Wines of the Piedmont
To anyone interested in Italian wine the Nebbiolo grape is likely to conjure up immediately the names of the towns of Barolo and Barbaresco. But there are several other areas in the Northwest of Italy which produce Nebbiolo-based wines such as Gattinara, Ghemme and Lessona in the Northern Piedmont where the grape is sometime known as Spanna. The Almondo family use the highly adaptable Lampia clone to make their own Nebbiolo wine. Lighter in style than traditional Nebbiolo from Barolo, it is aged 10 months in lightly toasted barrels and then in large untoasted slavonian oak casks. Nebbiolo produces acidic, highly tannic wines which are characterised by the development of a so-called brick-red colour with age. The wines have scents of tar, roses, violets and leather among other aromas. Lighter in style than other fuller-bodied wines from this grape, this particular wine will be a very nice accompaniment to meat dishes of any type as well as poultry and pasta.
The Almondo family has been in Roero for some 600 years and have an enterprise producing internationally recognized wines made from Barbera, Arneis, Nebbiolo, Riesling and Brachetto. Valbianchèra is made from 100% Barbera, the third most widely-planted Italian red wine grape variety, from vines which are 80 years old. After fermentation, the wine spends 18 months in lightly toasted barrels. With a dark red colour, the wine has aromas of fresh red cherries, blackberries and blueberries. The lightly toasted oak barrels give more complexity adding hints of vanilla. Full on the palate with black fruits and spice the wine has, typical of Barbera, high levels of acid. The finish is long and complex. As one might expect with a red Italian wine, it will be an excellent accompaniment to lasagna, ravioli and risotto.
Not a grape seen every day of the week, Brachetto is a red Italian grape variety known largely from the northwestern region of Piemonte. It is specifically found within the provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Cuneo, the home of the Almondo family. Wine made from this grape is usually very aromatic often reminiscent of strawberries and is typically light and sweet on the palate. Fosso della Rosa, made from 100% Brachetto, not only fits this description well but is also frizzante or lightly sparkling. It is perfect for light summer drinking as it has only been partially fermented and therefore has an alcohol level of just 5%. Ideal party wine or for light desserts or just for sipping in the garden on a fine summer or autumn evening.
Another typically Piedmontese grape, Arneis is a white variety most commonly found in the province of Cuneo and specifically in the hilly Roero district, northwest of Alba well-known for its wines and for the production of peaches. Arneis produces aromatic, floral wines with hints of apricots and pears which are dry and medium to full in body. The Almondo family produce several wines from the Arneis grape including Vigne Sparse aged only in stainless steel vats. To see their vineyard and listen to Stefano go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-dZW3hAx4k&t=2s. This Bricco delle Ciliegie is aged in stainless steel vats for 10 months with some further aging in untoasted French oak barrels contributing to the complexity on the nose and palate. Will pair nicely with fish, white meat, pasta and cheese. The maker tells us that the wine can be kept for 6 or 7 years developing more complex aromas and flavours with age.