2015 Rovellotti, Ghemme Riserva "Costa del Salmino"
2015 Rovellotti, Ghemme Riserva "Costa del Salmino"

2015 Rovellotti, Ghemme Riserva "Costa del Salmino"

Alto Piemonte, Italy 2015 (750mL)
Regular price$65.00

2015 Rovellotti, Ghemme Riserva "Costa del Salmino"

Lovers of ultra-traditional Italian wines, or world-class red wine, or anything Nebbiolo, or all of the above, today is our lucky day: Every few years we get to offer a benchmark of old-school winemaking in the  Alto Piemonte region in far northwest Italy—Antonello Rovellotti’s Ghemme Riserva. It’s a soaring testament to both terroir and tradition, and it always seems to find its way onto our tasting table just as it starts to hit its peak drinking window. That is gloriously true for the perfumed, silky-savory masterpiece that is the 2015 vintage; a warm and sunny year that plays perfectly with the high-elevation, Alpine influence in Ghemme. This is top-tier Nebbiolo that can go toe-to-toe with the best in Piedmont—the dark fruits, earthen savor, heady perfume, and northern Piedmontese finesse are all there. As always it is limited, don’t miss out.

Antonello Rovellotti lives in the small village of Ghemme, which is centered around a sprawling castle built in the 1100s; Antonello is the only winemaker still permitted to work in the original structure. His “winery” is little more than a collection of trap doors, lofts, and crawl spaces hidden all over the castle. Despite the miniscule production volume here, it takes numerous key rings and an hour of exploring and climbing ladders to see the entire operation. And while Antonello is a gifted and experienced winemaker, and his vines are among the village’s oldest and most prized, for us the real story with Rovellotti is his vinification. 

He is not afraid of making wine the hard (and long) way. His grapes are macerated on their skins and left on lees for a mind-boggling amount of time, and after maturing for dozens of months in neutral, lightly toasted Suppiger barrels (Swiss oak), along with heaps of additional time in bottle, nearly six years have passed. Most modern wine producers—even in top-dollar regions like Burgundy or Barolo—aren’t willing to defer profits for that long. Rovellotti is crafting Piedmontese Nebbiolo much like it was in the 1960s.

Rovellotti’s flagship “Costa del Salmino” pours a deep, dark ruby with slight hints of brick orange highlighting the rim, one of Nebbiolo’s calling cards. That’s just one indicator, though, and as with every ultra-traditional wine, you’ll find supremely classic Nebbiolo notes ringing true from sight to nose to palate. After two hours in a decanter, it began revealing the powerful yet elegant notes that we all crave in top Piemontese wine, but to be completely honest, it was at its best long after it had been opened. It emits soulful notes of dried red plums, sour cherries, macerated black raspberries, redcurrant, leather, crushed rose petal, black truffle, dried herbs, and turned earth—it doesn’t get more perfectly integrated than this. Powerful, immensely structured, and hauntingly savory, these treasures are genuine expressions of Ghemme’s ancient glacial/red clay soils, which translates into a terroir-heavy, powerfully aromatic wine that tells a long, detailed story with each sip. Serve around 60-65 degrees in large Burgundy stems and remember: save a few for the long haul—we owe it to the staunchly traditional Rovellotti family. 

2015 Rovellotti, Ghemme Riserva "Costa del Salmino"

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