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A Tasty Spanna (or Nebbiolo) from Vallana

It’s time to catch up on some wine reviews that have been waiting for a while.  This is one we tasted back in September, and is worth telling you about.

2011 spannaNebbiolo takes different names in Northwest Italy.  You’re probably familiar with the varieties from Barolo and Barbaresco.  Yet right next door are other regions which use the grape, among them the Roero DOCG and the Gattinara and Ghemme DOCGs, where the grape is known as Spanna.  These can be excellent, in many cases slightly lighter versions than their famous counterparts but not always.  Here we have a young Spanna produced by Vallana, which is in the Colline Novaresi DOC, so a classified region just under the DOCG level.  It’s also right near Lago Maggiore, where we spent some quality time last year (read about that here), and as such has a sentimental value to us.  But how about the wine?  Let’s see:

Wine:  2011 Vallana Spanna         Winery Location:   Colline Novaresi DOC – Piemonte

Tasted By:  Neil & Cheri                 Date:   September 2014

Tasting Notes:  This is a rich, vibrant red color out of the bottle.  The nose shows leather, floral and slightly perfumed scents that augment the nice fruit, predominantly cherry.  In fact this wine just screams cherry at you.  It’s medium bodied with a nice structure and is still quite tannic.  Let it get some air time and it smooths out a little.  It’s going to come in under 13% alcohol, a testament to the more northern vineyards near the mountains and cooler climes.  The cherry flavors never go away and are pretty great.  This is a way to try a Nebbiolo without paying the $40-$50 it takes to get a quality Barolo or Barbarsco.  It’s not as powerful or complex as those can be, but it’s pretty damn good.  Will last a long time yet.

Price Point :  you can find this around $15 – $16, and it is a great value there.

Would We Buy It? : we will definitely buy again, and look for different vintages as well.  This wine should last many years.  It’s got great fruit and nice character.  Try something a little different.  Value List material without a doubt.

We have to say we always loved Nebbiolo, but after our trip to Piemonte in July it’s really hard to get the aroma and flavor profiles out of our heads.  Sort of like a song that gets stuck in your brain for a while.  We drank so many excellent wines, and everytime we open one it takes us right back.  If we had to pick one grape to drink for the rest of our lives it might be (probably would be) this one.

A votre sante!


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