Nervi Conterno Gattinara 2016 Offer

I’m often asked who my favourite Barolo producer is. It’s a difficult question to answer; at the heart of things I’m a wine lover and see so many wines and expressions I love so to differentiate requires heavy qualifications. However, the more I visit Roberto Conterno at his famed estate, Giacomo Conterno, the more I feel he is on another level. His attention to detail in vineyard and cellar is something I cannot recall seeing anywhere else in 25 years of visiting the great addresses in Europe, Australasia and the US. Thoughtful doesn’t quite cover his obsessiveness about every detail to do with every single thing in the process of making wine.

That being the case, I was pretty excited to hear about his purchase of the historic Gattinara estate, Nervi. In and of itself it has been one of the greatest sources of Nebbiolo in Italy for generations. The area, north of Piemonte had fallen off the radar from the days when it covered over 40,000 hectares and was more revered than Burgundy! These days it covers just 800 hectares in total but there is a revival going on. In recent years there has been a rush back to these exceptional old vineyards to reinvigorate and reintroduce the wines to a new generation.

The Nervi family sold in 1991 to an Italian industrialist who then on sold to a Norwegian wine collectors. They continued to make exceptional wine and early on asked Roberto (a close friend) to assist them. When it came time to sell again, they felt it was important the winery go to a significant person and asked Roberto to purchase the vineyard. He told me, he wasn’t looking to buy a new estate but the calibre of the place was too good to pass up – 23 hectares with holdings in the best crus…sold! Since then he has made small changes in the cellars and equipped the estate with one of his bespoke bottling lines. I only mention the latter because it’s remarkable!

So, the 2016 Gattinara has just arrived and I have a limited amount to offer. It is a superb wine and holds the elegance and purity of Nervi wines but I reckon there is already a discernible sign of the great man’s influence via a real precision and wonderful detail in the wine that I haven’t seen previously. The 2016 is a great place to start if you haven’t seen Gattinara before and in fact, if you can’t afford a Giacomo Conterno Barolo, here is a window on the style at a relatively affordable price albeit with very evident structural and flavour spectrum differences.

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