Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

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Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#1 Post by Elliot Steele » September 25th, 2018, 10:45 pm

I've had a decent size sampling of 50's and 60's Spanna, Gattinara, and Carema from various producers and have found across the board that these wines are long lived, Burgundian, and great values to boot. I've wanted to stock up on some producers who are currently making wines that fit the bill of what I've experienced from the region previously. Any favorites or suggestions?

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#2 Post by AAgrawal » September 26th, 2018, 7:04 am

I'm highly interested in this as well, and curious to see what people say. I've tried a few producers from the Alto Piemonte and generally find them very good quality wines at good prices, sometimes in a slightly more elegant style (whether because of the northern climate or the vespolina blend I don't know). But I'm still looking for the producer who competes with the best of Barolo/Barbaresco at the highest levels regardless of price.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#3 Post by Markus S » September 26th, 2018, 8:25 am

AAgrawal wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 7:04 am
... But I'm still looking for the producer who competes with the best of Barolo/Barbaresco at the highest levels regardless of price.
Not the way to look at this. It's not an apple-to-apple comparison, as the wine profile is quite different and in many Alto Piemont districts, they use varying amounts of non-nebbiolo grapes so even the flavors would be askew. Remember, these are lighter, higher acid, wines that won't give you the same 'kick' as B&B will. I think the best way is to explore...they really aren't that expensive and pick a DOC/DOCG that is on the shelf from Gattinara, Ghemme, Boca, Valtellina, Fara, Donnas, etc.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#4 Post by AAgrawal » September 26th, 2018, 9:13 am

Markus S wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 8:25 am
AAgrawal wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 7:04 am
... But I'm still looking for the producer who competes with the best of Barolo/Barbaresco at the highest levels regardless of price.
Not the way to look at this. It's not an apple-to-apple comparison, as the wine profile is quite different and in many Alto Piemont districts, they use varying amounts of non-nebbiolo grapes so even the flavors would be askew. Remember, these are lighter, higher acid, wines that won't give you the same 'kick' as B&B will. I think the best way is to explore...they really aren't that expensive and pick a DOC/DOCG that is on the shelf from Gattinara, Ghemme, Boca, Valtellina, Fara, Donnas, etc.
Completely fair, but I also think that with climate change in the not too distant future, the Alto Piemonte may taste more like Barolo/Barbaresco did 5-10 years ago than Barolo/Barbaresco does. So I'm trying to look ahead and find some replacements, if they exist, especially since I'm already priced out of the top 1-2 tiers of Barolo.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#5 Post by g.colangelo » September 26th, 2018, 9:20 am

My personal list:
Antoniolo (Gattinara)
Proprieta` Sperino (Lessona)
Colombera & Garella (Ghemme, Lessona)
Le Piane (Boca)
I have also had good bottles from Miru`, a small producer in Ghemme.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#6 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 26th, 2018, 9:30 am

In addition:

Vallana for Gattinara, Spanna, Boca.

For Carema, we like Ferrando, both white and black label.

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#7 Post by Hank Victor » September 26th, 2018, 9:38 am

Clerico Massimo from Lessona. I think is a great value and exceptionally quality. I was able to pick up their 2010 riserva for about $50.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#8 Post by fred o. » September 26th, 2018, 10:26 am

Markus S wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 8:25 am
AAgrawal wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 7:04 am
... But I'm still looking for the producer who competes with the best of Barolo/Barbaresco at the highest levels regardless of price.
Not the way to look at this. It's not an apple-to-apple comparison, as the wine profile is quite different and in many Alto Piemont districts, they use varying amounts of non-nebbiolo grapes so even the flavors would be askew. Remember, these are lighter, higher acid, wines that won't give you the same 'kick' as B&B will. I think the best way is to explore...they really aren't that expensive and pick a DOC/DOCG that is on the shelf from Gattinara, Ghemme, Boca, Valtellina, Fara, Donnas, etc.
I think you could say that competing doesn't necessarily mean replacing, since no two wine regions will ever give identical wines even with the same grape composition and winemaking style, but maybe an alternative that has the capability of offering something of (debatably) similar drinking pleasure and quality without being so expensive (like Oregon pinot/chard versus Burgundy, or Napa originally versus Bordeaux, though that's obviously different now). that said, alto piemonte looks like it has such a rich history of wine making and quality that you're right that the comparisons are very different, and it should stand on its own rather than as an up and coming Piedmont ringer.

