Recommendation: The Villana Gattinara was OUTSTANDING, but they all get a good recommendation.
Winery/Producer: Antonio Vallana; Maggiora, Italy.
Grape Variety: Nebbiolo.
Geographic Region, Appellation: Piedmont, Italy.
Vintage: 2006 and 2012.
Price: Campi Raudii $14.40; Spanna $17.10 and Gattinara $27.00 (with a 10% mixed case discount)
Purchased From: The Caviste Wine Shop; Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Paired With: Pizza with ground beef, double mushrooms, tomato sauce and cheese; it was a GREAT pairing with all three wines.
He said: When Russ Anderson, owner of the Caviste Wine Shop told me he had three different bottles of Nebbiolo that were from the same producer, but different areas and the three of them would make an interesting blind tasting, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to put them in our cellar in preparation for a future tasting. Then when our friends, who also love wine, asked us to join them for pizza the stage was set for a GREAT blind tasting.
All three were only opened 20-30 minutes before drinking. They were all clear ruby red with tints of purple, but the Gattinara was clearly much darker in color and verged on being opaque. Both the Campi Raudii and Spanna had whiffs of red fruit and spice aromas, but the Gattinara had abundant leather, damp earth, mushroom and fruit aromas. On the palate the difference was considerably more pronounced: the Campi Raudii was full of fruity cherry flavor with light young tannins; the Spanna had a slightly richer cherry and plum fruit taste, the tannins were softer and the finish long and flavorful; the Gattinara however, was a completely different wine, there were layers of complexity and a depth that was simply OUTSTANDING. The taste was rich with ripe cherry and plum, it finished with spice and mineral you could chew and had smooth tannins and acidity that were in perfect harmony. It should be noted that all the wines improved in the glass and we should have opened them a couple of hours before drinking.
In the end I think the Gattinara was fantastic and the best value for the price…it was clearly an extraordinary wine, but to put it in perspective all three were VERY good Nebbiolo’s at VERY reasonable prices and I would recommend all three. And, to underline this recommendation if we only had the Campi Raudii I would say it was a terrific bargain Nebbiolo at $14!!!
She said: I have always been partial to drinking beer with pizza so I was delighted to find wine that was even better. From the very first sniff and taste of our three wines I knew I was in love. The Campi Raudii took a little time to develop an aroma but by the second time I picked up the glass the mild but fragrant bouquet teased my nostrils. The Gattinara had more aroma and earlier with the Spanna in between. All three wines were big bodied and flavorful but the Gattinara had layers of flavors while the Campi Raudii the least. The Campi Raudii was at times a bit rough but delicious all the same. All three wines had an abundance of tannins which I especially enjoyed. All three went well with pizza which featured a double mushrooms, mozzarella and ground beef. Although I liked the Gattinara the most because of the complex layers of flavor, I did not think it was enough different from the Spanna to justify the difference in price. The Spanna, on the other hand, was enough better than the Campi Raudii to be worth the extra money. I would say the Spanna was the best value that is to say, the biggest bang for your buck and I would buy it again in a flash.
Comments: Our friends both liked the Spanna best, and immediately commented that it was smoother than the Campi raudii and the Gattinara was not worth the extra price. This is a good example of how tastes vary and why we all like different wines best. It should also be noted that our friends pizza had lots of hot peppers on it.
See also our review of Vallana Piemonte Barbera 2014
Alcohol: Campi raudii and Spanna 12.5%; Gattinara 13%.
Bar code: NA
Imported by: Piedmont Wine Imports; Durham, North Carolina.