Louis/Dressner Treasures of Piedmont: Canonica and Gea

7/27/16 -

I’ve always had the sensation of stability at Canonica – the calm and contented atmosphere of the old family house, the Canonicas’ positive outlook and gentle good humor, and the consistently very high quality of the wine. But things change, and a great boom is under way! The house is expanding to add some more rooms to the B&B, and the wine has become wines! From last year there was a Langhe Nebbiolo, and now, a second Barolo, from Grinzane Cavour. Total production is up to about 8,000 bottles (compare to the giant production of next-door neighbor Bartolo Mascarello of 30,000 bottles), so even though there’s not a lot of the new wines, their addition is a significant development, and very welcome for us fans.

In person Fabio Gea is a kind of human whirlwind, buzzing with energy and eager to communicate his complicated philosophical and mystical ideas regarding the connections between nature and wine and humans. We tasted with him at a small fair in Asti and we were very impressed by his wines, but it was frankly a bit hard to concentrate on the wine over the monologue. A year later, it was great to re-taste the Gea wines in the calm of the Louis/Dressner office. They are distinctive, maybe even a little eccentric, but the wines show striking purity and focus.

In fact, striking might not be a strong enough adjective for stand-out wine from a zone that’s still largely producing technically correct but standard wines (we have another fine, new-to-us Barbaresco coming this fall – more on that later). The fact that much Barbaresco is still swamped with oak doesn’t help. There are very few producers that we’re excited about, and it’s great to discover some compelling wine, and to have an addition to our small range of naturally made and traditional style Barbaresco that includes Cascina delle Rose, Serafino Rivella and Roccalini. Kudos to Louis/Dressner (and McKenna) !  Jamie Wolff

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