Wine region / Country
Travaglini Gattinara 2014 (2 bottles)
Rovellotti Ghemme Chioso dei Pomi 2012 (2 bottles)
Tenute Sella Bramaterra 2011 (2 bottles)
Normal retail price: £115.35
Club Discount Price: £101.40
You save: £13.96 (12.09%)
This is due to the exposures, the considerable altitude and the tense and foggy climate, but above all the soils. Although fragmented in many small denominations, the district of North Piedmont is almost entirely on volcanic soils deriving from the prehistoric explosion of a crater that has littered the soil with a strong porphyry component. Poor and mineral soils, therefore great wines.
Sharp and taut in youth, perhaps more than Langaroli, Nebbiolo in these areas was traditionally combined with softer and more aromatic grapes, such as Vespolina. This is a wise practice, which makes these wines more affable, and which is still used in the specification of many denominations. But for lovers of the extreme, here pure Nebbiolo does not disappoint. The waiting times are very long, but the emotions it gives are without comparison. Like Ghemme and Gattinara, where some historical crus are already used, such as Molsino, Osso San Grato, Valferana. While in Boca and in the Bramaterra blends are still loves, and it's a marvel.
More towards Biella, Lessona benefits instead from sandy and mineral soils, which are often yellowish, suited to big reds with a sapid and spicy inclination. Here too crus like San Sebastiano allo Zoppo embody pieces of Italian wine history. And then the jewel in the crown, Carema, on the border with Valle d'Aosta. Here a mountain Nebbiolo rises along impressive terracing on very steep slopes. An unmissable spectacle, even though production is very limited.
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Red. Travaglini Gattinara, Italy Nebbiolo
Bottle: £16.77 club members / £19.12 non-members
Travaglini owns rows in almost all the biggest Gattinara crus. However, the winery is one of those which have rejected the contemporary tendency to vinify the vineyards separately, and in fact, in its most representative products, Gattinara and Riserva, grapes come from a clever blend of the various crus. Molsino, Ronchi, Valferana, therefore, come together in splendid equilibriums, exalting and harmonising the typical features of these porphyry, rocky, ferrous and granitic soils.
A Gattinara of brio and substance, of unbelievable value for money, Travaglini encloses the best of this terroir in a fantastic blend. Clean and clear garnet, it exposes all the ferrous and granite matrix of the soil, with minerality and balsamicity standing out. But the plot is young and perky, with notes of rose and cherry, and even a crispy vinosity. On the palate it is fresh and sharp, but very pleasant and graciously sapid. It stays for 30 months in Slavonian oak and it is thus even more powerfully vertical: its longevity is therefore absolutely guaranteed.
Cooked pork products
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Red. Rovellotti Ghemme, Italy Nebbiolo, Vespolina
Bottle: £18.31 club members / £20.81 non-members
The vineyards are located on moraine hills just outside the city, surrounded by woods as it is typical in northern Piedmont. The Rovellotti manage the vineyard according to basically biological principles, with minimal intervention and in full respect of the ecosystem, including the fauna. This is reflected in a range of simple and genuine wines, in which the territory bestows its natural majesty.
A beautiful garnet still lined with ruby, Chioso dei Pomi is the company's vintage Ghemme. It comes out with several years already behind it, and deserves further waiting to reach the peak of its expression. However, upon first impact, it immediately reveals a splendid minerality, a nice spiciness and pleasant notes of red fruits. In its youth it reveals good crunchiness and perky freshness, with a marked sapidity and a strong tannin.
Meats cooked on hot stone / small game / cured cheeses
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Red. Tenute Sella Bramaterra, Italy Nebbiolo, Croatina, Vespolina
Bottle: £15.62 club members / £17.74 non-members
The Bramaterra dei Lessona is praised by Mario Soldati in the famous itinerary of "Vino al vino" as a "formidable" nectar: powerful, tasty, full-bodied, of an intact and very pleasant bitterness". And we can only confirm how well Soldati identified the splendid characters of the porphyry, harsh and rugged terroir of this corner of Piedmont. A terroir that offers a blatantly hard wine in its youth, of difficult minerality, but which can open with solemn majesty in the very long years to come.
With a characteristic austere garnet, the Bramaterra opens with toasted and balsamic hints, immediately accompanied by typical ferrous, rusty notes. With oxygenation, more reassuring puffs of jammy fruit, aromatic herbs, liquorice, candied and dried fruit appear. The tannin is perky and decisive in the balance with its deep but gentle structure, in the sapidity, which in turn still dominates with its splendid character. A wine of a relaxed territoriality, of persistent balsamicity and of a harmonious whole in progress.
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