La Spinetta Piccolo Derthona Colli Tortonesi Timorasso DOC 2019 is a stunning wine. Probably the second Timorasso I’ve tried in my life, but it keeps the success rate of 100% when it comes to quality. At first, it looked a bit like a neutral Italian white. But with air, the floral notes came. Then melons, honey, mineral, hints of dough. The palate is silky but dry. It is long finishing and gorgeous. This La Spinetta Timorasso will improve with age, but I’d rather drink it now. Preferable with some chicken and mushroom in a creamy sauce.
The Rivetti’s have carefully selected their vineyard purchases since 1977. Now they span 165 hectares between Piedmont and Tuscany. They favour sites with southern exposure and the vines to be mature (35-65 years). They have adopted organic principles in the vineyards. Together with low cropping, they feel they have the right ingredients for great wine. La Spinetta means “top of the hill” and refers to the location of their first cellar.
Piedmont is one of the most significant wine regions in the world. Its name means the ‘foot of the mountain’. Piedmont is in the North-Western reach of Italy. There are a lot of parallels drawn between the best wines of Piedmont (Barolo and Barbaresco) and the wines of Burgundy. The region neighbours France and Switzerland with its border defined by the Alps to the North and west and Apennines to the South. These natural defences kept the Ligurians safe from Roman invasions. Luckily it didn’t work forever, as we may not have the wines that we cherish today.
Timorasso is both the appellation and grape name. Timorasso is from Piedmont and was nearly extinct not that long ago. Timorasso is a thick-skinned grape that is capable of making beautiful wines. Floral notes and orchard fruits, rich palate with mineral hints. The best can improve with long-term bottle aging.
There are 1000s and 1000s of grapes in Italy. There are sub-alpine cool-climate regions in the North, and Sun-baked vineyards in the South. Add to that, volcanoes and many cultures within one Country. You could struggle to find anything uniform about the wines. The best of the best include Tuscan reds from Sangiovese or Cabernet. Nebbiolo from Piedmont, especially Barolo and Barbaresco. The aromatic whites of NE Italy from Garganega, Pinot Grigio, and numerous crazy blends. The volcanic wines of Mt Etna in Sicily. And many more.
The only generalisation I will make is that a lot of Italian wine is undervalued when compared to a similar French style.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is special. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
It is interesting to know that you can make white wine from almost any grape. The colour comes from the skins, and if there is no contact, there is no colour. White wines tend to be delicate, perfumed, higher in acid and lower in alcohol. It seems for this and many other reasons, it is hard to make an incredibly impressive white wine. But those that have mastered the art are indeed some of the best winemakers in the world.
It is a falsehood to think that white wine does not age as well as red wine. But it is correct that white wine, as a rule, doesn’t age for as long.
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.