Valmaggiore, the Nebbiolo in amphora that loves records

It’s the first amphora Nebbiolo in history: and what a Nebbiolo. Organic and biodynamic, born from the prestigious Valmaggiore hill in Vezza d’Alba. The news? It’s going strong: everyone really likes it. And now it is even “smarter” in its brand new label. We are talking about Nebbiolo d’Alba “Valmaggiore”, one of the Marchisio Family’s workhorses. Easy to drink, intense and deep, capable of endless evolutions. A never “tired” red, thanks to the eternal youth ensured by the ceramic amphora. A touch that makes even thick vines dynamic and soft, perhaps pleasantly tannic like this super-Nebbiolo all from Roero, born from sandy soils. That it’s a true masterpiece, the “Valmaggiore” created by Sergio Marchisio, has also been discovered by Decanter: which in fact awarded it (2016 vintage) on its first international release.

«It was a great satisfaction, for all of us», admit the Marchisio Family winemakers. Specialty of the house: experimenting. In amphora, today, they also evolve Pinot Noir and Riesling, happy experiments to test the interpretation, in Roero, of illustrious European varieties. And even Arneis, another “heresy” signed by Marchisio, has ended up in ceramic containers: «We have discovered that the amphora can extend the life, and by a lot, even to the white wine that is somewhat the symbol of our territory». But leading the way, on the path of the alternative to wood and steel, was precisely a super-red like “Valmaggiore”, the first Nebbiolo (ever) to be vinified in ceramic. Also making its vocation clear from the start was the jaunty screw cap: a solution to which enthusiasts are now becoming accustomed. And once uncorked, what does “Valmaggiore” look like? Soon told: it’s a simply stunning red, ample and fragrant. Capable of great longevity, but – it bears repeating – never showing signs of old age.

True, it may seem strange to talk about Nebbiolo right now, in the middle of summer. It’s a time for freshness and bubbles, for example: like those of Arneis (9 years on the lees) that Sergio Marchisio was the first to make, many years ago. Next came the sparkling (rosé) of the same Nebbiolo. Yet, the “Valmaggiore” doesn’t even fear summer temperatures: a perfect goblet, in the evening, to accompany dinner. The secret? The amphora, of course, in combination with the very high drinkability that comes precisely from the sandy soil, capable of giving explosive aromas. A characteristic further accentuated by the organic specification (no chemicals) and biodynamic processing, which restores vitality to the soil. And so, year after year, the results grow: the range of scents only increases, lapping up violet and licorice. All, always, with that special “sprint” that only the amphora can ensure. Even when it’s a Nebbiolo: or rather, a record-breaking super-Nebbiolo.

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