2016 Rovellotti, Nebbiolo “Valplazza” Colline Novaresi DOC, Alto Piedmonte, Italy.
Rovellotti is a wonderful small producer based in Ghemme in the Alto Piedmonte region of Northwestern Italy that specializes in Nebbiolo, or Spanna as it is also known as in this area with their top notch Chioso dei Pomi Ghemme DOCG being their signature bottling, but I also love this awesome value priced Valplazza Colline Novaresi Nebbiolo, especially in this outstanding 2016 vintage. Beautifully pure and mixing ripe red fruits and earthy/savory elements in classic Nebbiolo fashion on par with top Langhe Nebbiolo and even many normal Barolo bottlings with macerated cherry, damson plum and briar laced raspberry fruits, a touch of bacon, underbrush, lavender, anise and a hint of cedar. The bouquet is still youthfully subtle, but gains a pretty floral elegance with swirling in the glass and the ruby/brick red hue invites repeated sips and the wine keeps you interested from start to finish, it’s a joy to the senses, especially delicious with air and partnering wild mushrooms or meaty dishes. This Nebbiolo has a vintage and terroir character that performs way beyond its price and it opens up nicely with refined tannins and provides a joyous depth of flavors and mineral notes that will impress this grapes true enthusiasts and is great for these chilly winter nights.

The Colline Novaresi is a small area in the Alto Piedmonte that includes 26 tiny villages and municipalities not far from Milan and Lake Maggiiore with a collection of local varietals including Nebbiolo (aka Spanna), Uva Rara (aka Bonarda), Barbera, Vespolina, Croatina red grapes and Erbaluce, the ancient native white grape. The Colline Novaresi appellation was founded when a group of growers brandied together to form a DOC in 1994 with top Crus like Ghemme, Sizzano, Boca and Fara getting full DOCGs. The Rovellotti family has a long history in the Ghemme region going back to the 15th century and continues with Paolo and Antonello Rovellotti now running this small estate. They have been growing their grapes with sustainable and mostly organic methods since the 1980s and their Baraggiola Valplazza vineyard is planted almost exclusively to Nebbiolo and used exclusively in this Colline Novarese bottling. The Rovellotti Colline Novaresi saw a fermentation in stainless steel cuves and its aging in used large format Slavonian oak casks with the focus being on preserving transparency and clarity in this delightful 100% Nebbiolo. Drink this fabulous bargain over the next 3 to 5 years and be sure to keep an eye out for all of the Rovellotti wines, these are well worth the search.
($25 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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