A Great Gattinara

I was being driven to the Gattinara vineyards in the Alpine foothills of northern Italy. I tried to talk to the grim faced driver. “He is a Russian,” the girl from Antonilolo said. I spoke to him in Russian and he nearly fainted! Was my Russian that shocking?

That was a few years ago. This week, my first wine is Vigneto San Francesco 1999, a Gattinara from Azienda Agricola Antoniolo. I had a case from my last visit there but have only three bottles left. I liked the wine when I first tasted it at the winery but back home, it seemed to have gone in to a dumb phase and I could not come to terms with it. But now, the wine is a different. It is still deep in colour but browning at the edges and has the most unforgettable nose of violets and a hint of tar. It is beautifully balanced and soft textured and has only a hint of northern Nebbiolo bitterness at the finish. I love it.

Lorella Antoniolo

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