We’re really pleased with the way the wines of La Spinetta’s Rivetti family have seen their Australian audience grow in the past couple of years. The Tuscan-grown Vermentino and Sangiovese have always been staples for many, as has the ever-reliable Langhe Nebbiolo.
A few other occasional wines have added interest, but there’s little doubt that the increased precision and detail of the cru Nebbiolo wines – the four Barbarescos and two Barolos – has driven a new level of respect and enjoyment.
It’s hard to put a finger on the exact point it happened, probably because it has been a gradual progression. With wines and sites of this quality, it’s always the subtleties that count – and being subtle, they don’t proclaim themselves loudly! These wines still have character and confidence (and we love that); but how wonderful with young Barolo and Barbaresco to be treated to a view of all the nuances to come as the wine opens in the glass, breathes in the decanter or matures in the cellar.
This, then, is a range that is set to impress and give immense pleasure.
2021 La Spinetta Vermentino $43
100% Vermentino grown on sandy soils of marine origin, rich with oceanic sediments in the municipality of Terricciola. Spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel, then aged on lees for three months. The wine is yellow straw with subtle green hues. The nose shows hints of citrus, almond and wildflowers. The palate is fresh and firm, with aromas of thyme and marjoram. The finish is long and mineral. – La Spinetta
2018 La Spinetta ‘Il Nero di Casanova Sangiovese $43
This wine comes from Tuscany’s Toscana Sangiovese IGT. It’s 100% Sangiovese from vineyards within the Terricciola municipality and Sezzana site in Casciana Terme. The vines sit at around 250 metres above sea level and have an average age of more than 20 years. Terricciola has sandy soils of marine origin and is rich with ocean sediments. Casciana Terme has rocky soil, strongly characterised by travertine. Fermentation and maceration take place in temperature-controlled stainless steel over 14-15 days, followed by malolactic fermentation in used (2nd and 3rd use) French oak barrels, for 12 months.
It’s safe to say that this wine is the most representative wine from the Casanova estate. Its name ‘Nero’ derives from “vino nero” which is what Tuscan red wines were traditionally called. On the nose it expresses hints of blackberries, blueberries, and ripe cherries with slight spicy notes. Upon tasting it displays a full body with a very immersive character. The tannins are velvety and in perfect harmony with extraordinary freshness. The excellent acidity makes for a wonderful finish. – La Spinetta
2020 La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo $59
It’s evident from the quality and character of La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo that this wine is a blend from Spinetta’s three Barbaresco vineyards in Neive. The grapes undergo maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 10 days. Malolactic fermentation in used French oak barrels, followed by 12 months of aging. Finally, the wine is rested in bottle for a further six months or so before release.
The wine is ruby red in the glass, with hints of freshly picked red and purple fruits. On the palate, fresh cherry and menthol notes are wrapped within a subtle but precise structure that gives a persistent finish. – La Spinetta
The 2020 Langhe Nebbiolo shows red and purple fruit such as cassis, sour cherry and raspberry. You can make out the hot vintage in the aromas of cough drop or Jolly Rancher that also make fleeting appearances. This vintage is especially easy and accessible.89 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
2019 La Spinetta Barbaresco Bordini $125
100% Nebbiolo from the Bordini site, 240m high in the village of Neive in the Barbaresco production zone. It’s a 4.5-hectare south-facing site at 240m elevation on calcareous soils, and the vines have an average age 40 years. The site is sustainably farmed with no use of chemical herbicides or pesticides. The fruit undergoes maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 14 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in seasoned French oak barrels, followed by 16 months of aging. It is then bottle-aged for about six months.
The wine is light ruby red and shows hints of wild strawberry, white pepper and licorice. The palate is fresh and enveloping, with hints of small red berries, nutmeg and marshmallow. The finish is gentle and persistent. – La Spinetta
La Spinetta’s 2019 Barbaresco Bordini opens to a wide and ample set of Nebbiolo aromas spanning from Morello cherry and plum, to dark earth and spicy licorice. This is a solid, mid-weight expression and a wine that ultimately lasts long on the palate thanks to the density and quality of its texture.94 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
2019 La Spinetta Barbaresco Gallina $320
The grapes hail from the first cru site La Spinetta purchased: Gallina. It features calcareous soil with bounteous chalk and limestone. The average age of the vines is 57 years. True to the La Spinetta philosophy, no pesticides or herbicides are used. The fruit undergoes maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 15 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in French oak barrels, of which 30% are new and the remaining used (2nd passage), followed by 20 months of aging. It is then bottle-aged for about seven months.
The wine is ruby red in colour, with hints of ripe red fruits, poppies and cloves. The palate has notes of ripe red berries and ginger jam. It has a broad and persistent finish, with a good presence of soft, yet strong tannins. – La Spinetta
Neive. Mid ruby. Deep and rich on the nose like Nebbiolo on steroids. Sweet, intense raspberry and cassis fruit palate that is more than a tad international and, it must be said, skilfully oaked. Firm, ripe, polished tannins that are undeniably beautifully rendered. It is impressive in every way, even too much so for me. Can’t wait to see how this ages.17.5/20 Walter Speller, jancisrobinson.com
2019 La Spinetta Barbaresco Starderi $320
Sourced from the Starderi cru site, 230m above sea level. Blue tinted calcareous marl with a small amount of clay. The southwest-facing vines have an average age of 55 years and are farmed sustainably, with no use of pesticides or herbicides. Maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 14 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in French oak barrels, of which 20% are new and the remaining are second use. The wine is matured in barrel for 20 months. It is then bottle-aged for about eight months before release.
