La Spinetta’s exciting debut with rare white Piedmont grape

“This is very good wine – with the same flavour silhouette as a top Chablis but with a far more exotic disposition! Made from the rarely seen Timorasso variety, by the great Giorgio Rivetti.” That’s what UK wine critic Matthew Jukes excitedly wrote about the latest addition to the La Spinetta range, now making its debut in Australia. It’s hardly new in that this ancient grape’s potential has long been known, and the Rivetti family’s vines are 25 years old.

It adds an alluring flourish to a La Spinetta offering of exceptional breadth and depth. The highlights, of course, are the cru Barbaresco and Barolo wines, led off by an excellent rendition of the affordable, “really beautiful” 2017 Bordini. In between, you’ll find perennial favourites such as the Tuscan Sangiovese and Langhe Nebbiolo and much more besides.

2019 La Spinetta Vermentino $43

100% Vermentino grown on soils of clay and sand on a south-exposed slope at 180m elevation. Spontaneous fermentation over three months in stainless steel. Aged on lees for five months, and bottled six months after harvest. Aromas of pear, pungent flowers and a herbaceous touch. Nuanced and wonderfully focused, with the energy of Vermentino driving the wine’s personality. Citrus, orchard fruit and floral notes are nicely delineated in this attractive, inviting white – La Spinetta

2019 La Spinetta Timorasso $54

100% Timorasso from vineyards in the towns of Montemarzino and Montegioco. Soils are marly, calcareous and clayey with some sand. The vines have an average of 25 years and are planted on southwest- and southeast-facing slopes at an elevation of 300 metres. Timorasso is an ancient vine indigenous to Piedmont. Delicate citrus and floral notes. On the palate it is savoury and generous, it finishes clean and persistent.

2016 La Spinetta ‘Il Nero Di Casanova’ Sangiovese $40

This wine comes from Tuscany’s Terre di Pisa Sangiovese DOC. 100% Sangiovese from the Casanova vineyard in Terricciola and Sezzana site in Casciana Terme. The vines are 21 years old with calcareous soils.
Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless steel over 9-10 days, followed by malolactic fermentation in medium-toast French oak barrels, for nine months. A further two months of aging in stainless steel vats before bottling. The wine is rested in bottle for another 6 months prior to release.

2017 La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo $54

The Langhe Nebbiolo grapes come from the estate-grown Starderi cru site in Neive, with calcareous soil of limestone and chalk. In line with La Spinetta’s biodynamic philosophy no pesticides or herbicides are used. Nestled in a small valley the wines made from the Starderi Vineyard show power and length. With an average vine age of 19 to 22 years, the Langhe Nebbiolo shows a significant resemblance to that of a Barolo.
With fermentation lasting for seven days in a temperature-controlled environment the wine is transferred to barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine sees 12 months in new and partly used French oak before being moved to stainless steel vats for two months prior to bottling. From here the wine ages in bottle for 12 months with no fining or filtration. The Langhe Nebbiolo is finally released three years after harvest.

2017 La Spinetta Barbaresco Bordini $125

100% Nebbiolo from the Bordini site, 270m high in the village of Neive in the Barbaresco production zone. It’s a four hectare south-facing site on calcareous soils, and the vines have an average age of between 26 and 29 years. The site is sustainably farmed with no use of chemical herbicides or pesticides. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled rotofermenters and lasts between seven and eight days. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in oak, where the wine is aged for between 20 and 22 months. From these medium toast French oak vessels (50% new and 50% one-year-old) it’s transferred to stainless steel vats for three months before bottling with no fining or filtration. It is then rested for a further 24 months in bottle before release.

Really beautiful 2017 Barbaresco with ripe cherry, orange peel and light chocolate at the end. It’s full-bodied, tight and focused with a long, flavorful finish. Give it some time to come together. Try after 2023.

94 points. James Suckling,

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