2004 Vallana Gattinara Colline Novaresi

SKU #1132184

When I first got into this business (farther back than I want to think about), I was exposed to some 'old' wines from the 1950s and 1960s with the appellation of 'Spanna'. The rustic labels foretold the character of the wine. These wines had soul, and the flavors that poured out of them were pure, powerful, and made me feel at home. Antonio Vallana's great-grandson, Francis Fogarty (yes, he's Italian!) carries on the family business now. This is 100% Nebbiolo, impressive in structure and texture. I recommend using a Burgundy glass and decanting, not to mention (as is the case with almost all Italian wines) serving it with food to really let the wine sing. Try it with something earthy like porcini mushroom risotto. Vallana Spanna wines from the 1950s and 1960s are still drinking well today! (Greg St. Clair, K&L Italian Buyer)

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Price: $29.99
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By: Chris Miller | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/30/2013 | Send Email
I would strongly opine that the Alto Piemonte is one of the most exciting up and coming regions in all of Europe. It's really not up and coming, but experiencing a rebirth of sorts. In fact, this was one of the most important areas for fine wine production in all of (soon to be) Italy in the late 1800's. There were upwards of 150,000 hectares of vines planted here then. Today? Not much more than a thousand. Wow, hard to fathom. But that's changing, and I can forsee a day when this area will be right up there with Barolo, Montalcino and Taurasi for the top notch red wine production of Italy. That said, I was trying to boycott Gattinara as I got a 40 Euro parking ticket there earlier this year (turned out to be on expensive cappucino!) but this wine just rocked my world. Like old school Barolo, but not dried out and tannic. Lots of woodsy spice and cherry liquor, with hints of anise and menthol, the body is tight but fleshy, with firm, polished tannins. Hitting it's stride right about now but could spend a few more years in the bottle and get even more interesting. A STEAL at $29.99. Please give it a try. CM

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/27/2013 | Send Email
Out of 30+ Italian wines recently tasted (St. Clair was not messing around, this was a good line-up), this was far and away my favorite. Classic, alpine, crisp, floral and deceptively structured Nebbiolo. It's drinking well as it will continue to do for some time. Awesome wine.

By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/26/2013 | Send Email
Good lord this is spectacular for the price. Still in need of some aging or a nice long decant. Brett, funk, spice earth, power. This compares up to to Barolo/Barb at at least $60. What a steal!!!

Additional Information:



- Tar and roses are the two descriptors most associated with this red grape grown, almost solely, in Italy's Piedmont, where it has achieved fame under the guises of the incredibly and age-worthy wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Characterized by chewy tannins, high acidity, high-tone cherry and raspberry fruit and truffle aromas and flavors, Nebbiolo has rightfully earned its reputation. Sadly the late-ripening varietal is quite delicate and is prone to disease as well as damage by hail that frequently pelts the region. Outside of Barolo and Barbaresco, Nebbiolo is grown in the DOCs of Gattinara, Spanna and Ghemme. The Nebbiolos of the Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC in the southeastern part of Piedmont are generally lighter and more immediately approachable versions of the grape, aged for less time than Barolo and Barbaresco, which also makes them less expensive. Langhe Nebbiolos are generally made from declassified fruit from the aforementioned regions of Barolo, Barbaresco and Nebbiolo d'Alba.


- Once named Enotria for its abundant vineyards, Italy (thanks to the ancient Greeks and Romans) has had an enormous impact on the wine world. From the shores of Italy, the Romans brought grapes and their winemaking techniques to North Africa, Spain and Portugal, Germany, France, the Danube Valley, the Middle East and even England. Modern Italy, which didn't actually exist as a country until the 1870s, once produced mainly simple, everyday wine. It wasn't until the 1970s that Italy began the change toward quality. The 1980s showed incredible efforts and a lot of experimentation. The 1990s marked the real jump in consistent quality, including excellence in many Region that had been indistinct for ages. The entire Italian peninsula is seeing a winemaking revolution and is now one of the most exciting wine Region in the world. For our entire Italian wine selection, click here. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of Italy.


- Piedmont is in the Northwestern region of Italy, bordering France and Switzerland. Piedmont is predominantly a plain where the water flows from the Swiss and French Alps to form the headwaters of the Po river. The major wine producing areas are in the southern portion of the region in the hills known as the "Langhe". Here the people speak a dialect that is 1/3 French and 2/3 Italian that portrays their historical roots. Their cuisine is one of the most creative and interesting in Italy. Nebbiolo is the King grape here, producing Barolo and Barbaresco. In addition, the Barbera and Dolcetto are the workhorse grapes that produce the largest quantity of wine. Piedmont is predominantly a red wine producing area. There are a few whites made in Piedmont, and the Moscato grape produces a large volume of sweet, semi-sweet and sparkling wines as well.