2022 La Colombera, Derthona Colli Tortonesi "Timorasso"
2022 La Colombera, Derthona Colli Tortonesi "Timorasso"

2022 La Colombera, Derthona Colli Tortonesi "Timorasso"

Piedmont, Italy 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$37.00

2022 La Colombera, Derthona Colli Tortonesi "Timorasso"

What’s the next great Italian wine category? Our money is on Timorasso. This ancient white variety looks set to join Nebbiolo and Barbera as one of Piemonte’s great grapes, and La Colombera’s bottling on offer today forcefully demonstrates why. Tense and mineral, laden with golden fruit tones, delicious now but with a proven track record of aging gloriously, it’s undeniably grand white wine. Set aside any notions of uncomplicated quaffers like Gavi or Pinot Grigio, great Timorasso like this calls to mind the long lived dry Chenin Blancs of Savennieres and Saumur, but with a warmer and more textured edge. We’re not the only ones banking big on Timorasso–regional legends like Vietti, Oddero, and Roagna have also staked a claim in the category. La Colombera, though, was one of the first to work with the variety, and their mastery of it shines through prismatically in today’s wine. Grab enough to enjoy now and over the next decade, and you too will be singing praises of Timorasso!

If Timorasso is new to you, you’re not alone. The grape’s origins date back to the 15th century– one Leonardo Da Vinci was said to have given bottles of it as a wedding gift–but by the 1980s it was almost extinct. After Phylloxera ripped through Italy, most Timorasso was replaced with the more productive Cortese. The last known plot remained in the hands of a winemaker named Walter Massa, who realized he had something special, and in 1987, was able to cobble together enough fruit to release 500 bottles. It would take another twenty years before Timorasso came to be known internationally, but a handful of Walter’s neighbors knew they had something special almost immediately.

One such neighbor was Elisa Semino. She and her brother Piercarlo were among the first to replant Timorasso in the early 90’s. Since taking over the family estate in 2000, Elisa has been at the forefront of the variety’s international resurgence. As we mentioned, Timorasso is garnering serious attention from some of Piedmont’s most renowned winemakers; no fewer than ten of Barolo’s biggest names have set up shop in the area around La Colombera. That trend is based, in large part, on the work Elisa has been doing for the past thirty years. Her farming and winemaking allow the beauty of Timorasso to show through unadorned; farming is strictly organic without any herbicides or insecticides. Fermentations take place in stainless steel with indigenous yeast, and the only “intervention” the wine sees is a light filtration before bottling. 

Elisa’s “Derthona” bottling on offer today comes from multiple sites across the family farm. This is her window into the Colli Tortonesi appellation. While we’re technically still in Piemonte, it’s important to recognize that we’re not talking about the regal slopes of Barolo or Barbaresco. This is the far east of Piemonte, where the agricultural and viticultural traditions shade into those of neighboring Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna. “Derthona” was the ancient name of the appellation’s center, Tortona; while it’s not a recognized place name quite yet, winemakers like Elisa and Walter Massa have resurrected it to mark out the special Timorasso-based wines from the region.

The 2022 La Colombera Timorasso “Derthona” represents the variety in all its tensile, mineral-laden glory. It pours a bright yellow-green with silver highlights and from the get-go announces itself with high tone verve. Quince, lemon peel, barely ripe white peach, acacia blossom, and faint bruised apple call to mind something like young, vigorous Chenin. But there’s something else going on that marks the wine out as distinctly Italian, with a salty, seabreezy, and nutty savor beneath the fruit. The palate is powerful, dense and fleshy, followed by a wick of thrumming acid and maybe even a tiny hint of tannin. It’s certainly delicious on its own, but this is definitely serious white wine, ready to shine at the dinner table.  It’s an obvious candidate for some mid-term aging; those savory, honeyed tones will grow with time and further round out the powerful structure. Grab a handful and watch it evolve into something truly profound. All aboard the Timorasso train!

2022 La Colombera, Derthona Colli Tortonesi "Timorasso"

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