2019 Timorasso Piccolo Derthona, Colli Tortonesi, La Spinetta, Piemonte, Italy
Superstar winemaker Giorgio Rivetti is most famous for his trio of masterful Piemonte reds, Barbarescos Gallina, Starderi and Valeirano. He has ventured south to Tuscany, too, where his rich, layered, oak-soaked style of red winemaking works well with his various “Super-Tuscan” incarnations. But his most remarkable recent release is, shock-horror, a white wine, and it comes from the little-known Colli Tortonesi region of Piemonte. Situated some 50 miles to the east of Alba, the wines from the hills to the east of the town of Tortona are starting to register on curious, wine-geek palates.
Best-known for producing workman-like versions of the red grape barbera, it is the super-rare, indigenous white grape timorasso that has shone a spotlight on this region. I always seek out examples of timorasso when I tour Piemonte, but I have never tasted one as spellbinding as this. There are no tricks whatsoever in the winemaking, just a discreet period of lees contact and then it is bottled without delay. Fresh onto our shelves, this is one of the most beguiling wines of the moment. With a flavour silhouette reminiscent of a Premier Cru Chablis, but with more exoticism of stone fruit and honeysuckle on the nose and a fleshier mid-palate, this is an absolute diva of a wine and the value, given its illustrious heritage, is staggering.
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator award (MatthewJukes.com)