Gattinara, the wine from the village of the same name, is regarded as the crown jewel of wines from alto Piemonte and was first declared a DOC back in 1967. Alto Piemonte, in the foothills of the Alps and Monte Rosa, north east of Torino, made its name long before Barolo and Barbaresco and was once home to 40,000 hectares of vines. In the 20th century, due to a combination of phylloxera, wars and rural hardship, people abandoned the farms and vineyards in search of a better life and work in the cities. Today there are less than 1000 hectares and under 100 in Gattinara.
Mauro Franchino has devoted his life to Spanna, the local name for Nebbiolo, and, now in his late 60’s, Mauro has harvested more than 50 vintages! His three hectares of vineyards, planted in 1967, are on the banks of the Sesia river on rocky granite soils that are rich in iron, potassium and manganese. The wine is fermented in concrete vats and aged in botti for three years. Whilst Gattinara might produce the richest wines from these northern zones, it is a wine that is more about grace and energy than sheer power, yet is just as perfumed and complex as those from the Langhe. With just 3000 bottles produced, our allocation remains tiny. If you love Nebbiolo, this is a must buy wine.