Sampling the local wines in Piedmont has been harder than I anticipated. I thought just being in area would have given me access to an ocean of wine. I’m finding out that not having a car and relying on the notoriously shaky Italian mass transit system presents challenges and visiting wineries here are not like stopping by at a winery in New York or California.
This past Thursday I decided to do a day trip to wine country again, this time I was running solo. Since the Gattinara region is the closest I decided to spend the day there. As it turns out, there is no direct rail service to the town of Gattinara. After much computer time looking for ways to do this trip, I was able to figure out that I can take the train a nearby town down the road and walk to Gattinara (ab0ut 40 minutes). After catching an unbelievably slow local train, I made it to my destination, the town of Romagnono Sesia. As it turned out it was a unusualy hot day and that 40 walk to Gattinara burned off a lot of calories and sweat.
The first cantina I stopped at the outskirt of town was Anzivino, a label I was not familiar with. In the small tasting room the very hospitable host poured me three red wines. I started with the 2006 “Bramettera” which is about 85% Nebbiolo with the rest local grapes. It was medium red with a nose of candy pencil shavings with notes of cigar box on the fruit with firm acids and a nice finish. Next up was the 2006 Riserva Gattinara. It was dark red with an amber robe and had the same candy pencil shavings on the nose as the first wine, silky with graphite on the fruit with firm but manageable tannins. The last wine I tried was the 2006 “Faticato”. Nebbiolo from 50-year-old vines, it was dark red with a nose of stewed fruit and chewy fruit with some mint tones on the finish, firm tannin and a nice hit of acid at the finish. It was a nice wine.
I left the cantina and finally made it to the town of Gattinara. Not a very big town and surprisingly the only cantina I found was the cantina for the Gattinara Cooperative. I started with their entery level Nebbiolo, the 2009 Spanna. About 85% Nebbiolo with the rest Vespolina. It was light red with bright fruit. Next wine I tried was the 2004 Gattinara. Dark red with an amber robe, it had an interesting nose of stewed red fruit and sweet graphite and was chewy and chunky with silky tannins and at 8 euro a bottle interesting enough for me to buy one. Couldn’t find any other wine stops in Gattinara so I made my way back to the train station for the ride home. One stop away was the town of Ghemme which I recognised as another Nebbiolo town so I decided stop off to seek out wine cellars and try the local juice. Big mistake. Ghemme is a small town and I had arrived at the start of the siesta which means that everything except the coffee bars were shut down tight. Nothing was open and that included anything having to do with wine. And of course the next train out didn’t leave for a few hours so my time in Ghemme consisted of walking around the central piazza and drinking lots of coffee. I think the next wine outing will be to go to one of the local towns that have a few enoteche and drink the local juice hassle-free.