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La Spinetta Pin Monferrato Rosso 1999
Eventually though the family’s vision was even grander. In 1985 La Spinetta made its first red wine, Barbera Cà di Pian. After this many great reds followed: In 1989 the Rivettis dedicated their red blend Pin to their father. From 1995 to 1998 they started to make their first Barbaresco Gallina, Barbarescos Starderi, Barbera d'Alba Gallina, Barbaresco Valeirano, and the Barbera d'Asti Superiore. In 2000 the family began making a Barolo and built a state of the art cellar, Barolo Campè.
In 2001 LA SPINETTA expanded over the borders of Piedmont and acquired 65 hectares of vineyards in Tuscany, between Pisa and Volterra to make three different 100% Sangiovese wines, as Sangiovese to us, is the true ambassador of the Tuscan terrain.
A prestigious and distinctive region for red wines in northwestern Italy, Piedmont is responsible for some of the country’s longest-lived and most sought-after wines. Set with a backdrop of the visually stunning Alps, its most prized vines are planted at higher altitudes on the warmer, south-facing slopes where sunlight exposure is maximized. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot, humid summers. Despite the rain shadow effect of the Alps, precipitation takes place year-round, and the reliable autumnal fog provides a cooling effect, which prolongs hang time and aids in the development of phenolic ripeness in its grapes.
Easy-going Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont, beloved for its trademark high acidity, low tannin, and juicy red fruit. However, the most prized variety is Nebbiolo, named for the region’s omnipresent fog (“nebbia” in Italian). This grape is responsible for the exalted wines of Barbaresco and Barolo, known for their ageability, firm tannins and hallmark aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo wines, despite their pale hue, pack a pleasing punch of flavor and structure, and the best examples can require about a decade’s wait before they become approachable. Barbaresco tends to be more elegant in style while Barolo is more powerful. Across the Tanaro River, the Roero region, and the farther north, the regions of Gattinara and Ghemme, also provide excellent quality Nebbiolo.
Dolcetto is Piedmont’s other important red grape, ready to drink within a couple of years of release. White wines are less important here but range from fruity and fresh to serious and able to take a few years in the cellar. Key varieties include Arneis, Cortese, Timorasso, Erbaluce and the sweet, charming Muscat, responsible for the brilliantly recognizable, Moscato d'Asti.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.