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La Pianelle, Nebbiolo "Al Forte" Coste della Sesia Rosso, Alto Piemonte, Italy 2018

La Pianelle, Nebbiolo "Al Forte" Coste della Sesia Rosso, Alto Piemonte, Italy 2018

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70% Nebbiolo, 20% Croatina, 10% Vespolina

2016 was the first vintage for Le Pianelle's second red wine, after the Bramaterra. This is a fresh and fruity interpretation of Bramaterra, with a higher proportion of Croatina grapes.

Spontaneous fermentation, maceration and storage in French oak is followed by 12 month on the bottle.

The small estate of Le Pianelle in northern Piedmont is a partnership between Dieter Heuskel and Peter Dipoli, the owners of the estate, Cristiano Garella, an outstanding young local winemaker, and Andrea Zanetta, one of the best viticulturalists in the area.

Northern Piedmont used to be famous for its Nebbiolo-based wines, but in the last century, many of the vineyards fell into disuse. Heuskel and Dipoli started buying land in the Bramaterra appellation in 2004; after assembling more than fifty small parcels from more than forty owners they were finally able to realize their dream and plant vines, mostly Nebbiolo, in 2007-2008.

The hill where their vineyards are planted was famous a century ago for the quality of the wine grown there, and it will be famous again soon. The soils here, marine and volcanic sands ranging in color from yellow-orange to brown, are entirely different from those of the Barolo and Barbaresco areas; they are also acidic, whereas those of the Langhe (and most wine regions) are basic. Cristiano tells me that acidic soils change the uptake of minerals into the plants, and although the common thread of the Nebbiolo variety is clear, the wines are very different from Barolo and Barbaresco (less tannic, lower in alcohol, higher in acidity).

They are also generally more drinkable when young, too — not a bad thing. If you love Nebbiolo you should explore northern Piedmont.

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