What we tasted in April 2021

In April we welcomed Ben Robson of The Bat and Bottle, Oakham presenting wines from Villa Giada. Villa Giada are based just south of Asti in the Piedmont region of NW Italy. Ben was joined Andrea Faccio and Matt Gregory for the engaging presentation. A massive thank you for the tasting.

Andrea stubbornly supports the wines of his territory with an unerring belief in their qualities. By dint of study and hard work he has fine-tuned the qualities of each individual wine and carved out a niche for each one. His work is meticulous in the vineyard and he has earned his reputation for being ‘a bit of a geek’ (rough translation) in the cellar. His friends Giordano (La Montecchia, Veneto) and Sergio (Rocca di Macìe, Tuscany) recognise this strength and allow responsibility to fall on Andrea for the final stages of their unique joint-
venture wines: ‘Primo Volo’ and ‘Tre per Uno’.

All of the Villa Giada’s vineyards are hand-picked by locals who have helped the family for many years. Spraying and treatments are kept to an absolute minimum. The energy and funds that could have been wasted on certifications have been spent on real benefits to the environment; the petrol-head thing may not quite fit, but nobody is perfect.

The lifeblood of the estate is Barbera and Andrea makes five versions, each one recognising the potential of the vineyard.

For more information:
Web: bat.wine

The wines tasted were:

  1. The English Wine Maker – Mascot 2018 – GRAPE – Moscato
    This has settled into bottle very nicely, it is an expansive dry Muscat with aromas that take in lychee, orange, honeysuckle and lavender; the palate delivers these nuanced flavours with some restraint. It is an extraordinary, ethereal expression of the variety.
    13% 908 bottles made

    This is pure Moscato Bianco di Canelli, a highly developed biotype of Muscat that has been the focus for Canelli vine growers since the 1600s. Villa Giada’s Moscato vines are planted on a southeast facing slope at an altitude of 320 metres, the soils are chalky and the vines are kept well ventilated by constant breezes. Mascot’s grapes are from the heartland of the newly created Moscato Cru, ‘Moscato Canelli’, the pinup for Moscato d’Asti. (A low alcohol sweet and frothy white, very lovely and enormously successful and the antithesis of this wine.) The vines were harvested by hand, enough grapes to fill one 10 hectolitre (1000 litres) steel tank. A quarter of the bunches were left whole, the remainder went through the de-stemmer and were crushed. The fermentation started spontaneously, the temperature was moderated by the mass of whole bunches which acted as a natural break. The juice went through a complete fermentation leaving no residual sugar. The wine then remained on the skins for 63 days, during this period it went through a full malolactic conversion. The wine was then pressed using a traditional basket press and returned to rest in the steel tank. It was racked just after Christmas and bottled on 30th January 2019, no fining and no filtration and an absolute minimum of sulphur. There is some light sediment, you will see it, the bottle is clear – it is easy to avoid by pouring carefully, it can be mixed into the wine or left as an interesting last glass, all are good options.
  2. Villa Giada Suri Barbera DOCG 2018 – GRAPE – Barbera
    All bramble and raspberry, a totally joyous and vibrant wine. The little black dress of our selection, eminently flexible: the full, crunchy forest fruit is the perfect with a linguine and wild boar ragu and equally at home (when served slightly cooler) well with spiced seafood dishes. Andrea’s Barbera is grown in the heart of Barbera country, the Asti province in Piemonte, in the communes Calosso and Agliano Terme. His vineyards are Vadrini, Spessa and Ponticelli, all have excellent exposure from West to Southwest. The vines were hand-picked in the first part of October. The bunches are de-stemmed and macerated before a spontanous fermention , which once started, lasts from 10 to 12 days. After this, the wine is racked off the skins and held in tank where it undergoes a malolactic conversion and a little refinement lasting 4 to 5 months. The wine is then bottled and given a short period to catch its breath before being released.
  3. Villa Giada Quercia DOCG 2017 – GRAPE – Barbera
    Crushed sloe, Victoria plum and black cherry, black pepper and strawberry. Rich dark fruit, liquorice and violet, deep brambly fruit with a twist and cinnamon and pepper. Classic Barbera that balances the grapes natural acidity with its generosity of fruit, a vigorous and lovely wine. Villa Giada’s ‘La Quercia’ is a wine named after an old oak tree that stands in the vineyard. This Barbera is made from the best grapes selected from this Agliano vineyard. Fermentation lasts three weeks in steel vats where the wine also goes through a malolactic fermentation, after which it rests before being transferred to the traditional 7hl (7000 ltr) barrels where it languishes for just under a year. This is a typical recipe of the area which Andrea has pretty much perfected.
  4. Moscato d’Asti DOCG – GRAPE – Moscato
    Andrea’s Moscato d’Asti is made from Moscato Bianco di Canelli grown on the Ceriole hill in Canelli. The vineyards face South-East to South-West and there are some plantings on the northern slopes to help with freshness and perfume. The Audrey Hepburn of sweet wines. 5%

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