2020 La Mesma, Cortese, INDI “Con Le Bolle” Metodo Ancestrale, Piemonte, Italy.
Even though I’m pretty much over the whole Pet-Nat thing, this one from La Mesma, which is made from Cortese grapes grown in the famous Gavi appellation, is a tasty sparkler and is an exception to much of the hipster juice, with a nice yeasty, clean, varietal character and a distinctive nutty profile. The true Gavi bottlings at La Mesma are fantastic, so I made my decision to give this fizz a try much easier and I enjoyed the quaffable lean palate of lemon/lime, quince, green melon and tart pear fruits, along with the almond, bitter herb, fennel and salty stone accents. The mousse, typical of Pet-Nats is a little foamy and doesn’t bead as nicely as Champagne style bubblies, but it can be forgiven as this price point and as as good as it tastes, especially as it is not meant to be overly serious anyway. La Mesma, who’s cellar is in the small Piemonte local of Tassarolo, with winemaker Massimo Azzolini, is definitely a winery to look for, in particular the Gavi Riserva DOCG, Vigna Della Rovere Verde, which is a rockstar example of grape and place, it is also a ridiculous value too. The Gavi Riserva, traditionally made and packaged, but with a gold wax capsule really is an intriguing example of this region’s most acclaimed varietal, rivaling some white Burgundies for class and style in the glass. Azienda Agricola La Mesma was founded in 2003 and is an organic certified winery following strict holistic and sustainable practices, they are faithful stewards of their land and promote biodiversity to grow better grapes. A leader in the Slow Wine movement, La Mesma’s Gavi wines have been recognized by national critics as some of the top sustainable wines in Italy and they are committed to the best environmental practices. La Mesma is going as green as possible, even adding solar panels above the cellars to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as trying to be socially conscious, including their hiring and training of displaced peoples, that had to flee war zones and or famine.

The La Mesma winery, as mentioned previously, is a small family run business being owned and managed by three sisters, Paola, Francesca, and Anna Rosina that have turned a small plot of land into a very noteworthy estate making precise and soulful wines. Their importer Tanaro River were impressed by the quality of the wines here and note Paola and her two sisters were raised in the city of Genoa on the Ligurian coast, without any viticulture background, but that didn’t stop them from making a success of their project. The Rosina sisters’ journey to producing Gavi wines began about 20 years ago when they decided to turn their family country house, which is nestled in the peaceful hills on the border between Piemonte and Liguria into a tiny self contained estate winery. La Mesma, introduced to me by my Italian Sommelier and Sardinian winemaker friend Giuseppi Cossu, is located in famous the Piemonte region noted for little and zingy white wines made from the native Cortese grape. It was, as they explain, their mother that suggested to the sisters, that they plant a small vineyard here, thinking they could just make wine for family and friends. So what originally started out as a hobby vineyard would blossom into a viable, successful business with outstanding quality well beyond their imagination! While not born into a family of winegrowers, the Rosina sisters used their individual professional talents to good effect and their passion and hardworking or grit has served them well, creating winery that is now the pride of the region. The Rosina’s La Mesma estate is also the only producer to make the full range of Gavi wines, each of which are grown and made adhering to the full DOCG rules, including a still Gavi, Gavi Frizzante, Gavi Spumante Traditional Method and the mentioned Gavi Riserva, as well as this fun Pet-Nat. The La Mesma wines are not commonly found in the United States, but are well worth the time to search them out, it’s an estate you can feel good about supporting and I hope you do.
($22 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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