Other producers I've seen mentioned recently are ArPePe (Jim Anderson and I think Jim Cowan had some interesting tasting notes on these in the past), and Monsecco in Gatinara.

Eric Asimov had a great overview of this a few years ago, as well:
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/dini ... biolo.html
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#9 Post by J Dove » September 26th, 2018, 11:08 am

Cantalupo
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#10 Post by Elliot Steele » September 26th, 2018, 11:24 am

Big fan of Ferrando and Sperino already as well as Cantina dei Produttori. Need to try Vallana and others listed here as well. I see a N. Piedmont offline brewing here.....

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#11 Post by Elliot Steele » September 26th, 2018, 11:26 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 9:30 am
In addition:

Vallana for Gattinara, Spanna, Boca.

For Carema, we like Ferrando, both white and black label.
Sarah, I'm sure you've also had Ferrando's passito, but if you haven't I can highly recommend it as lovely dessert wine.

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#12 Post by Ian Sutton » September 26th, 2018, 11:36 am

g.colangelo wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 9:20 am

I have also had good bottles from Miru`, a small producer in Ghemme.
[cheers.gif] Loving the mention of Mirù, a producer we've visited twice and they've been incredibly hospitable, even hosting us literally as grapes were coming in from the harvest. They are very much a family setup and if you like such places in comparison to more slick/commercial wineries then there is much to appreciate. Better than Cantalupo? Probably not. However they are priced very fairly and they are good wines, with a special shout out to the Vespolina (under a Colline Novaresi label) which has performed brilliantly in the cellar (6-10 years window, but could conceivably go longer). Ghemme, a single vineyard "Cavenago" Ghemme Riserva from the vineyards surrounding the excellent agritursmo 'Il Cavenago), plus other wines. I'd love it if just a single person here tried their wines off the back of this thread.

The region is definitely re-emerging, and there is plenty of change, so I'd echo the recommendation to taste, explore and follow what hits the spot for you (if anything, the region won't appeal to everyone).
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#13 Post by SteveG » September 26th, 2018, 11:46 am

fred o. wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 10:26 am
...
Other producers I've seen mentioned recently are ArPePe (Jim Anderson and I think Jim Cowan had some interesting tasting notes on these in the past), and Monsecco in Gatinara.

Eric Asimov had a great overview of this a few years ago, as well:
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/dini ... biolo.html
Great but pricey producer, but now we are getting into Lombardia as an alternative to Alto Piemonte...

In Lombardia we have also enjoyed Conti Sertoli, especially the sforzato (made with dried grapes, sort of Amarone-to-Valpolicella except vinified to dryness).

In Alto Piemonte, as others have said: Ferrando, Antoniolo, Vallana,

also Proprieta Sperino, Travaglini (espite being a relaively large producer)
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#14 Post by fred o. » September 26th, 2018, 12:11 pm

SteveG wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 11:46 am
fred o. wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 10:26 am
...
Other producers I've seen mentioned recently are ArPePe (Jim Anderson and I think Jim Cowan had some interesting tasting notes on these in the past), and Monsecco in Gatinara.
Great but pricey producer, but now we are getting into Lombardia as an alternative to Alto Piemonte...

In Lombardia we have also enjoyed Conti Sertoli, especially the sforzato (made with dried grapes, sort of Amarone-to-Valpolicella except vinified to dryness).
fair point, I spoke from a place of ignorance :) and conflated two very different areas. thanks for the correction -- Lombardia is distinct from N Piedmont, you're right. Would love to learn more about the distinctions between these areas.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#15 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » September 26th, 2018, 12:25 pm

Elliot Steele wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 11:26 am
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 9:30 am
In addition:

Vallana for Gattinara, Spanna, Boca.

For Carema, we like Ferrando, both white and black label.
Sarah, I'm sure you've also had Ferrando's passito, but if you haven't I can highly recommend it as lovely dessert wine.
Thanks, I haven't had it. We almost never drink sweet wines, despite having a large selection in the cellar, but you never know when the knowledge will come in handy!

