In my continuing quest for new Italian producers, I stumbled upon a small Natural Nebbiolo and Vespolina winery in northern Piedmont. I had not expected to find something in the area for a while, because like Burgundy it can be difficult to find good, un-imported domaines. Both Burgundy and Piedmont are some of my favorite regions, and I have been seeking out new wineries there for a while. So to find this one, well, was quite the treat.
Located in the northeastern portion of Piedmont, in the town of Borgomanero, Cantine Fontechiara, run by the Ferrari family (no relation to the carmaker), is a small (3.5 hectares) producer who makes gorgeously perfumed wines. Their densely-planted vineyards (1 meter x 2 meters) are rooted on southeast-facing slopes in the foothills of the Alps, in the Colline Novaresi, leading to cold nights and warm days. Perfect for balanced grapes.
Any and all chemicals are banned from the vineyards and only natural methods are used to maintain the health of the vines and the soils. Biodiversity is encouraged as the family feels this is the best way to guarantee the future well-being of their vines and the quality of their wines.
Harvest is by hand, and wild yeasts are left to their devices to ferment the wines. Fermentation is done in stainless steel, after which time the wines are aged in French oak barrels. No SO2 is added as the wines are already so stable that there is no need for it.
The resulting wines are bright, perfumy expressions of Nebbiolo, with rose petals, tar and beautiful dark fruit on an elegant frame that ends with a long, long finish. Our first sample bottle lasted several days open as I went back to it over and over again. I couldn’t believe how gorgeous it was.
These great wines are arriving in late Summer/early Fall, and we couldn’t be more excited. My mouth is watering just thinking of them already. Thirsty for more pics? You can see them HERE.
Man I love this job.