2017 Boniperti ‘Favolalunga’ Vespolina
Region: Alto Piemonte > Colline Novaresi > Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: organic farming, clay, sand and gravel soils, from just .8 hectare of vines, hand picked, destemmed, fermentation in steel barrels, soaking for about 10 days. Malolactic fermentation in steel. Rested for 6 months in barrels before bottling, rested 4 months in bottle before release. Lightly filtered (vegan) and bottled with 36 ppm SO2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Cristiano Garella
Cristiano Garella is known as the boy wonder of the Alto Piemonte. A region that was forgotten after World War II – literally, vineyard plantings are just 5-10% of what they used to be - it is just now coming back into fashion and drawing the interest of the global wine community. Cristiano, who grew up in the area, became fascinated as a kid with the old, un-farmed vineyards he would stumble across while walking his dog. Flash forward to 2020, by which time he had made wine from nearly all of the DOCs in the area and worked with all of the indigenous varieties, from Croatina to Uva Rara – a remarkable feat considering he is barely 30. Vespolina is another indigenous variety and usually used as a blending grape but Cristiano is adept at allowing it to shine on its own. His winemaking is simple and designed to emphasize freshness and drinkability. On the nose, it’s all about the wildflowers and Vespolina’s trademark white pepper, and there’s a subtle tongue-tickling effervescence upon first sip. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, but there is a tannic edge and tarry undercurrent (it’s a relative of nebbiolo, after all) that make it an alluring partner for food. Normally considered too rustic on its own, in Cristiano’s hands Vespolina becomes a thing of grace and beauty. While not quite chillable, it's about as light and fresh as you can get from Piemonte -- and you can certainly drink a lot of it, especially with food - pull this out to pair with anything from grilled fish to Bolognese!