High in the hills above Barolo and Barbaresco Alberto and Lorella Antoniolo have captured the grace and wisp of Nebbiolo in the most shimmering way. We clearly have a love affair with Piedmont, but highlighting just how intricate and dynamic Lorella's Osso San Grato is deserves a spotlight unto itself.
Gattinara sits on volcanic rock, as opposed to the limestone and clay soils of Barolo and Barbaresco an hours drive south. The best vineyards that produce the most elegant wines here prominently have a white, dusty and sandy soil above the mother rock. Although, generally cooler than its southern neighbors, the temperature swings between hot and cold are very drastic in Gattinara. Coupled with the very low ph soils, Nebbiolo here customarily has a lighter hue, but still with the immense structure that allows the wines to age for decades with ease.
The Antoniolo's were the first in Gattinara to bottle single cru wines back in 1948.
The Osso San Grato vineyard was planted in 1940 on these famed white, dusty sand topsoils. Although grapes like Bonarda and Vespolina are legally permitted to blend with Nebbiolo to soften the edges and plump up the fruit profile, Lorella's family has always vinified 100% Nebbiolo for this special cuvée. The prime terroir allows this Nebbiolo to flaunt a wild array of flowers, mint, sage, leather, with high toned cherry and wild strawberry notes.
Antonio Galloni of Vinous has thoughts on the 2010 that bear repeating,
"A wine of exquisite beauty, the 2010 has all the qualities that make Nebbiolo such a temptress; seductive aromatics, finely sculpted fruit and a finish that lasts forever...Quite simply, the 2010 Osso San Grato is a reference-point wine for Nebbiolo, Gattinara, Piedmont and Italy."
We aren't shy about our feelings regarding the heights achieved by the more ethereal and classically proportioned wines of the world. The Osso San Grato is surely part of that select list.
2009 Antoniolo Gattinara Osso San Grato
$72 per bottle.
2010 Antoniolo Gattinara Osso San Grato
$80 per bottle.