The NOAH project comprises vineyard sites in three distinct terroirs: Costa della Sesia, Lessona and Bramaterra, with a major emphasis on the latter appellation, a little known zone with a capacity to produce formidable wines. The name Bramaterra is believed to originate from the Italian words “bramare” which means “to long for” and “terra” meaning “the land”. A tiny appellation of approximately 28 hectares that are spread throughout several communes (Brusnengo, Masserano, Curino, Roasio, Villa del Bosco, Sostengo and Lozzolo), there are no more than a handful of producers of Bramaterra. The landscape is distinguished from that of its closest neighbor, Lessona, by its red volcanic soil known as porphyry. Like Lessona and the other exalted appellations of the Alto Piemonte, the dominant grape of Bramaterra is Nebbiolo which is leavened with a dose of Croatina and/or Vespolina, both of which can add brightness and nuance to broaden the palate. Bramaterra has a characteristic wildness and freshness with accompanying tannins that provide structure for long aging. Its neighbor, Lessona, has a markedly different profile, one of greater elegance and less brooding tannins, a difference explained by the transition to a more sandy soil composition in the Lessona district.
The NOAH estate is split between 3.5 hectares in Brusnengo which produce Bramaterra and Costa della Sesia and 1.2 hectares in Lessona. In Brusnengo, the vineyards are in two sectors: Mesola and Forte. Within Mesola there the separate lieux-dits of Diana, Mussa Alto, Mussa Basso and Nuovo Impianto which is a new planting dating from 2013, effectively re-establishing an ancient vineyard site. From these sites, the grapes harvested are used to make the Bramaterra wine. Then, there the Aina, Vallone and Carazzo parcels the grapes from which produce the Costa della Sesia wine. The latter three sites as well as the Forte lieu-dit are planted to an ancient trellising system known as “maggiorino”, wherein multiple vines are planted to the same hole and then the vines are trained high with multiple arms that produce a large canopy effect. This restrains the vigor of the vine and optimizes the light penetration.
In Lessona, the vines are planted to the Vigna del Monte site. The vines are now approximately twenty years old and the first wine to be produced as Lessona by NOAH will be from the 2014 vintage.
Andrea and Giovanna are cultivating their vineyards in a holistic manner with a firm organic bias. The first releases of NOAH wines are from the 2011 vintage – a Bramaterra and a Costa della Sesia – both of which are proudly part of our portfolio.
|Costa della Sesia: This wine is produced from the oldest vines on the estate, all with an average age of seventy years. The vines are in the village of Brusnengo and, more specifically, are planted in the Aina, Vallone and Carazzo parcels found within the Mesola and Forte sectors. These are steeply-sloped vineyards and the vines are trained according to the ancient Maggiorino trellising system. The four parcels total one hectare in surface, with the dominant grape being Croatina (90%) supplemented in minor percentages by touches of Nebbiolo and Vespolina. This trellising system demands that all vineyard work must be done by hand. After fermentation in steel vats, the wine spends 18 months in large oak barrels before being bottled without filtration.|
Bramaterra: Vineyard holdings destined to be bottled as Bramaterra are located within the commune of Brusnengo, specifically within the sector known as Mesola, a site that has been praised for its quality in local viticultural guides date back to 1839. Within Mesola, the NOAH vines are found in four separate lieux-dits: Diana, Mussa Alto, Mussa Basso and Nuovo Impianto. Vineyard management is manual across the 2.5 hectares of holdings. Average age of the vines at this point is approximately 25 years. The grape composition is 80% Nebbiolo, 10% Croatina, 5% Vespolina and 5% Uva Rara. Fermentation takes place in large 80hl barrels, where the wine rests for a year before being racked into 27hl barrels for an additional 12 months before being bottled without filtration.
2017 ROSSONOAH Costa della Sesia: Andrea’s vineyards were ravaged by hail in 2016, compensating with extra vigor in 2017—particularly among the young Nebbiolo vines he had planted in 2012. It occurred to Andrea that these exuberant young vines might marry interestingly with a parcel of 70-year-old maggiorina-trained Croatina he had previously vinified and bottled separately (see below), and thus ROSSONOAH was born. Comprising 50% young-vines Nebbiolo, 40% old-vines Croatina, and 10% Vespolina, it is a perfect rendering of the Alto Piemonte in miniature. One senses the strict mineral discipline of Bramaterra’s volcanic rock, the savory beam of high-tension-wire fruit, and the high-toned aromatics fostered by these northerly slopes, yet its texture is supple and approachable, its structure friendly rather than imposing. Andrea employed a relatively brief 10-day maceration without excessive extraction in order to preserve the wine’s sense of freshness, with vinification occurring in stainless steel and aging taking place in large Slavonian cask for one year. The wine deftly balances serious terroir articulation,and the overall impression is one of lip-smacking resonance on the palate.
