Tiziano Mazzoni, Colline Novaresi "Nebbiolo dei Monteregio"
Tiziano Mazzoni, Colline Novaresi "Nebbiolo dei Monteregio"

Tiziano Mazzoni, Colline Novaresi "Nebbiolo dei Monteregio"

Piedmont, Italy 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$22.00

Tiziano Mazzoni, Colline Novaresi "Nebbiolo dei Monteregio"

Imagine a classically styled Barolo from a top producer, take away some alcohol, a good amount of tannin, and $30 (or more) from the bottle price, and what have you got? This immensely satisfying Nebbiolo from Tiziano Mazzoni. Nebbiolo’s inimitable aromatic range and food-friendly minerality is on full display here—just in an easier to drink, and easier to afford, format—and when you factor in the Mazzoni family’s centuries-deep roots in the Ghemme region of northern Piedmont, the obvious reaction is one of total amazement. Mazzoni’s Nebbiolo “del Monteregio” has fast become a SommSelect staple, and the 2020 continues an unbroken streak of excellence. Oh, and did we mention it is less than $20 when you buy a case? Make it a staple of yours!

While Tiziano Mazzoni founded his tiny estate in 1999, he’s hardly a newcomer to the game: Nebbiolo is in his blood. He is a modern-day “back-to-the-lander” who acquired a small assortment of vineyards in the Ghemme DOCG, where his family traces its history back to the 14th century. His wines are evidence of the ongoing revival underway in the alto Piemonte, which was once a much more significant commercial wine hub than Barolo/Barbaresco, but in the modern era has been shrunk to miniature. The Ghemme appellation, for example, only has about 20 commercial producers making wine from 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. 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 at the moment) 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.

Before two World Wars and the rapid industrialization of Northern Italy changed the Piedmontese wine landscape, the area known as Alto Piemonte represented the epicenter of Nebbiolo production. Ghemme and its surrounding hills (which fall under the broader Colline Novaresi designation) sits on the eastern bank of the Sesia River, which runs from the glaciers of Monte Rosa down past the towns of Novara and Vercelli to connect with the Pò further south. The cluster of appellations along the Sesia north of Novara—Ghemme, Gattinara, Lessona, Boca, Bramaterra, Sizzano, Fara—sit in the shadow of the Alps, aka “Alto Piemonte,” on soils comprised mostly of volcanic material, red clay, and some alluvial gravel/sand. The Ghemme area is a gentle plateau above the Sesia with a higher clay percentage than many of its neighbors—including the more-volcanic Gattinara directly across the river—and there’s a gentleness to even the longer-aged DOCG Ghemme wines that is uniquely appealing.

Today’s wine was fermented in stainless steel and subjected to a (relatively short) maceration of 10 days; it was then aged for one year in used, 500-liter French oak tonneaux. And while I’m usually reluctant to compare Nebbiolo to Pinot Noir, here the comparison is deliciously apt. In the glass, it’s a luminous garnet-red with pink and orange reflections, with a perfumed nose of bing cherry, crushed red raspberries, rose petals, citrus peel, leather, and a hint of pepper. Medium-bodied and quite silky by Nebbiolo standards, it is delicious to drink now, and often: Decant it 30 minutes before service at 60-65 degrees in Burgundy stems and know that it’ll be right at home with chicken, beef, pork…maybe even grilled or baked salmon if you’re so inclined. The tannins are fine-grained and the acidity is fresh without being sharp; it really goes down smoothly and relatively effortlessly, so be prepared—a second bottle in the same sitting is almost a guarantee. It’s easily one of the best Nebbiolo values we’ve offered on SommSelect, so do yourself a favor and stock up. Cheers!

Tiziano Mazzoni, Colline Novaresi "Nebbiolo dei Monteregio"

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