Nervi: Spanna, Gattinara, and more

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Spanna is the local name for Nebbiolo in Alto Piemonte. In practice a small amount of other grapes - Bonarda, Croatina, and Vespolina - were often blended with Spanna (and the same was true in Gattinara, Ghemme, and the other districts of the region). Those grapes enrich and soften  Nebbiolo, making the wines appear less structured than Barolo and Barbaresco, but they live as long.

The "Riserva del Titolare" can be translated as the "Owner's Reserve". What's implied is a selection that's given some extra aging, and therefore something that the Titolare considered special, but I cannot find any written definition of the term. I've tasted a couple of examples of the Riserva del Titolare, and remember them as being similar to Nervi Riserva, which show a bit more weight and depth in comparison with the straight Gattinara.

Nervi is one of the handful of producers in Gattinara who survived the challenges of economic disaster (as caused by war, depression, flight to the city, and a slump in demand). Nervi has been in the news lately because Roberto Conterno (Giacomo Conterno, in Barolo) purchased Nervi in 2018. That's a fine bit of publicity, but it doesn't change the fact that old vintages of Nervi are marvelous wines, on a par with the region's short list of the historically best producers (Antoniolo, Travaglini, Vallana). For the finest old Alto Piemonte wine, see, in particular, Nervi 1964, 1967, and 1974. Jamie Wolff

 

 

 

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