Barolo. Barbaresco. Langhe.
We know these names well, some of us better than others. We speak of unbelievable beauty and elegance, power, finesse, tension, etc. etc.
Nebbiolo is one of the great grapes. Unlike cabernet and chardonnay it has not travelled well across the globe. There’s no other “other home” for it. Only the hills of Piedmont really express the essence of nebbiolo. However, it’s not just the 3 names, there are a few villages that have been known to make great nebbiolo. Some have been forgotten. One such is Lessona (with it’s cousin Bramaterra, but I have yet to try one of these).
Here nebbiolo goes by another name, spanna. We are about 70km north of Turin, heading towards the Alps. Other local communes that make incredible wines from spanna include Gattinara, Ghemme, and further north in Donnaz and Valtellina in the Val ‘d’Aosta region.
A: vibrant ruby
N: medium+ intensity of red and black fruits (cherry, plums), earthiness and spices. Incredible complexity with a hint of animal funk.
P: medium intensity on the palate, with medium+ tannins (tamed well) and medium alcohol. Rustic herbs, and velvet smooth full body with plums, cherry and again that closeness to rich earth and animal life. A vibrant living wine, with well judged use of oak to support the fruit. Incredibly long finish.
Incredibly fresh and utterly enjoyable wine, of decadence and yet also down to earth in approach-ability.
Proprieta Sperino, Lessona DOC, Italy | Grape: Nebbiolo | Vintage: 2010 | 14% abv
From the producer on the vintage:
“The cold, snowy winter was followed by an unusually cool spring, late vegetative phase and some localised frost. The summer was also quite cool, but with a very good number of sunny days and the right amount of rain, and along with the natural thinning caused by the spring frosts led to an extraordinary and slow ripening of the grapes. The harvest was late, but in ideal conditions. The result is a vintage amongst the most classic in terms of the aromatic complexity, maturity and fineness of the tannins, and the right degree of freshness. Certainly a complex wine, enjoyable when young but that will be extraordinary once aged.”