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#16 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » September 26th, 2018, 1:08 pm

I love arpepe, especially the sassellas. I’ve tried some other valtellina which have been underwhelming.

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#17 Post by RyanC » September 26th, 2018, 1:14 pm

More love for Arpepe here. Although I suppose they're not strictly N. Piedmont (or are they?), their wines are very relevant to your inquiry. They make a number of wines that generally drink well young and age nicely. Unsurprisingly, they're brilliant with Italian food. My local Italian joint always has one or more Arpepe wines on the list, and I've probably gone ordered a few cases' worth over the years.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#18 Post by Justin S » September 26th, 2018, 1:36 pm

As far as Proprieta Sperino, though the Uvaggio bottling is decent, it doesn't have nearly the cohesion or depth of the Lessona bottling, so I'd stick to the latter despite the significant price premium. The '11 Lessona needed a few more years of age last time I had it in Winter 2017, but the '09 Lessona I had a few months ago is ready to rock. Plan to hold the '10 for 2-3 years at least, but I suspect it could be drunk today with some air.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#19 Post by g.colangelo » September 26th, 2018, 4:12 pm

RyanC wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 1:14 pm
More love for Arpepe here. Although I suppose they're not strictly N. Piedmont (or are they?), their wines are very relevant to your inquiry. They make a number of wines that generally drink well young and age nicely. Unsurprisingly, they're brilliant with Italian food. My local Italian joint always has one or more Arpepe wines on the list, and I've probably gone ordered a few cases' worth over the years.
They are in Valtellina, Lombardy, so not North Piedmont.
But if one broadens the question then, yes, absolutely!
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#20 Post by g.colangelo » September 26th, 2018, 4:15 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 11:36 am
g.colangelo wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 9:20 am

I have also had good bottles from Miru`, a small producer in Ghemme.
[cheers.gif] Loving the mention of Mirù, a producer we've visited twice and they've been incredibly hospitable, even hosting us literally as grapes were coming in from the harvest. They are very much a family setup and if you like such places in comparison to more slick/commercial wineries then there is much to appreciate. Better than Cantalupo? Probably not. However they are priced very fairly and they are good wines, with a special shout out to the Vespolina (under a Colline Novaresi label) which has performed brilliantly in the cellar (6-10 years window, but could conceivably go longer). Ghemme, a single vineyard "Cavenago" Ghemme Riserva from the vineyards surrounding the excellent agritursmo 'Il Cavenago), plus other wines. I'd love it if just a single person here tried their wines off the back of this thread.

The region is definitely re-emerging, and there is plenty of change, so I'd echo the recommendation to taste, explore and follow what hits the spot for you (if anything, the region won't appeal to everyone).
They also have two different bottlings of their Ghemme, distinguished just by the color of "Ghemme" on the label, red or black. The difference is the Nebbiolo clone.
By the way their Ghemme ages beautifully: I have had 2004 and 2006 recently and they were still very young.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#21 Post by Rory K. » September 26th, 2018, 10:22 pm

I'll throw my vote in for Cantalupo Ghemme, Antoniolo Gattinara, and for Travaligni (at least their riserva Gattinara).
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#22 Post by Lee Short » September 26th, 2018, 10:25 pm

+1 for Ferrando, Antoniolo, Cantalupo, Traviglini.

I was in the Twin Cities recently, and a member of my old tasting group opened a 20-year-old Traviglini Gattinara. I was very surprised at how well it aged.