|2014 Lessona: Andrea applies the same traditional approach to his Lessona as he does his Bramaterra, and the finished result highlights the enormous differences between these two terroirs. Lessona is an appellation of marine sands, which lend its Nebbiolo a silken elegance and a sense of refinement, and this 2014 (NOAH’s first vintage from this appellation) clearly highlights those typical characteristics. Its tannins are no less significant than the Bramaterra, but they are more polite, more filigree—a firm handshake through a soft glove. Its overall texture is rounder, yet not richer, offering excellent poise and length, and its impression of acidity is more serene. Notably, NOAH’s Lessona is 100% Nebbiolo, without any of the secondary varieties that frequently make appearances in these appellations. One marvels at the authority and precision on display here, especially considering it is only the fourth vintage Andrea made, and we cannot wait to track its progress over the years ahead.|
Alto Piemonte Reviews – Vinous
Vinous recently posted an article and set of tasting notes featuring the Alto Piemonte. From our growers, Antonio Galloni reviewed Noah, Monsecco, Massimo Clerico and Luigi Ferrando.
Vinous Tasting Notes
2015 Croatina (Coste della Sesia)
The 2015 Croatina (Coste della Sesia) is a gorgeous, translucent wine loaded with character. Licorice, plum, lavender, mint and sweet spices all grace this very pretty, nuanced wine from Noah. Still fresh and vibrant, the Croatina captures all of the energy that makes the wines of Alto Piemonte so appealing. Score 89 Drinking Window 2019 – 2030
The 2014 Bramaterra is a pretty, gracious wine. Sweet red cherry, kirsch, mint, dried flowers and crushed red berries are all nicely lifted in this gracious, polished Bramaterra. Perfumed and light on its feet, the 2014 is understated but also quite persistent. Drink it over the next decade. Score 90 Drinking Window 2019 – 2027
The 2014 Lessona is a bold, bracing red. Seet red cherry, chalk, iron, cinnamon, leather and cedar notes give this potent Alto Piemonte red a good bit of aromatic complexity. Classically austere, yet deep, the 2014 is a terrific wine for the dinner table. Although not especially forthcoming, the 2014 will drink well with alongside hearty foods that can handle the tannins. Score 90 Drinking Window 2020 – 2030
The 2013 Bramaterra is fabulous. Deceptive in its mid-weight structure, the 2013 is a wine of resonance, vertical reach and, most importantly, real pedigree. Dried flowers, herbs, mint, dried cherry and tobacco all meld together effortlessly. Time in the glass brings out a whole range of floral and savory overtones that add aromatic dimension. Vivid and enticing, the 2013 Bramaterra will delight readers for many years to come. Score 93 Drinking Window 2020 – 2030
2018 Vespolina Barbatasso (Colline Novaresi)
The 2018 Vespolina Barbatasso (Colline Novaresi) is a pretty, fruity wine with lovely red berry, floral and savory character. Drink it over the next few years. Score 88 Drinking Window 2020 – 2024
2017 Uva Rara Massotondo (Colline Novaresi)
The 2017 Uva Rara Massotondo (Colline Novaresi) is soft and attractive, with pretty red berry, floral, spice, cedar and mint character. Open-knit aromatics and soft, pliant fruit make the 2017 a good choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Score 89 Drinking Window 2020 – 2025
The 2015 Sizzano is gracious and understated, not to mention wonderfully alluring. Bright red cherry, orange peel, dried flowers and mint are all finely-knit. Translucent, ethereal and light on its feet, the 2015 has so much to offer. It is one of the prettiest wines I have tasted from Monsecco. Score 92 Drinking Window 2020 – 2030
2015 Nebbiolo Pratogrande (Colline Novaresi)
The 2015 Nebbiolo Pratogrande (Colline Novaresi) is attractive, but also light and forward, which suggests it is best enjoyed over the near-to-medium term. Dark cherry, tobacco, licorice, plum and hints of darker shades of Nebbiolo all grace this lithe Nebbiolo from Monsecco with a good bit of complexity from its aging. I would drink it sooner rather than later before the fruit fades too much further. Score 88 Drinking Window 2020 – 2024
