Can a river make wine?
Let’s follow the course of the river Sesia, you will see its waters flowing clear and fast along an easy path, you will see those foaming waters that shape the banks of the sweet lands of Novara and Vercelli.
The Sesia, born from the stormy Monte Rosa is the longest river in Piedmont, and today from its banks it starts and ends our journey to discover those majestic wines of the North emerged from the water and torn from the sea.
The bed of the river Sesia creates a sort of frame in which stand out those areas rich in iron and magnesium, characterized by the enchanting morphology moulded by the melting of ancient alpine glaciers and the course of the rivers. In the Novara area, among the green hills that meet the plain, along with the east coast of the river, there are four important appellations from North to South: Colline Novaresi, Fara, Sizzano and Ghemme.
Colline Novaresi is a DOC recognized in 1994 and includes many types of wine, from Nebbiolo to Vespolina, from Croatina up to even white wines. Its area of production is wide and its wines are fresh and fragrant but if they rest for a few years they can give wonderful sensations.
The wines “Fara” were instead much appreciated by abbots, bishops and lords but we cannot certainly say that Nebbiolo plays the role of the first actor in these wines; it is in fact accompanied by the good presence of Vespolina and Rara Grapes, and these are mostly wines to be tasted immediately.
On the other hand, The Sizzano is a wine with deep historical roots, already loved by Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour who compared the bouquet to that of the famous Burgundy. It is said that he liked to combine it with the “financier”, a poor and typical dish of Piedmont, born from the reuse of the discarded parts during the transformation of the winged cockerels into capons and some slaughtering scraps of the cattle. Sizzano is a wine in which Nebbiolo returns triumphant, a wine with elegant aromas, and sinuous sip, in which the flavour remains a dominant feature.
We now arrive at Ghemme, where the historic Piedmont wine is produced, the Ghemme DOCG. In this city, once called Agamium, the story tells that the municipal symbol was represented by a bunch of grapes and a bunch of wheat spikes, the wine produced here was considered the gala dinner wine and today its scents inebriate us, by emitting notes of purple and pink while during the sip, all those characteristics that take us straight back to the territory and its morphology are released, by becoming ironic and snappy. To really understand those wines that are located to the extreme west of Piedmont, we have to cross the River Sesia and move to the province of Biella, where the vines of Coste della Sesia Doc and Lessona Doc lie and where the marine sediments occupy a substantial tongue of the earth.
In the last post, we talked about the Coste della Sesia DOC, another broad appellation. It is a wine that is in the middle between the province of Biella and that of Vercelli, it’s between the hell of the volcano and sediment left by the waters of the sea, it is a wine that is born between landscapes of inestimable value, whose flavour will amaze you from the first sip. The Lessona even more to the West is the wine with which Quintino Sella, illustrious statesman and minister, toasted the first government of a united Italy. He did not choose the Champagne but opted for this wine almost 100% Nebbiolo, a wine which can be defined as rare, with incredible freshness and elegance.
This concludes part of our journey through the lands of the wines of Alto Piemonte, among those vineyards perched on sediments left by the sea and on volcanic rocks, those territories in which one of the most important “prince” of Langhe, a great producer of Barolo, like Roberto Conterno from the Giacomo Conterno company, decided to invest. That of Conterno will be a great challenge and we hope will bring even higher our beautiful expressions of Nebbiolo.
– Until next time, With Love