Log In Sign Up

Francesco Brigatti, Ghemme “Oltre il Bosco”Piedmont, Italy 2015 (750mL)

Sold Out  |  $42.00

Free shipping on any 6 bottles!

The Daily Offer

Francesco Brigatti, Ghemme “Oltre il Bosco” Piedmont, Italy 2015 (750mL)

Fruit
Earth
Body
Tannin
Acid
Alcohol

Although the name recognition of appellations like Ghemme has grown exponentially, its surface area has not. Sure, we’ll see a new label in the US here and there, but for the most part, this is a very small DOC, with a very short list of producers, with an ever-growing list of Nebbiolo fanatics lining up to get their hands on a few bottles. The assorted wine appellations of the “Alto Piemonte” (“Upper Piedmont”) are now spoken of in the same reverential terms as Barolo and Barbaresco, and their promise of a more finessed breed of Nebbiolo wine has even exerted its gravitational pull on some Barolo producers—like Roberto Conterno of Giacomo Conterno, who in 2018 purchased the historic Nervi winery in Gattinara. Ghemme and Gattinara are both designated as DOCG-level appellations, considered as historically important as Barolo and Barbaresco, and in today’s 2015 Ghemme from Francesco Brigatti we see why:


It is 100% Nebbiolo from the celebrated 2015 vintage, aged two years in large casks and delivering all the soulful complexity and age-worthy structured one could hope for from this place and grape. The same level of refinement and purity would cost you double in Barolo/Barbaresco, but I don’t think I’ll be making such proclamations for much longer. The laws of supply and demand suggest that a wine as fine and rare as Brigatti’s “Oltre il Bosco” is bound to jump up in price. So, especially considering the vintage, I’m suggesting that some hoarding is in order. It’s an investment that’ll pay off handsomely, especially if your intention is to drink what you’ve bought both now and 10+ years down the line!



We’ve featured enough “Alto Piemonte” wine that a re-orientation may not be necessary, but then again, it’s always helpful to remind everyone that the Alto Piemonte—the area north of the town of Novara, including Nebbiolo-focused appellations like Ghemme, Gattinara, Lessona, Boca, and several others—was once the commercial capital of Piedmontese winemaking. The ravages of phylloxera, combined with the heavy industrialization of Northern Piedmont after the two World Wars, decimated the region’s wine culture to the point where many of these regions contain more abandoned vineyards than productive ones. Depending on the source, you’ll see the Ghemme DOCG’s total vineyard area estimated at 50-80 hectares (120-200 acres), which is less productive capacity than many single estates in other regions.


Francesco Brigatti’s story is one you hear often in regions like Ghemme—that of a revival. His grandfather farmed grapes, grain, fruit trees, and kept a few animals, but eventually turned almost exclusively to viticulture. His son, Luciano, picked up the wine torch in the 1950s, leaving a job as an accountant to focus on the family farm. Third-generation Francesco Brigatti studied agronomy at the University of Turin, where he remained for a few years doing clonal research on grapevines, but he, too, returned to the family estate and its six hectares of vineyards. Production at Brigatti is tiny—about 30,000 bottles per year.


Ghemme is classified as a DOCG—the “G” standing for garantita, or guaranteed—which is the highest “quality indicator” in the Italian appellation system; the region occupies a gently sloping ridge following the contours of the Sesia River, a tributary of the Pò that originates in the Alps along the Swiss border, near Monte Rosa. Soils are glacial moraine, interspersed with mineral-laden porphyry rock, clay, sand, and alluvial gravel. Brigatti is known for producing excellent varietal bottlings of some of the other red grapes permitted for use in Ghemme wines (Uva Rara; Vespolina), but for “Oltre il Bosco” he uses 100% Nebbiolo from two of his best vineyards. The wine is fermented using ambient yeasts in concrete tanks, with the “cap” of solid kept submerged in the juice for 60 days. This lengthy skin maceration, combined with a full two years of aging the finished wine in large oak casks before bottling, is a similar regimen to what most Barolo wine goes through—and yes, it shows.


There is a high-wire tension to this ’15 that reminds me of penetrating, finessed styles of Barolo such as Cavallotto and Giuseppe Mascarello. Give “Oltre il Bosco” 30-60 minutes in a decanter, some nice large Burgundy stems, and a nice, cool service temperature and you’ll be doing a dance over how little you paid for so much spot-on Nebbiolo character. In the glass, it’s a deep garnet red moving to crimson and orange at the rim, with the kind of laundry-list aromatic profile Nebbiolo is famous for: dried cherry, wild strawberry, cranberry, orange peel, tobacco, tar, leather, rose petals, anise, turned earth, sandalwood, and underbrush. It is medium to medium-plus in body, with a touch less alcohol than your typical Barolo (an appealing feature of many alto Piemonte reds) but the same kind of woodsy, earthy appeal. Taut and energetic, this wine is meant to shine with savory, hearty food, so it might be worth letting it rest for a bit until the summer heat subsides. By Thanksgiving time, it’ll be ready to blow some minds, and it’s poised to do so for many more years to come. Let the hoarding begin. Cheers!




Francesco Brigatti, Ghemme “Oltre il Bosco” Piedmont, Italy 2015 - SommSelect

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionPiedmont
  • Sub-RegionGhemme DOCG
  • SoilClay
  • BlendNebbiolo
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakLarge Barrels

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionPiedmont
  • Sub-RegionGhemme DOCG
  • SoilClay
  • BlendNebbiolo
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakLarge Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 65° F
  • GlasswareLarge Burgundy Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2031+
  • Decanting30-60 Minutes
  • PairingPolenta w/ Wild Mushroom & Gorgonzola Cheese