Alto Piemonte | Vallana, Gattinara

Our visit to the Italian Alps had to incorporate a visit to one of the oldest wineries steeped in family traditions and history. Cantine Vallana is a large property with winery and bottling line below. It is located about 10 minutes drive from Gattinara. This area is about an hour and a half from the Alps which dominate the horizon to the north, and to the south/east just over an hour to Milan. The Alps protect the vineyards from bad weather, they also bring a cooler climate to the vines compared to those of Barolo and in increasingly hot Summers this is a real benefit to the wines.

Historically, bulk wine and other agricultural products such as Arborio rice, have been important to the area. However, alongside their bulk wine business Vallana have always had a focus on fine wines which have been appreciated by export markets, especially the United States. Over the years there has been a growing recognition of different vineyard sites and an appreciation of their unique terroirs.

Redundant demijohn’s used to move bulk wine

We were delighted to meet 6th generation winemaker, Marina at the winery. We were even more delighted when she introduced her three children, Vincent, Leonard and Sophia who were very excited to meet our daughter Florrie and play whilst we tasted!

At the helm of the family owned winery are Marina and Francis, both whose passion about Alto Piemonte, the local grape varieties and their wineries history shines through in the wines that they produce.. They want to ‘…conceive their winemaking to be an interpretation of the terroir through the local grape varieties, in order to tell a story that transcends space and time. Unum, verum, bonum’

Campi Raudii 2019

The name of the wine is ‘The Red Fields’ which is the ancient name of the region named after Roman victory in 101BC. 100% Nebbiolo and is a really youthful and fruit forward expression of the grape variety. All vinification is done in cement tanks. Up to 15% of this wine is Vespolina which adds spiciness and colour. The wine is perfumed, with soft tannins and is really juicy. I really enjoyed this for its drinkability and can definitely imagine this going particularly well with little lamb chops, charcuterie or pasta with tomato based sauce.

Buy your Campi Raudii 2019 HERE!

Leonard and Vincent showing us the old cement tanks

Spanna 2019

Spanna is the old name for Nebbiolo in the Alto Piemonte region. Grapes are more site specific and from Ghemme which has more volcanic soil. Old oak is used. This is a very typical wine from this region – floral on the nose, with red fruit and is more complex on the finish with black pepper notes and smoke. This is also a wine that can age, 8-10 years.

Buy your Spanna 2019 HERE!

We also have the only magnums in the UK of this wine, perfect for parties and ideal for cellaring – limited availability HERE!

Boca 2013

From the vineyards of Boca DOC, which is made up of fossilized volcanic rock and is rich in iron. The wine is made up of predominantly Nebbiolo with a small amount of Vespolina (which is allowed). The bottle age on this wine is what makes it unique and it has evolved from its initial fruity stage to have more tertiary notes of forest floor and tobacco. It is a real treat to have a wine like this that is aged and ready to drink.

Treat yourself to a bottle HERE!

Gattinara DOCG 2014

The single village of Gattinara has volcanic rock, and soil that is crumbly and rich in iron. This is a wine to age, and here we have one which has just that! It has a lovely perfume with rose and violets as well as fruity notes of wild strawberries. The extra bottle age on this wine smooths the tannins, this is drinking now or can cellar further. Pair to fillet steak or lamb.

Purchase your Gattinara HERE!

Florrie enjoying the winery visit!

After the tasting as we drove back to the mountains, we both remarked on how much we have always enjoyed these wines. Even though they are a tougher sell than other top Italian wines like Barolo, they have been on our shop shelves since the beginning. They are a hand sell, but they are definitely worth the prestige and recognition of the other great wines of Italy. It was a pleasure to meet Marina and her children to taste the wines and visit her cellars.

Alto Piemonte has some stunning wines with these right up there with the best of the region, and we are pleased to be highlighting them to you our customers!

Comments are closed.

Every month (roughly!) we send out a newsletter to everyone on our mailing list - sharing wine suggestions and some of our latest in store offers. Opt-out anytime.