2018 Le Piane, Maggiorina, Vino Rosso, Alto Piedmonte, Italy.
The lovely and vigorous Nebbiolo based wines of Le Piane, a small artisan producer in the Boca zone of Northern Piedmonte, in the highest area of this famous wine growing region that is set between the Valle Sesia and Lake Orta, nestled in the foothills of the Lower Alps. The wines here, once a very remote, out of the way, place were chewy, rough and rustic, are now some of the most sought after and coveted wines in the world, with Le Piane being one of the stars, especially with their top Boca DOCG bottlings, which are exceptional and rival their more famous cousins in Barolo and Barbaresco. The 2018 Le Piane entry level Maggiorina Vino Rosso is wildly enjoyable, fresh and brings a pleasure filled array of flavors to the medium bodied palate with a touch of exotic fruit and spices from the unique blend of grapes in this stylish offering, which include the classic varietals of the Boca and Colline Novarese, Nebbiolo, which is called Spanna localy, Vespolina and Croatina. This vintage is bright and vividly floral in nature with layers of morello cherry, guava flesh, tart raspberry, strawberry and a touch of wild red peach fruits along with a range of spices, mineral, amaro herbal notes and anise. This red wine is extremely well balanced and the tannins melt away in the mouth with silky grace and the ruby, almost Pinot like hued Le Piane Maggiorina opens up to reveal liquid roses and its seductive delicacy makes it a real charmer.

The Boca area is underpinned by its special soils, which are glacial gravels over porphyry (rock) of ancient volcanic origin, that along with the Alpine cool nights make this terroir incredibly compelling and in recent times the these wines have taken on a much more serious significance with many wines getting world wide attention, with Le Piane being one of those in the spotlight and showing why these wines are must have efforts for Nebbiolo enthusiasts and savvy collectors. The Maggiorina Rosso, which is named after the traditional four cane goblet style vine training system that was historically employed here, is a true old school field blend made from about 40% Nebbiolo (Spanna), 40% Croatina, 5% Vespolina and at least 9 other local and rare varieties including some whites grapes that all inter-planted and co-fermented from vines that range from 40 to 100 years old. To keep things pure and vibrant this Le Piane Maggiorina was fermented and aged completely in stainless steel with a short maceration and primary fermentation that gently extracts the substance, with the skins in contact with the juice for just under a week, of this lighter style red wine. The Maggiorina Rosso is made to be enjoyed in its youth and is fabulous with food, from pasta to simple country foods, it is well made and crisply detailed, perfect for easy quaffing. While the more heavily Nebbiolo influenced Boca DOCG wines being the winery’s claim to fame, and of which, I wish I could afford to stock up on, I do really excited by this great value too and it is a great way to start your exploration of the intriguing Northern Piedmonte wines.
($22 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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