Piedmonte Uncorked: 2008 Contratto Millesimato Brut
You have to put in many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile. - Brian Tracy
Time certainly flies, it was just a few years ago when I spent an afternoon with Giorgio Rivetti, who was kind enough to stop by for a quick visit with the Protocol Wine Studio crew and, I was lucky enough to also get an invite to this well-thought-out shindig. Definitely a post worth re-visiting as these wines are stunning achievements of winemaking finesse.
The first wine in our glasses that afternoon was a stunning bubbly from Piedmonte. Millesimato, from Indigenous Selections, is a rare bottling from this area to be sure and may surprise more a few upon seeing it. Wow, what a delightful bubbly, boasting a delicious Pinot Noir weighing in at 80% and 20% Chardonnay in the blend. I'm told the wine spends almost four years on the yeasts before disgorgement and is finished with a dosage of 5g/l.
Getting a quick splash of this beauty across my palate, I realized like the quote above that many small efforts that no one may have appreciated during this wines four-year journey, was about to be shouted from the rooftops after it was uncorked. It's genuinely a bubbly worth-the-price of admission.
It was a genuinely tremendous wine that coated every part of the palate in sheer delight. And no I'm not kidding, I was quite sad to be using those red-solo-cups pictured above to eject the wine from my mouth [a tragic affair]. Putting my nose in the glass, poof beautiful aromas of white-fleshed fruits mingle quietly, while hints of almond playing bass in the corner of the room.
Splashing about on my palate I found this bubbly to be a smooth operator One lead by a host of complex flavors, powerful minerality, near-ripe summer fruits, nectarines, white peach, and pear which find themselves nicely complemented by a fresh, elegant finish. You'll see this wine is ideal as an aperitif or just something cooling and soothing to slurp upon while chilling on the deck, perhaps while doing some summer poolside lounging.
This wine sells most places for about $40, back in the day this wine could be purchased directly from the Protocol Wine Studio in San Diego [and yes they can ship]. I scored this beauty 92 points, it's highly recommended. Full disclosure, I had access to these wines via a tasting hosted by the Protocol Wine Studio and the Henry Wine Group.
According to Giorgio, the winery has a long, distinguished history. Contratto is the oldest producer of sparkling wine in Italy. In fact, the 1919 Contratto Extra Brut was the first vintage "Metodo Classico" sparkling wine ever made in the country!
Today, Contratto only produces traditional method sparkling wine under the watchful eye of Giorgio Rivetti, and his talented son, Andrea. [A very gifted Father and Son winemaking team].
While La Spinetta has only owned the Estate for a short time [Spring 2011], Giorgio and Andrea have been secretly [shhh!] making the Metodo Classico wines since 2007 with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from Oltrepo Pavese.
I've not seen them for myself, unfortunately, but I'm told [via our conversation with Giorgio] that the historical Estate has breathtaking cellars carved into the tufa limestone hillside which protect the small town of Canelli.
He described them as cathedral cellars, which according to Giorgio are among the finest of their kind, excavated at a depth of 32 meters. Because of this, the cellars maintain a constant/ideal annual temperature of 12°C and sufficient natural humidity which provide the perfect environment for bottle fermentation and maturation. Apparently, these caves which were excavated at significant cost, really helping the Contratto label to craft wines of real soul and quiet complexity.
While it has been said that some can "see the stars and still not see the light" from my experience that afternoon with Giorgio, I would have to conclude that he and his son have seen the light of inspiration and have put in the perspiration to make their wine-making dreams come true. Passion sells, and it's contagious, cheers to Giorgio and his son!
Until next time folks; please remember life is short, so continue to sip long and prosper cheers!