2016 Colombera & Garella Bramaterra - Cascina Cottignano
Regular price $45.00
We sell and drink a lot of nebbiolo, much of it from the Langhe in southern Piemonte - most notably Barolo and Barbaresco. But Alto Piemonte, an hour and a half north of the Langhe and in the foothills of the Alps, was historically an equally important zone for nebbiolo. In the past 20 years the Alto Piemonte has launched a remarkable wine renaissance, and with climate change bearing down on growers farther south, northern Piemonte’s cooler nights have became a decided asset in producing fresher, lower-alcohol nebbiolo-based wines that retain that variety’s signature complexity and age-worthiness. There are seven specific DOCs or appellations, more or less corresponding to Barolo and Barbaresco in the Langhe. The most important today are Gattinara, Ghemme, Bramaterra, and Boca.
Colombera & Garella is the collaboration of Cristiano Garella, the leader of the Alto Piemontese renaissance, with his long-time friend Giacomo Colombera and Giacomo’s father, Carlo, in Bramaterra. The tradition in Bramaterra is Nebbiolo-prominent blends, in this case 80% nebbiolo, 10% vespolina, and 10% croatina. This wine comes from the organically-farmed home vineyard (Cascina Cottignano), which has iron-rich, reddish-brown, sandy volcanic soils. After 2-3 weeks of indigenous fermentation in concrete, the wine ages for two years in 6200-liter Slavonian oak botti. Like all of Colombera & Garella’s wines, this one is elegant, fresh, and unmanipulated, with supple tannins and perfect balance - and only 13% alcohol. Drink it with braised or grilled meat or mushroom stew. The wine is drinking really well now, but it will age gracefully for another 5-10 years.
If you want to know more about the wines of Alto Piemonte, listen to Levi Dalton's interview with Cristiano Garella (1 hour and 15 minutes). It's an informative, detailed, and fascinating treatise on the history and current reality of the area, including but by no means limited to Colombera & Garella.