The Colline Novarese DOC is located in the smaller cluster of designated zones in northern Piemonte, including Gattinara and Ghemme, two familiar names for devotees of Nebbiolo. The regulations for both allow for the inclusion of Vespolino, a blending grape that also shows up with Bonarda in the Oltrepo Pavese region of Lombardy.
Wines from the Novarese area are noticeably smoother, softer, and consumed earlier than their Langhe cousins. There is less earth and tar, and the floral aspects are more subdued. This Nebbiolo-Vespolino blend from Cantalupo in the town of Ghemme is indicative of its origins…fresh, food-friendly, more cherry and raspberry than typically woodsy Nebbiolos from farther south. The tannins are already mild, the acidity keeping the fruit bright throughout.
Like Chiavennasca from Valtellina, this is another version of Italy’s noble red grapes that illustrates the diversity of Italian wines and serves as a point of comparison to more renowned Nebbiolos.