Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Vigneti Massa Derthona (A Must Read)

 I decided to use the 'a must read' notion, when I come across something extraordinary. It will be rarely used. So far, I only applied it to The Standish Wine Company 2018 releases last March. Today is the second time.

The Timorasso grape was almost extinguished, but the Massa family continued to farm it through the generations. Now the planting has grown from 5ha to about 180ha near Tortona, 100km east of Alba, in the eastern corner of Piedmont. Major Barolo producers, such as Vietti and Podero have started projects there. Prior to phylloxera, the Timorasso production was larger than Nebbiolo. The labelling is similar; Timorasso is the grape, Derthona (after Tortona) is the wine, like Nebbiolo and Barolo.

My first exposure to this wine came over Christmas with the 2017 Vigneti Massa Derthona, after I was alerted to it by an article in Wine Spectator magazine. Now this wine is nothing you have tasted from Italy, or anywhere for that matter. It is the most unusual and intriguing wine.

The colour is deep golden. There are floral and yellow peach notes on the nose. The palate is very complex and paradox. There are fruity flavours, such as melon, yellow peach and baked apple. But there is also honey, beeswax and  phenolic oily flavours. The wine is quite rich without being heavy. The flavours are mouthcoating and full. But there is also decent acidity and minerality on the medium long finish. This wine has great structure and apparently 40 year old examples still drink well.  

I have to say I was slightly puzzled in the end, as there is so much happening in the glass. The closest I can think of is a comparison with a top level dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire. The Vietti family believes it can make a wine from this grape to rival White Hermitage. Derthona is certainly in a different league from the better known Arneis or Gavi. Finally a top white from Piedmont has arrived.

Score: 95/+++   


Phillip B said...

Sounds super interesting Thomas. Who's the distributor?

Alontin said...

It is Enoteca Sileno in Melbourne, Phillip

Alontin said...

This post clearly had an impact. A number of people, including in Switzerland, are planning to buy this wine. I should ask for commissions, haha.