2014 Gattinara Osso
The 2014 Gattinara Osso is dominated by green, vegetal notes that are distracting. This is very hard to taste. Score 80 Drinking Window 2020 – 2022
2013 Ghemme Pelizzane
Monsecco’s 2013 Ghemme Pelizzane is a burly, rustic wine. Dark cherry, earthiness, licorice and menthol all develop in the glass, but the Ghemme never really finds its focus. Even so, there is good potential here if those issues are resolved in the future. Score 88 Drinking Window 2020 – 2028
2015 Coste della Sesia Ca’ Du Leria
The 2015 Coste della Sesia Ca’ Du Leria is a dark, sumptuous wine laced with dark cherry, plum, new leather, licorice and spice. The richness and ripeness of the year are evident, and yet the Ca’ du Leria remains translucent and faithful to its origins. Readers should expect an unusually ample northern Piedmont red. The 2015 needs time for some of the coarseness of that tannin to soften. Score 90 Drinking Window 2020 – 2030
The 2014 Spanna is an incredibly beautiful wine, especially for an entry-level wine. Bright, floral and very nicely lifted, the 2014 has so much to offer. Clerico’s Spanna is not a huge or massively structured wine, but it does very faithfully capture the essence of both Nebbiolo and the year. I loved it. Score 92 Drinking Window 2018 – 2029
2012 Lessona Riserva The 2012 Lessona Riserva is ample, creamy and voluptuous, and yet it also avoids some of the excess heaviness and ripeness found in other wines of the year. Sweet red cherry, blood orange, mint, dried flowers and anise add aromatic nuance to this super-expressive, nuanced Lessona. Score 94 Drinking Window 2020 – 2032
2013 Lessona Riserva
Clerico’s 2013 Lessona Riserva is s laced with sweet dried cherry, herbal and floral notes. Readers will find a decidedly gracious, ethereal Lessona that is all about aromatics, energy and persistence. I expected more here. Score 86 Drinking Window 2020 – 2022
2018 Erbaluce di Caluso Torrazza
The 2018 Erbaluce di Caluso Torrazza is absolutely delicious.Apricot, orange peel, yellow flowers and dried herbs give the 2018 gorgeous exoticism that is not at all overdone. Rich in flavor as well as texture, but also light on its feet, the 2018 is impossible to resist. This is such a gorgeous and distinctive white. Score 91 Drinking Window 2019 – 2023
2017 Erbaluce di Caluso Cariola
The 2017 Erbaluce di Caluso Cariola is rich, phenolic and wonderfully textured. Orange confit, candied apricot, chamomile and honeyed notes abound. The 2017 manages to be quite rich – almost unctuous – and yet remains translucent and full of saline energy. Both Ferrando whites are absolutely terrific. Score 93 Drinking Window 2019 – 2024
2017 Rosso Terrazza (Canavese)
The 2017 Canavese Rosso Terrazza is a very pretty introductory level wine in this range. Sweet floral and savory notes perk up a core of bright red-toned fruit in a gracious, lithe Rosso that offers tons of character and pure deliciousness in an approachable style that is impossible to resist. This is an absolutely delicious wine from Ferrando. Score 90 Drinking Window 2020 – 2027
2015 Carema Etichetta Bianca
The 2015 Carema Etichetta Bianca is such a gorgeous wine. Dried cherry, tobacco, licorice, spice, mint and dried flowers give the 2015 striking aromatic openness, but there is plenty of mineral-drenched tannic backbone that gives this wine its distinctive personality. Medium in body, taut and full of character, the 2015 hits all the right notes. It should also start drinking relatively early and age effortlessly for many years. Score 94 Drinking Window 2022 – 2035
2015 Carema Etichetta Nera
The 2015 Carema Etichetta Nera is absolutely stellar. In many vintages, I prefer the Etichetta Bianca, but in 2015, the Etichetta Nera (Black Label) has an extra kick of freshness and body, while the oak is as well-balanced as I have ever seen in this bottling. All of that adds up to a Carema that is positively dazzling from the very first taste. Dark cherry, plum, spice, leather, menthol and licorice develop in the glass, but it is the wine’s vertical energy and overall balance that leave the longest impression. This is a positively dazzling wine in every sense. Score 96 Drinking Window 2022 – 2040