Nervi Gattinara 2002
Nestled in the foothills of Monterosa – Europe's second highest mountain – the estate is protected from northerly winds, ensuring sufficient precipitation and a steady yet warming breeze through the vines. With plenty of volcanic gravel and high clay content in the soil, Nervi's vineyards are unique in an Italian oenology. More than 100 years of experience making Gattinara wine at Nervi has taught them that only through long-term aging do we manage to transform Gattinara's high level of tannins and acidity into a well-balanced wine. As a result, in the cellars of Nervi they typically exceed the formal DOCG aging requirements by a year or two before releasing their wines to market. The Gattinara DOCG minimum aging requirement is three years of which two in wood. The Gattinara DOCG Riserva and single-vineyard minimum aging requirement is four years of which three in wood. Hence Luigi Nervi's motto: Nectar in tempore, meaning that patient aging in Nervi’s cellars will transform our Nebbiolo grapes into the prized elixir that made Roman gods immortal.
True to the area’s tradition, Nervi prunes and harvests by hand and make fine red wine using large oak casks for both fermentation and aging. Our chief oenologist Enrico Fileppo ensures adherence to tradition. After four years apprenticeship in Nervi's historic cellars, he joined as junior winemaker in 1984 and has stayed on ever since. In 2009, seeing that this historic gem was in need of some attention to restore it to peak performance after years of steady decline, Norwegian couple Erling and Katherine Astrup made the bold decision to purchase the estate. They started investing in infrastructure while carefully maintaining the old cellar, the traditional large Slavonian-oak barrels and the prime vineyards. At this point, aware of their need to get the word out about Nervi to the international community, they contacted their friend Roberto Conterno of Giacomo Conterno in Barolo, who without hesitation referred them to Gianluca Telloli of the Valle d’Aosta, formerly winemaker at Caves de Morgex. Gianluca visited the estate, quickly perceived the value of the vineyards and was equally impressed by the cellar, their longtime winemaker and the remarkable quality of the wines. His favorite story of that day recalls when Enrico Fileppo emerged from the back of the cellar with a mason jar containing the winery’s precious mother yeast culture, propagated since the 1950s from well before Enrico’s time and still today the secret to Nervi’s unique yet consistent style. From that moment on, Gianluca knew it was his destiny to help the Astrup family to communicate to the world the jewel that they had in their hands.
In honor of Nervi and Gattinara’s great legacy, the winery has produced a Methode Champenoise Rosé Spumante from Nebbiolo called the “Jefferson Cuvée”, which features his signature on its label an inspired by documents found on the property written by the 2nd President of the United States himself chronicling his visit to the region and his great appreciation for its wines.
Attracting the most glory, prestige and fame to the Piedmont region, Nebbiolo in all of its expressions—Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero, Ghemme and Gattinara—creates a complex wine, truly unique for its delicate qualities combined with strength and a great potential to improve over time.
But Nebbiolo isn’t all there is to red wine from Piedmont! Barbera is the most planted variety and historically most popular as a dependable, food-friendly, everyday wine.
Beyond these two, a surprising number of red varieties call Piedmont their home. Worth a try include Dolcetto for its bold concentration and aromas of spice cake. Other grapes to investigate include Freisa, Croatina, Brachetto, Grignolino and Pelaverga.