2019 Tiziano Mazzoni, Ghemme DOCG
2019 Tiziano Mazzoni, Ghemme DOCG

2019 Tiziano Mazzoni, Ghemme DOCG

Piedmont, Italy 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$44.00

2019 Tiziano Mazzoni, Ghemme DOCG

Since SommSelect’s founding a decade ago, we’ve found ourselves returning to certain regions, and producers within those regions, again and again. The northern part of Italy’s Piedmont region is now well-trod hunting ground for us (and just about any other sommelier with a pulse), because it has become the ultimate source of value-priced wine from the noble Nebbiolo grape. The DOCG zone of Ghemme has been especially rich in treasure, and the wines of Tiziano Mazzoni are surely house favorites around here. Since first being introduced to Mazzoni during our formative years as a company, we’ve offered their wines time and again, including today’s flagship bottling from the estate. And while we’ve said this before, it merits repeating: This wine’s combination of finesse, class, and value is astounding, and it is not about delivering “Barolo performance at a lower price.” This is a distinct expression of Nebbiolo that stands on its own merits—the value is a huge bonus—and it’s a must-have for anyone who loves this grape and place.

In the Alto Piemonte, the Nebbiolo grape exhibits a slightly gentler personality compared to its Barolo and Barbaresco cousins. Ghemme is one of the wine appellations found clustered along the Sesia River north of the city of Novara, and, like all the growing zones up here, it is minuscule (there are fewer than 100 hectares of vineyards in the entire appellation). Tiziano Mazzoni is a modern-day “back-to-the-lander” who acquired a small assortment of Ghemme vineyards in 1999, and his wines are evidence of the ongoing revival underway in Ghemme, Gattinara, Lessona, and other historic appellations of Northern Piedmont. 

The Alto Piemonte was once the commercial capital of Piedmontese wine—much more significant than Barolo and Barbaresco—but in the modern era, it’s a shadow of its former self. The Ghemme appellation, for example, only has about 20 commercial producers making wine from just 80 or so hectares of registered vineyards. After the second World War, Northern Piedmont rapidly industrialized, prompting many farmers—including Tiziano’s father, who went to work at a plumbing-fixtures factory—to mostly abandon their vineyards.

Mazzoni’s small winery is in the hamlet of Cavaglio d’Agogna, in the hills east of Ghemme, where his family has roots dating to the 14th century. He decided, at the age of 40, to go into winemaking, and has since acquired 4.5 hectares of vineyards in and around his home village, from which he produces about 1,200 cases of wine a year. He is farming organically (non-certified) and crafting his wines in the same style as his favorite ‘traditional’ Barolos, which inspired him to get into wine in the first place: He favors 100% Nebbiolo wines (even though the Ghemme and Colline Novaresi appellations allow for blending) aged in larger-sized, used oak barrels.

Mazzoni’s “dei Mazzoni” is a single-vineyard bottling, sourced from the first parcel Tiziano acquired in the zone. Grapes for this 2019 were completely destemmed and fermented on indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks; the wine was aged for 22 months in two- and three-year-old French oak casks of 15-hectoliter capacity. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered, after which it spent nine months aging in bottle before it was released.

In the glass, it’s a deep garnet-red with pink and orange reflections, with heady aromas of red cherry, plum, rose petals, blood orange, pink peppercorns, tobacco, black tea, and wild herbs. Medium-bodied and tautly structured, it nevertheless has less alcohol and a more finely grained tannic component than the typical Barolo. Its red fruit character and somewhat softer edges (by Nebbiolo standards, anyway) lend it a kinship to Burgundian Pinot Noir, and in the same way that seemingly delicate Burgundies can age for decades, this Ghemme will certainly reward cellaring. It should continue to drink nicely through 2030, which is not to say you shouldn’t enjoy some now: Decant it 30-45 minutes before serving at 60-65 degrees in Burgundy stems and serve it with a truffle-stuffed roast chicken. The value-for-dollar here is simply impossible to beat. Enjoy it, and celebrate it!

2019 Tiziano Mazzoni, Ghemme DOCG

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