Nervi-Conterno - The master invests in the home country
Friday, February 22, 2019 in News
If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying the highly sought-after wines of Giacomo Conterno - this is your chance. These wines will most likely become as sought after, and - dare I say - collected as the Baroli. Do not sleep on these. They are game changers.
Jesper Kjaersgaard, Langton’s Head of Buying (International), reports…
On my recent trip to Piedmont I had the pleasure of tasting through current-release wines from Giacomo Conterno with owner/winemaker Roberto Conterno.
I had heard the news about Conterno’s recent purchase of the famed Nervi vineyards and was quietly hopeful that I would get an opportunity to try these wines, too. As the visit progressed, Roberto started talking more and more about the Nervi purchase and when he asked me if I would like to taste the wines I quickly accepted…
Roberto Conterno with his new Nervi wines.
Nebbiolo is more than Barolo and Barbaresco. As demand and prices have both kept rising, we have seen the rise of lesser known regions such as Gattinara, Roero and Valtellina.
These wines don’t get the attention they deserve. They are utterly delicious and in some cases can outperform their better-known cousins in Barolo and Barbaresco. It therefore created quite a stir when Barolo icon Conterno announced in 2018 that he had purchased Nervi, the oldest operating winery in the Gattinara region.
Where other winemakers have invested overseas, it is a big vote of confidence for the grape variety and region that someone as highly regarded as Conterno decides to invest on home soil just a two-hour drive north of his home in Monforte d’Alba.
The modern Nervi was founded in 1906 by Luigi Nervi and stayed in the family until the 1990s. In 2011 it was bought by Norwegian investors led by banker and wine enthusiast Erling Astrup, who promptly brought in his friend Roberto Conterno as a consultant.
Over time, Conterno saw more and more potential in the Nervi wines and finally, in May 2018, announced that he had purchased the estate, leaving Astrup with a 10% stake.
This first release under the new Nervi Conterno label includes the 2015 Gattinara, selected from across the 28.5ha estate vineyards, considered the appellation’s best, plus Nervi’s two flagship single-site bottlings Gattinara Molsino and Gattinara Valferana.
The single vineyard wines have the structure and power to justify four years in large oak. Three years is enough for the Gattinara wine.
Gattinara’s granite-rich soils, the remains of a long-ago collapsed volcano, produce poised and driven wines with wonderful perfume and clarity.