You like rare, undiscovered, phenomenal?
Timorasso – the indigenous white grape born from the hills around the city of Tortona (the Colli Tortonesi DOC) in the southeastern-most corner of Piemonte, pushing like a thumb between the hills of Liguria to the south and Lombardia to the east.
What’s so fabulous about this grape (beyond its rarity, pulled from extinction in the late 1980’s), is its play of quite opposites, unique for a white wine – It’s elegant, high acid and minerally, while also being structured and weighty on the palate and it often offers tannins from its thick skins. Don’t expect a ton of fruit, but you might find candied lemon and honey-drizzled peach or quince and pear, add some honeysuckle, spice or almonds and beeswax. Age can produce smoky notes and petrol, similar to a fine Riesling. The complexity is what thrills here.
Some producers, like La Colombera, are proud to include the word “Derthona” on the label, the ancient name for the city of Tortona. Producers are banding together to petition “Derthona” as a new DOC dedicated exclusively to Timorasso from this region, so watch for that! A noble variety from the 13th century, yet a new darling of sommeliers- due to its rarity, the tension it successfully holds between opposites, and its ability to accompany a wide range of foods. Timorasso. Beautiful
The grapes from this La Colombera 2016 (yes, I still had one) were macerated on the skins for three hours, fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks, then aged on the lees for 10 months before bottling.
If you get your hands on this version, or any Timorasso, let me know what you think!