Torraccia del Piantavigna
The Torraccia del Piantavigna winery is situated in Ghemme, in Alto Piemonte, in the foothills of Mount Rosa, one of Italy’s most emblematic mountains. Its 35 hectares (88 acres) of vineyards are planted with traditional, indigenous grape varieties such as Nebbiolo, Vespolina and an autochthonous single grape variety as specified for our DOC wines grapes. The company produces and refines extremely fine red, white and rosé wines and bottles them on the premises, notably award-winning wines like Ghemme and Gattinara D.O.C.G..
One example of the constant and comprehensive critical appreciation of the sector is the “Tre Bicchieri” (3 Glasses) award made by Gambero Rosso, Italy’s most authoritative wine guide, which our Ghemme and Gattinara D.O.C.G. wines have won for the last 12 years in succession.
In order to acquire the characteristics for which it is renowned, Ghemme D.O.C.G. must adhere to a series of regulations: a maximum yield of 80 quintales per hectare (320 kg per acre) and ageing in wood for at least three years. Its exclusiveness is also linked to the fact that it must be made with grapes taken from a total of only 50 hectares (125 acres) of the finest vineyards in the area.
Since the vineyards are planted in relatively acid and clay-rich soil of fluvial and alluvial origin, they benefit from good drainage since they lie on the slopes of the hill. The vines are tended exclusively by hand, and at harvest time, the grapes are also picked by hand. The technique of thinning out the grapes before they are mature, leaving only one bunch on every vine-branch, increases the cost of the grapes dramatically but it is fundamental to the quality, since it helps to concentrate the flavours and the perfume. The perfumes are also enhanced by the unusual climatic conditions. There is a considerable drop in temperature at night compared to daytime, due to cool air flowing down from the Alps nearby.
The result is an elegant, complex wine, recognised over the years for its complexity, excellence, structure and aromas. A very impressive wine at its best after a suitable period of ageing.
Gattinara is an austere, complex wine that achieves a perfect balance between its tannic character and its smoother notes. Gattinara D.O.C.G has a total area of 100 hectares (250 acres) of vines, has been planted with vines for more than 700 years.
What determines the characteristics of this wine is the soil. In fact, on the steep hills of Gattinara, the vines are sheltered from the Alps and thus less exposed to the cool air coming down from Mount Rosa, the soil is of volcanic origin and, hence, rich in minerals with pronounced acidity. Since the soil is mainly stony and porous, water drains away very rapidly. This can have a negative effect on the vines, especially in the Summer or during periods of drought. The result is bunches of smaller grapes which are less able to dilute the high tannin content of these grapes. This explains the relatively hard character of Gattinara.
Thanks to production of ever-higher quality, this wine is now acknowledged as one of Italy’s finest, both on the domestic market and abroad. Torraccia del Piantavigna has played a part in its rediscovery and its success, producing vintage wines each year with enormous character, which have earned it the prestigious “Tre Bicchieri” (3 Glasses) award from Gambero Rosso.
The grapes for Ramale come from our best vineyards in the hills of Ghemme outside of the D.O.C.G. area, but receive the same care and attention. The wine is aged for at least 24 months and whilst it is made to be drunk slightly younger than Ghemme and Gattinara, most vintages can be kept for many years. It is a rich full-bodied wine with lots of character. It has a deep ruby-red colour. The nose is of ripe red fruits and violets with spicy notes.
Maretta is made from the wonderful Vespolina grape, a unique, indigenous variety that was once widespread in Alto Piemonte and is now grown in a tiny area, less than 100 acres, of which Torraccia owns approximately 15 acres. Its decline is not due to lack of character but to low yield and thin skins that bruise and tend to be pierced by insects including wasps, hence its name, Vespolina, or ‘little wasp’. Maretta, named after the vineyard where it is grown, is the ultimate expression of aged Vespolina.
The term ‘Colline Novaresi’ (literally, ‘Novara Hills’) refers to an area of hills of fluvial and alluvia origin famed for its wine-production.
The area is situated in a river valley north-west of Novara, the Provincial capital, lying to the east of the River Sesia and west of the River Agogna and is renowned for its wine production.
Since pre-Roman times, these hills have been cultivated with numerous wine grape varieties, principally Nebbiolo, but also Vespolina, an autochthonous single grape variety as specified for our D.O.C. wines.
This area, with an altitude varying between 200 m and 400 m, was designated a D.O.C. area in 1994.