Davide Carlone Colline Novaresi DOC Vespolina 2020, Piedmont, Italy

Davide Carlone is one of the most serious and important winegrowers in Piedmont. Based in Boca, a small appellation in Alto Piemonte, at the foothills of the Italian Alps, Davide’s focus is on Nebbiolo and the local supporting cast, Croatina (for which he may be the strongest advocate), Vespolina, and the cantina’s newest comer, Erbaluce. In the cellar, he works traditionally with larger old oak botti and extended aging for the top wines in the range and is well-known in the region for his extreme attention to detail in the vineyards; he stands as a model for the surrounding appellations. Vespolina is a fascinating grape with a bright future. One of the genetic parents of Nebbiolo, Vespolina is a better performer in drier, well-drained soils (the sand and gravel of Boca are its friends), has bright acidity, usually 1-2g/L higher than Nebbiolo, a lower pH, and a beautifully original and noble aroma of white pepper (due to the rotundone molecule, the same found in Syrah or Grüner Veltliner, and in white and black pepper). When Vespolina is ready for picking the seeds are normally green, so it’s typical to have some green tannins and bitterness in the back palate. Davide prefers longer fermentations to allow the wine to move past its primary fruitiness which also helps the tannins to polymerize further with the extended skin and seed time in contact with more oxygen through the extended fermentation/maceration times. Vespolina is aged only in stainless steel, so Davide works against the tannins using an extended fermentation because the stainless steel offers very little assistance with tannin polymerization (softening).