Exploring the 'Rowdy' Wines of Vallana

An eight-decade vertical back to 1947 from this northern Piedmont estate puts its individuality on display
Exploring the 'Rowdy' Wines of Vallana
An eight-decade vertical of Spanna (Nebbiolo) revealed the singularity and longevity of Vallana's wines. (Bruce Sanderson)
Nov 17, 2016

Campi Raudii was the Latin name for the area that today includes Alto Piemonte. Settled by Celtic tribes, this northern Piedmont region's viticultural heritage is Etruscan. The cultural mix resulted in powerful red wines made more palatable by barrel aging, a stark contrast to the Roman style of aromatic, sweet whites in the Greek tradition, even after the Romans' decisive victory over the Celts there in 101 B.C.

Over centuries, the fortunes of Alto Piemonte wine production ebbed and flowed, with connections to Burgundy in the 17th century and Cluny monks cultivating vines in Ghemme a few centuries later. Vineyards came and went, but some managed to find their way into the Vallana family's hands, and by 1937 Antonio Vallana formed a wine company to expand the family business. Today, the estate consists of 10 acres, three-quarters in the Boca DOC, the remaining vines in the Gattinara DOC. Purchased grapes augment production.

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