The Wines of Alto Piemonte: an introduction
When we think about Nebbiolo we automatically imagine the greatest princes and kings like Barolo and Barbaresco who reigned in the Langa years ago and we almost completely forget about those wines of Alto Piemonte, a strip of land that stretches out from the Ossola valleys to the Serra of Ivrea.
Wines that really deserve a lot more recognition, considering the fact they are also part of the Nebbiolo family.
In North Piedmont, in the provinces of Novara and Vercelli, Nebbiolo takes its name “Spanna” from the local dialect of Novara, which may derive from “Spinus”: meaning a “wild thorn bush” in Latin. Its small fruits resemble grapes and they are also covered in rine, a clear film similar to that which forms on plums. Other wines that we can also connect to the wild thorn bush is Prünent, the Nebbiolo from the Ossola Valleys.
Alto Piemonte is such a natural oenological habitat for wine, mainly because of the implosion of a Supervolcano around Valsesia millions of years ago, giving the earth a rare geological composition. In fact, it’s mainly composed of rose porphyry, but with a covering of gravel on the surface. However, different types of soil can be found at less than ten meters from each other. It is indeed a very uncommon land, which has the effect of producing unmistakable characteristics in the wines, from a strong acidity to a definite full-bodied flavor, distinctive elements which allow these wines to last in time and keep their unique flavors for many years. There are altogether ten denominations that belong to the Alto Piemonte. Starting from the North we have the Valli Ossolane Doc in the province of Verbania. Then, traveling further towards the south, in the province of Novara, we can find Ghemme, Sizzano, Fara, Boca and Colline Novaresi, while in the province of Vercelli west of the river Sesia, there are Gattinara, Bramaterra, Lessona and the wider Coste della Sesia.
Each one of these denominations is unique in its own way, in terms of flavor and history, but that’s for another time!
In the next blog posts, we will dive into these different wines of Alto Piemonte so you’ll be able to discover our land, its products and the people behind them! 😉
– Stay tuned!