When it comes to Nebbiolo wines, the names Barolo and Barbaresco often dominate the conversation of Italian red wines. However, a bit further north, still in the Piedmont region of Italy, the lesser known yet incredibly exciting appellations for Nebbiolo, Boca DOC and Colline Novaresi DOC, await your discovery. These hidden gems offer enthusiasts of natural wine a unique and transfixing experience, making them the Nebbiolos we should be drinking.
Boca and Colline Novaresi: The Refined Elegance of a Rarity
Both the Boca and Colline Novaresi DOC’s, situated in the Novara province, are a true rarity among Nebbiolo regions. With just a handful of producers and limited production, these Nebbiolos are a well-kept secret among Italian wine aficionados. The natural wines being produced here are mineral, sapid, terroir-immersive wines. Both Boca and Colline Novaresi are characterized by unique volcanic soils, a gift from ancient volcanic activity that dramatically shaped the region’s landscape when about 280 million years ago the Valsesia Supervolcano imploded shooting volcanic bombs, rocks and debris and making the terroir of Boca and Colline Novaresi the treasure they are today.
Volcanic Terroir of Boca DOC and Colline Novaresi DOC
Volcanic soils are renowned for their ability to impart distinctive mineral characteristics to the wines, elevating them to a level of elegance that resonates with wine enthusiasts worldwide. The mineral-rich volcanic soils of Boca contribute to the wines’ exquisite minerality, accentuating their finesse and subtle nuances. The combination of this terroir and the Nebbiolo grape’s expression gives rise to wines with an unmistakable sense of place.
The unique terroir in these two appellations plays a crucial role in shaping the character of these Nebbiolo wines. Nestled at the foothills of the Alps, the vineyards of Boca are situated at highest altitudes in the area. Both appellations benefit from the cooling Alpine breezes, contributing to the freshness, elegance and finesse of the wines. As Alice Feiring says in The Dirty Guide to Wine “… The wines have a snappy, crunchy Alpine character which means for the most part herbal notes and freshness come first in the taste profile… these [wines} are more like a good book, chock-full of ideas and thoughts that make you come back”. Both appellations can deliver wines that evolve over time in the bottle and over the course of an evening in your glass making them intriguing, intellectual wines that also pair well with food.
The Joy of Discovery
Boca Nebbiolos are renowned for their structure, refined elegance and age-worthiness. Unlike their bolder and more robust cousins from Barolo and Barbaresco, these Nebbiolos possess an intriguing juxtaposition of strength and elegance that captivates the senses and imagination. The combination of this unique terroir with the elements of the Nebbiolo varietal results in natural red wines that possess both power and finesse, embodying the best of Piedmont’s terroir-driven wines.
Colline Novaresi Nebbiolos On the nose, one can detect alluring notes of red cherries, violets, and a subtle earthy undertone that transports the drinker to the enchanting landscapes of northern Italy. These natural wines showcase a symphony of flavors, from juicy red fruits to hints of licorice, leather and tobacco. While displaying youthful exuberance, Colline Novaresi Nebbiolos also exhibit the potential for graceful aging, revealing even more complexity and depth with time.
As we journey through the wines of Boca DOC and Colline Novaresi DOC, we uncover the essence of Nebbiolo in its most captivating and evocative form. These appellations may not have the same global recognition as Barolo and Barbaresco, but their wines speak volumes about the diversity and beauty of Nebbiolo when nurtured in unique, native terroir.
Aging Potential: 2012 Boca and 2018 Colline Novaresi
The Nebbiolos of Boca DOC and Colline Novaresi DOC have shown remarkable aging potential, captivating wine enthusiasts with their ability to evolve and mature gracefully over time. Both of these wines with their volcanic terroir and expert winemaking at Podere Ai Valloni have received acclaim in the wine press and both promise a journey through time revealing the full spectrum of flavors and aromas that only Nebbiolos can offer. Expect to encounter harmonious notes of dried cherries, earthy undertones, and a velvety texture that caresses the palate.
Embracing the Hidden Gems
The Nebbiolos of Boca DOC and Colline Novaresi DOC invite us to explore beyond the familiar and embrace the hidden gems of the Piedmont region. With their refined elegance, delicate aromas, and exceptional flavors, these Nebbiolos offer a glimpse into the lesser known but equally enchanting side of Italy’s most celebrated grape.
As we raise our glasses to savor these extraordinary Nebbiolos, let us celebrate the joy of discovery and the unyielding passion of Anna Sertorio of Podere Ai Valloni the woman winemaker who crafts these masterpieces. The wines of Boca DOC and Colline Novaresi DOC are the ones we should be drinking, and through their beauty, they remind us of the boundless treasures that await in the world of wine.