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#23 Post by Ian Sutton » September 27th, 2018, 1:02 pm

g.colangelo wrote:
September 26th, 2018, 4:15 pm

By the way their Ghemme ages beautifully: I have had 2004 and 2006 recently and they were still very young.
I recall Marco bringing out a pre-release sample of the 2006 to taste (might have been as late as in 2011) and wow, that was some wine. I never did find a bottle to buy, as there aren't many stockists in Italy and they've never made it to the UK, despite an Italian pub owner threatening to bring some in. I managed to pick some 2009 Ghemme and 2016 Vespolina up recently from a European merchant who ships, but we're hoping to get back to Ghemme next year.

p.s. a special mention for the Ghemme wine festival held in May, a rather convivial/friendly piss-up, rather more alcoholic than normal for Italy, but despite the hearty drinking going on, it's very good natured/considerate. Strongly recommended for those who like seeing Italy beyind the touristic sites. Ghemme is most certainly not a tourist destination, looking rather humdrum, but we've found genuine warmth in the attitudes of the residents, perhaps epitomised by the lady running the gelateria, who gives the impression of someone who's landed the best job in the world and wants to enjoy it.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#24 Post by Kirk.Grant » September 28th, 2018, 6:25 am

I think many people often underestimate the age ability of wines...this region was clearly underestimated and ignored for a long time by many...now is probably the time to stock up while the prices are still reasonable.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#25 Post by g.colangelo » September 28th, 2018, 8:02 am

Kirk.Grant wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 6:25 am
I think many people often underestimate the age ability of wines...this region was clearly underestimated and ignored for a long time by many...now is probably the time to stock up while the prices are still reasonable.
And after Roberto Conterno bought Nervi (Gattinara) this is likely to happen faster than previously thought...
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#26 Post by Markus S » September 28th, 2018, 8:25 am

Ian Sutton wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 1:02 pm
... a rather convivial/friendly piss-up...
Is it better to piss UP or DOWN? [berserker.gif]
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#27 Post by Otto Forsberg » September 28th, 2018, 9:54 am

Lots of great names here, including my personal favorites Nervi, Antoniolo, ArPePe and Ferrando - the latter one I have actually visited during my trip to Piedmont. Vallana is good, but I really don't consider them as high in quality as the other names listed here.

Produttori di Carema make some wonderful (and very reasonably priced) wines as well. They might be a bit behind in complexity compared to Ferrando, but they are similarly capable of aging for half an eternity.

Nobody here has mentioned Bramaterra. La Palazzina is definitely among some of the greatest producers in Alto Piemonte and definitely one to keep an eye on.

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#28 Post by Ian Dorin » September 28th, 2018, 10:20 am

g.colangelo wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 8:02 am
Kirk.Grant wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 6:25 am
I think many people often underestimate the age ability of wines...this region was clearly underestimated and ignored for a long time by many...now is probably the time to stock up while the prices are still reasonable.
And after Roberto Conterno bought Nervi (Gattinara) this is likely to happen faster than previously thought...
That's only going to add marketing. I've tasted the wines, and they are fine to solid, but not rewriting how they are making wine there.

I am not a fan of Antoniolo (too modern) or Colombera and Garella (I just don't get the wines).

I am a fan of
Tenuta Sella
Massimo Clerico
Conti - Just tasted 2011 Boca- WOW.
Boniperti- New producer for me, but very classy, traditional wines
Ferrando, although this may change. These wines are getting way too pricey.
Vallana and Produttori di Carema for value.

And yes I sell several of these, but you know, I like them, so.... [cheers.gif]
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#29 Post by Ian Sutton » September 28th, 2018, 11:19 am

Markus S wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 8:25 am
Ian Sutton wrote:
September 27th, 2018, 1:02 pm
... a rather convivial/friendly piss-up...
Is it better to piss UP or DOWN? [berserker.gif]
[snort.gif]
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#30 Post by Markus S » September 28th, 2018, 11:42 am

Ian Dorin wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 10:20 am
Ferrando, although this may change. These wines are getting way too pricey.
At around $70-80 for these, the value is shrinking. But they do make a Canavese Rosso that sells for around $20 which is a great wine for the price.
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#31 Post by Otto Forsberg » September 28th, 2018, 12:09 pm

Markus S wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 11:42 am
Ian Dorin wrote:
September 28th, 2018, 10:20 am
Ferrando, although this may change. These wines are getting way too pricey.
At around $70-80 for these, the value is shrinking. But they do make a Canavese Rosso that sells for around $20 which is a great wine for the price.
Yeeesshh

Back in 2015 a bottle of 2011 white label was 22€ at the winery. That was ok, yet still felt rather pricey, seeing how the wines of Produttori di Carema were 8-9€ for the regular and 12-13€ for the Riserva! :D

