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Gianni Gagliardo San Ponzio Nebbiolo d'Alba 2010
Already in the sixties the Barolos from Paolo Colla, full of great finesse and longevity, get major awards in major wine competitions of the time.
In 1973 his daughter, Marivanna, married Gianni Gagliardo, a young man from Monticello d’Alba in the Roero zone on the west bank of the Tanaro river. Gianni was a passionate young man with a notable entrepreneurial talent. The love of Gianni Gagliardo for the vineyards and the Barolo is immediate. Between the two men born a deep friendship and a fruitful collaboration which is the basis of the extraordinary success that the wines Gianni Gagliardo collect worldwide. It is Paul, with paternal affection, to transmit him all the secrets on vineyards and on winery that are used to create the undisputed king of the Langhe vineyards, the Barolo.
From the second half of the eighties, Gianni Gagliardo took the reins of the winery that bears his name, inheriting the secular tradition of the Colla family. From that moment the evolution is unstoppable. It is in fact Gianni to bring all over the world the precious family labels.
Beloved for flavorful red wines, Alba is an epicurean’s dream. The historic walled town at its heart is where growers from throughout the Piedmont region would once go to sell their produce to winemakers and négociants following the harvest, but today it is better recognized as one of Italy’s premiere culinary destinations. Sandwiched between Barolo and Barbaresco, the best vineyards, located atop sunny, south-facing hills, are planted with Nebbiolo. A popular entry-level alternative to its pricier neighbors, Nebbiolo d’Alba is softer and less tannic, ready to drink within just a couple years of bottling.
Dolcetto, one of Piedmont’s more easygoing varieties, is commonly grown here, known as Dolecetto d'Alba, and can often be found casually served in carafes on the tables of Alba’s oseterias and trattorias. These light and smooth wines are meant to be drunk young and with gusto while the region’s more serious wines age. Barbera is planted here as well, and takes on a more powerful, structured personality than that of its counterparts in Asti.
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area as well as in neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it is at its best in the Piedmontese villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. Nebbiolo is a finicky grape, and needs a very particular soil type in order to thrive. Outside of Italy, it often fails to show the captivating aromas for which it is so beloved, but some success has been achieved in parts of California.
In the Glass
Nebbiolo is an elegant variety with mouthwatering acidity and a compelling perfume of rose petals, violets, fresh tar, licorice, clay, and dried cherries. Light in color and body, Nebbiolo is a more powerful wine than one might expect, and its firm tannins typically need time to mellow. With age, it develops a velvety texture and a stunningly complex bouquet.
Nebbiolo’s love affair with food starts in Piedmont, which is home to the Slow Food movement and some of Italy’s best produce. The region is famous for its white truffles and wild boar ragu, both of which make for excellent pairings with Nebbiolo.
If you can’t afford to drink Barolo and Barbaresco every night, try the more wallet-friendly, earlier-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba. Also search out the fine offerings of the nearby Roero region. North of the Langhe and Roero, find earthy and rustic versions of the variety (known here as “Spanna”) in Ghemme and Gattinara.