Yesterday, March 19, we arrived in Milan and headed directly to the northeastern sector of Piemonte to prospect for growers in the appellations of Lessona, Ghemme and Gattinara.
In the small town of Lessona, which is the smallest in size of the subject appellations, we met with Massimo Clerico. He is the third “largest” producer of Lessona … with a total of TWO hectares of vineyards!
Clerico produces three wines: a Costa della Sesia Rosso from the “Ca’ du Leria” site, a Spanna Costa della Sesia and a Lessona. Production (annual total) is somewhere shy of 10,000 bottles.
Our encounter extended for three hours plus. Stylistically, the wines fit our profile with a purity of flavor and vibrant acidity in excellent balance in a mineral-driven context. Nebbiolo (known as Spanna in these parts) is the fundamental grape, supplemented in the “Ca’ du Leria” bottling with lesser amounts of Croatina and Vespolina.
Massimo and his wife, Concetta, sell their wines almost exclusively to a private Italian clientele as well as to restaurants in the neighboring “cities” of Biella (a textile center) and Novara and also to a few restaurants in Rome. They have never before exported their wines. That will now change! We have made an agreement to purchase all three of the wines produced at the estate – with the first shipment perhaps to occur as early as May of this year.
More details (and a dedicated web-page on the estate) to follow …
NIR – 20 March 2012