The wine is light ruby red and shows hints of wild strawberries, pomegranate, cinnamon and petunias. It’s fresh and elegant on the palate, with notes of citrus and spice. Good presence of well-structured tannins. – La Spinetta
The La Spinetta 2019 Barbaresco Starderi Vürsù is perfumed and bright with dark rose and wild plum. The wine is solid and dense, with a pretty presentation of fruit that feels healthy and crunchy at the same time. The tannins are well integrated into this structured, full-bodied Barbaresco. The Starderi has shown a very consistent performance over the years. These releases from La Spinetta are all packaged in big, heavy glass bottles.95 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
2019 La Spinetta Barbaresco Valeirano $320
Located in the town of Treiso lies the smallest of La Spinetta’s vineyards, with a mere three hectares. Valeirano is one of the most important crus, with vines aged 55 years old on average at an elevation of 380m. Soils are clayey limestone marl, of marine origin, with some sand. The fruit undergoes maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 16 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in French oak barrels, in which 30% are new and the remaining used (2nd passage), followed by 20 months of aging. It is then bottle-aged for about eight months.
The wine is light ruby red in colour and the nose has hints of pink grapefruit, eucalyptus and white pepper. It has a rich and structured palate, with light notes of balsamic and spice. A broad and persistent finish, with well-structured, soft tannins. – La Spinetta
Packaged with the distinctive rhinoceros label (in blue), the La Spinetta 2019 Barbaresco Valeirano Vürsù has some ripeness and softness that is expressed with blackberry, plum and sweet spice. The wine is structured and full-bodied, but it also shows integrated tannins that support the wine in a firm but effortless manner.95 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
2018 La Spinetta Barolo Garretti $149
100% Nebbiolo from vines with an average age of 70 years, grown on a calcareous, south-facing slope in Grinzane Cavour at an elevation of 240m.
Sustainably farmed, with no use of pesticides or herbicides. The fruit undergoes maceration and alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled vats for an average period of 12 days. Malolactic conversion takes place in seasoned French oak barrels, followed by 22 months of aging. It is then bottle-aged for about six months.
The wine is ruby red and shows hints of ripe black cherries, licorice and violet. The palate is structured and full, with balsamic and floral notes. The finish is wide and gentle, with velvety and precise tannins. – La Spinetta
The La Spinetta 2018 Barolo Garretti is underlined by a dark and savory quality that appears throughout this experience. Blackberry and dried cherry give the wine solid grounding and a long-lasting taste profile. Those dark fruit tones are amply surrounded by spice, toasted hazelnut and black truffle. 93 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate June 2022
The 2018 Barolo Vigneto Garretti is a racy, exuberant wine ideal for drinking over the next handful of years. Juicy dark red/purplish berry fruit, lavender, white chocolate, rose petal, spice, tobacco, licorice and a kiss of new oak are front and centre. This is a strong showing from La Spinetta in a vintage that was quite challenging.92 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
2018 La Spinetta Barolo Campè $362
100% Nebbiolo from Campè the vineyard surrounding La Spinetta’s winery in Grinzane Cavour. It’s a 3.5ha south-facing site on calcareous soils, and the vines have an average age of about 70 years. It’s farmed sustainably, with no chemical herbicides or pesticides. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled vats and lasts an average of 10 days. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak (20% new), where the wine is aged for 24 months. It is bottled with no fining or filtration. It then rests in bottle for nine months before release four years after the harvest.
The wine is ruby red and shows hints of plum jam, star anise and rose petals. The palate is rich and powerful and shows elegant notes of peppermint and small red berries. It has a broad and intense finish, with harmonious yet bold tannins. – La Spinetta
Boasting an orange lion on the label meant to symbolize “Barolo, the king on wines,” the La Spinetta 2018 Barolo Campè Vürsù is bold, elegant and firm. In a vintage that often delivers understated wines, this expression feels especially intense, ripe and thickly layered. Dark fruit, plum, earth and spice rose from the bouquet. The tannins stand out in the 2018.94 points. Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
La Spinetta’s 2018 Barolo Campè possesses uncommon depth for the year. There’s terrific breadth in the dark red cherry/plum fruit. New leather, spice, tobacco, menthol, licorice and orange peel notes. Like all wines in 2018, the Campè is on the lighter side. Even so, proprietor Giorgio Rivetti and long-time winemaker Stefano Mazzetta clearly got the best out of the vintage.94 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
2021 La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti Bricco Quaglia $43
Italy’s first single-vineyard Moscato comes from vines with an average age of 40 years old, on the calcareous and sandy-soils of a south-facing slope at an elevation of 300m. Farmed sustainably, with no use of herbicides or pesticides.
The wine is yellow with slight green hues and shows hints of mandarin, white peach and sage. The palate is fresh and minerally, with hints of citrus fruit, aromatic herbs and green apple. – La Spinetta