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#32 Post by Sh@n A » October 24th, 2018, 1:07 pm

Just curious, how drastic has climate change been on recent vintages? Are the 2013s drastically different wines than a 2005, for example?
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#33 Post by Sh@n A » October 25th, 2018, 7:08 am

Sh@n A wrote:
October 24th, 2018, 1:07 pm
Just curious, how drastic has climate change been on recent vintages? Are the 2013s drastically different wines than a 2005, for example?
I was able to ask AG of Vinous this question. His view is the change would be too gradual over that period of time, and there will be bigger impact from changes in vinification processes. He also gave a lengthy discussion of how the wines will improve more if pricing improves, as they will have more capital to invest in their processes. He also made an interesting point on logistics, on how the region is relatively close to airport access, which makes it ripe for tourism to take hold (and thus helping the region earn more capital to improve their wine).
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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#34 Post by kyledorsey » October 25th, 2018, 9:09 am

Good to see many mentions of Cantalupo in Ghemme. If Lombardia is to be included in the discussion, I've enjoyed the elegant and polished wines from Mamete Prevostini in Valtellina.

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#35 Post by Elliot Steele » January 27th, 2019, 8:53 am

Had a couple bottles from Rovellotti over the last two weeks. Wow is it great juice! 09 and 11 Chioso dei Pomi. 09 is rich, plummy, truffley and really singing right now with many years of upside and development ahead. The 11 is more sleek in structure and feminine with pretty red fruits poking through the deep plum note with more orange peel and spice and many years ahead of it as well. I wasn't familiar with the producer and it was sitting on the table with some heavy hitters at dinner so truly no bias when tasting it. It almost has that level of depth, extraction and velvety seamlessness that I find in Giacosa's wines, albeit to a lesser degree, but damned if it ain't too far off. Color me impressed.

I really believe that this region is going to become the next N. Rhone as far as hype goes. There's just too much good to great wine across the board being produced here and the prices are so affordable it's a joke. YMMV

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#36 Post by Elliot Steele » February 9th, 2019, 9:52 am

Elliot Steele wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 8:53 am
Had a couple bottles from Rovellotti over the last two weeks. Wow is it great juice! 09 and 11 Chioso dei Pomi. 09 is rich, plummy, truffley and really singing right now with many years of upside and development ahead. The 11 is more sleek in structure and feminine with pretty red fruits poking through the deep plum note with more orange peel and spice and many years ahead of it as well. I wasn't familiar with the producer and it was sitting on the table with some heavy hitters at dinner so truly no bias when tasting it. It almost has that level of depth, extraction and velvety seamlessness that I find in Giacosa's wines, albeit to a lesser degree, but damned if it ain't too far off. Color me impressed.

I really believe that this region is going to become the next N. Rhone as far as hype goes. There's just too much good to great wine across the board being produced here and the prices are so affordable it's a joke. YMMV
Well clearly Martin Steinley agrees as well... These wines are no-brainers to make cellar space for. Not sure why they aren't getting more love on this board

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Re: Who Are Your Favorite N. Piedmont Producers

#37 Post by kyledorsey » February 10th, 2019, 7:52 am

Elliot Steele wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 8:53 am
Had a couple bottles from Rovellotti over the last two weeks. Wow is it great juice! 09 and 11 Chioso dei Pomi. 09 is rich, plummy, truffley and really singing right now with many years of upside and development ahead. The 11 is more sleek in structure and feminine with pretty red fruits poking through the deep plum note with more orange peel and spice and many years ahead of it as well. I wasn't familiar with the producer and it was sitting on the table with some heavy hitters at dinner so truly no bias when tasting it. It almost has that level of depth, extraction and velvety seamlessness that I find in Giacosa's wines, albeit to a lesser degree, but damned if it ain't too far off. Color me impressed.

I really believe that this region is going to become the next N. Rhone as far as hype goes. There's just too much good to great wine across the board being produced here and the prices are so affordable it's a joke. YMMV
I just opened one of the 2010 Rovellotti Chioso dei Pomi last month and it was stunning. Elegant, balanced, complex, and very youthful. I immediately picked up a magnum to check in on in the distant future.

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