The Charming Potential of Colli Tortonesi

I’m really excited to start my blog again, and within the framing of my new website!

It’s been a while (two years, ahem … :/ ) since I’ve been super active writing for my blog—and the time away has been quite a journey in more ways than one. While I haven’t captured it through stories here, you will be able to tell a bit by investigating my new pages. I’ve been publishing stories elsewhere, ramping up my marketing services, dedicating a ton of time to and charging steadfastly to the acquisition of my Diploma from the WSET.

Given the timing and new directions I am going, I’ve also decided to separate out the stream of former posts into their own Italian Archives category. I will, from here forward, of course continue to write about Italian wine, but also add other categories! Explore these using the BLOG menu above.

But enough about all of that! We are here in the ‘ol enotecaMarcella blog with new adventures on our horizon. There is more to come there as I’ve a lot of content queued up!

Sunset in “the hills of Tortona,” Colli Tortonesi, October 2012

I thought the perfect segue from aforesaid to succeeding would be a shout-out to two absolutely amazing wines that I acquired back in the Archives’ heyday, but just created the chance to revisit!

(Step into to my “cellar”—organized rows of milk crates full of bottles in my dark, cool closet plus a fridge for 50 bottles! It’s a treasure chest of stories and the only place in my house that I allow dust to collect …)

With all of that said, I would like to introduce Walter Massa’s Derthona 2010 and Monleale 2007—two wines which are available in the US in some markets, but these vintages, certainly scarce if findable! Though a quick search at wine-searcher should prove fairly rewarding if you aren’t picky about year.

Derthona 2010, tasted October 2018
Derthona 2010, tasted October 2018

Vigneti Massa Derthona 2010. Timorasso 100%. Colli Tortonesi DOC.

Medium gold in color with aromas of white peach, fresh fennel and green banana (a positive for me), beeswax, honey and dried apricot; the palate is dry with a medium acidity, full body and a smooth and complex finish: toasted nut, beeswax, tropical fruit and a lingering minerality. ★★★

Timorasso is a rare Piemontese white grape gaining a lot of popularity at the moment, which warms my heart since I’ve been writing about it now for about seven years. To learn more about its potential to age, read my account of the Claudio Mariotto 1999-2010 vertical I tasted through in 2012 (—back when the 2010 was the youngest one in the bunch! 😮 )

Monleale 2007, tasted October 2018

Vigneti Massa Monleale 2007. Barbera 100%. Colli Tortonesi DOC.

… want to age some Barbera? Look no further! I have the one for you! And their importer agrees wholeheartedly—check it! I was so excited after I popped this cork! It was everything I wanted it to be—and a little mind bending, as my experiences with the maestro typically prove to be! Imagine all of the concentration of fruit and aromatics possible in Barbera—without being overripe, oaky, or too high in alcohol and with just “some time!”

Aromas of wild raspberry and blackberries, forest floor, fresh oregano, mint, smoke, iron; on the palate, intensely rich and concentrated fruit. This wine captures the pure essence of Barbera and finishes fresh, intense, long and full. ★★★

These two gems are not just Italian but also sustainably produced and Massa‘s Timorasso is made in the traditional skin-contact method. The latter two categories of wines will be the subject of quite a bit more exploration, not only here in the blog, but among my other projects.


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† A style made by pressing white grapes and leaving the skins in contact with the juice to give color, preserve phenols and add structure. Normally this is how red wines are made and typically for white wine making, the skins are removed from the juice before the fermentation process. The skin-contact method often results in wines with a pleasant salmon or peach-flesh hue, which are called “orange wines.” Pinot grigio, Ribolla gialla and even Arneis also do well made with this skin-contact method, among a few others .

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