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Gattinara DOCG

The Nebblio grape is also the basis for Gattinara. This red wine originates from around Gattinara in the province of Vercelli.

Gattinara has enjoyed great fame for centuries, despite its low levels of production. The wine's colour is dark granite red with an orange tinge. The bouquet is finer than that of either Barolo or Barbaresco and tends towards floral notes, such as violets. The taste is less pronounced than the two tough brethren from Piedmont but it remains very much a masculine wine that is full, well-balanced, and rich. In particular Gattinara has a characteristic bitter note in its finish that makes it a perfect companion for roast beef or game.

An ordinary Gattinara must be at least three years old and contains at least 12.5% alcohol, a Riserva is at least four years old and contains 13% alcohol. In the best vintage years (with ample sun) a Gattinara will leave a Barolo far behind. Drinking temperature 57.2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C).

 

BARBERA DOC

There are three types of wine produced with the Barbera grape. All three are ruby red when young and granite red when mature. This wine is not suitable for drinking when young because it is so high in tannin. With a few years ageing in the bottle the wine becomes more full-bodied and more amenable. Choose the slightly more alcoholic Superiore version which is more balanced. Barbera d'Alba is only made with Barbera grapes but Barbera d'Asti and Barbera del Monferrato are permitted a maximum of 15% Preisa, Grignolino, or Dolcetto. In contrast with the other two, Barbera del Monferrato sometimes has a slight sweetness and a little carbonic acid to tingle the tongue. Drinking temperature 55.4-59°F (13- 15°C).

 

DOLCETTO DOC

Of all the wines made with Dolcetto grapes the best known is the Alba, although it is not necessarily the best. Dolcetto d' Alba is reddish purple and has a pleasant fruity nose and full flavour with a slight bitterness that is reminiscent of bay leaves. It is possible with most Dolcetto wines to choose a Superiore version, that has slightly higher alcohol.

Drink this wine with any main dish of red meat, poultry, or roasted pork. Drinking temperature is 53.6-59°F (12- 15°C).

The range of Dolcetto wines are: Dolcetto d'Acqui,Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Asti, Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi, Dolcetto di Diano d' Alba, Dolcetto di Dogliani, and Dolcetto d'Ovada.

 

FREISA DOC

Preisa is a long established grape of Piedmont. The name coincidentally resembles the word fraise for strawberry (fragole in Italian) but this special red wine often tastes of strawberries and raspberries, with a hint too of roses. There are two Preisa DOC wines: those of Asti and the other from Chieri. Both are available as dry (secco) or sweet (amabile), still, lightly sparkling (frizzante), or naturally sparkling (spumante naturale) . This relic of the past must be tried if visiting Piedmont. Choose the better rather than cheaper varieties which are often unstable and continue to ferment in the bottle. Drinking temperature for dry Preisa is 50- 53.6°F (10- 12°C) , and 42.8-46.4°F (6- 8°C) for sweet and sparkling types.

 

GAVI/CORTESE DI GAVI DOC

These are a pair of the few white wines from Piedmont.  The popularity of Gavi or Cortese di Gavi surpasses its actual quality, although it is a good, fresh, delicate, and quite dry, available as frizzante and spumante with the Gavi label. These are excellent wines for drinking with fish. Drinking temperature 46.4-50°F (8- 10°C).

 

GHEMME DOC

This is one of the best red from northern Italy for quality and price. It does not achieve the standard of top Nebbiolo wines such as Barolo, Barbaresco, or Gattinara, but a good Ghemme costs significantly less and offers a great deal of pleasure in its drinking. The colour is deep granite red, the bouquet is intense and very pleasing and refined, with floral notes including violets. The wine is full of flavour, rounded, with a lightly bitterness in its finish.

A good Ghemme needs to mature for at least four years before being sold. You are unlikely to be disappointed if you buy a Ghemme. Drinking temperature 57.2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C).

 

MALVASIA DOC

Two DOC wines are made from Malvasia in Piedmont: Malvasia di Casorzo d'Asti and Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco. Although from different varieties of Malvasia, the wines are similar.

 Both sweet red wines have a fruity nose and taste and often possess a light tingle of carbonic acid. They are especially popular for their relatively low alcohol content of 11- 12%. Drink at 46.4- 50°F (8- 10°C) .

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