearly extinct until Walter Massa resurrected it in the 80s. Father and daughter team, Piercarlo and Elisa Semino from La Colombera started planting it in the 90s and their efforts have borne fruit (no pun intended). This is another of those white grape varietals that age well, as it has bountiful acidity and great texture along with floral, citrus and stone fruit aromas and flavors.

Oddero Barbera D’Asti Superiore Nizza DOCG  2015

Regular Price $39.99 

Sale price $31.99 

Oddero is a historic name in Piedmont;  the founder Giacomo Oddero was way ahead of his time when he began bottling his own wines in 1878. The seventh generation of the family still grows the grapes and makes the wines. Best known for their Barolos from heralded vineyard sites, this Barbera is also world class; robust and structured, drinking beautifully today and capable of improving with aging.

G.D. Vajra ‘Albe’ Barolo DOCG 2015

Regular Price $44.99

Sale price $35.99

Barolo is often described as a wine of power…and while that’s not untrue, this is an example of a Barolo of finesse. A relatively new winery (founded in 1972), second generation Aldo Vajra is nonetheless a traditionalist, holding true to the techniques and styles that have defined Barolo through the centuries. It’s soft and full with structured but not overpowering tannins supporting the classic tart cherry and rose petal aromas and flavors. 

Damilano ‘Cannubi’ Barolo DOCG 2013

Regular Price $99.99 

Sale price $79.99

Cannubi is among the greatest vineyard sites in Barolo, and the wines from there are unique in both their elegance and long term aging ability. Founded in 1890, Damilano is a staunchly conservative in their approach, and their Cannubi release is considered to be their ‘tete de cuvee’.  The wine is intensely fragrant, and classically structured with elements of tart cherry, rose, violet and tar among the complex flavors.