Ai Valloni from Boca, and other wines from Alto Piemonte

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We are excited to have visitors from Boca: Anna Sertorio and Andrea Marzo, owners of the organic vineyard called Ai Valloni. After the war, Ai Valloni was one of just a few producers who held on as the land under vine in Boca (and throughout Alto Piemonte) shrunk dramatically, the result of a combination of flight to the city, and a declining local wine market. From their spectacular hilltop vineyards you can now see many new plantings of grapes as the area experiences a boom, but very little has changed at Ai Valloni, where the vines were always farmed without chemicals, and the winemaking was (and is) traditional. We love the Ai Valloni wines for their classic and old-school expression of the region, which like the other great Alto Piemonte wines (see below!), age beautifully. In a cellar of very large botte, there are just 3 barriques, and they are given a tongue-in-cheek place of honor, where they are used for any overflow wine from the botte. I find it easy to forget that their 2001 is already… 15 years old! I think it will age well for many years, but it’s also a real pleasure to drink now.

 

The cellar at Ai Valloni                                                                                                                                         

 

We invite you to join us for dinner with the Sertorios at Maialino (Thursday, March 16th). We will taste the Ai Valloni wines, and, to re-confirm our wonderful previous experiences with old Alto Piemonte wine, we will also taste a slew of some of the great wines and vintages from the historically best producers, including: Vallana 1961 Spanna Campi Raudii, Antoniolo 1964 Gattinara, Nervi 1964 Gattinara,  and Nervi 1964 Ghemme; Dessilani 1978 Fara, Cantalupo 1978 Ghemme, Travaglini 1985 Gattinara, and Sella 1986 Lessona. Plus some other treats…

 

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Dinner - Ai Valloni Boca And the best old wines from Alto Piemont; Maialino, March 16, 2017

We will taste Ai Valloni Boca 1999 and 2001, and also Vallana 1961 Spanna Campi Raudii, Antoniolo 1964 Gattinara, Nervi 1964 Gattinara,  and Nervi 1964 Ghemme; Dessilani 1978 Fara, Cantalupo 1978 Ghemme, Travaglini 1985 Gattinara, and Sella 1986 Lessona.

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Nervi 1964 Spanna Stravecchio

There's a similar litheness and elegance to Nervi's 1964 Gattinara, but the development is more advanced with darker fruit and richer dark chocolate notes and flavors. The tannins have nicely resolved; a solid birth year wine or a vino da meditazione for Nebbiolo's ability to age. Jonas Mendoza

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Nervi 1964 Gattinara

The color has faded to a soft ruby with rosy hues, but this vintage has aged quite gracefully. Aromatically, it's quite lifted with maraschino cherry fruit and porcini undertones. On the palate, it's a bit denser and structured with stewed cherry, and carob/dark chocolate flavors. Although it's reached maturity, the wine is still quite fresh and could hold on for another 10 years. A testament to Gattinara's oldest producer and the ageability of Nebbiolo in Alto Piemonte. Jonas Mendoza

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Nervi 1965 Gattinara

Although 1965 was a far from acclaimed vintage in the Alto Piemonte, this Nervi wine is a testament that producer can overcome the shortcomings of nature. Quite developed, there's secondary and tertiary flavors of stewed black cherry, pipe tobacco, and beef bouillon cube. The fruit has firmly resolved, but there's still prominent acidity and structure in this more than fifty-year-old wine. Jonas Mendoza

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Nervi 1969 Spanna

Nervi's cellars had been modernized in the 1960's, and the consistent quality of the wines made in this decade was clearly demonstrated during a recent vertical tasting. A bit reticent at first, the palate unfurls with flavors of black cherry and carob, but also subtle wisps of black pepper, fennel, and anise. The tannins are silky yet firm, and despite its age, would pair excellently with a hearty mushroom risotto or aged charcuterie. Jonas Mendoza

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Nervi 1976 Gattinara

This was among the first vintages after Italo Nervi passed away in 1975 and left the winery to five of his cousins, his secretary Carla Ferrero, and the consulting oenologist Giorgio Aleata. A quite ripe Gattinara with lots of dark fruit on the palate (ripe blackberry, dried black cherry, brandied cherry). A bit weightier than those from from the 1960s. Jonas Mendoza

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