La Spinetta was founded by the enigmatic Giorgio Rivetti in 1977, when he began making Moscato with his family’s vineyards. With tons of ambition and decades of saving over the years, he was able to build up a diverse and strong holding in north west and central Italy. Their vineyards are made up of 55-65 year old vines, farmed in adherence to biodynamic principles, avoiding pesticides, fertilisers and even tractors (preferring horses as they don’t compact the soil, which would prevent drainage).
Spinetta’s style is relatively modern, which is to say clean winemaking, the perfect balance of fruit and tannin, with soft approachable body and most importantly, wonderful aromatics. He ferments in rotofermentation tanks, which gently extract soft fruits and not too much tannin and includes around 15-25% of the stems during fermentation, to give extra zip and complexity. Giorgio uses oak barrels where the staves have been weathered for five years or more, reducing any potentially harsh oak tannins. He uses around 55% new oak and the rest a year or two old - a big move away from the 100% new oak he used in early years.
“The wines are easily identifiable in a blind tasting because, across the board, they offer a uniquely intense aromatic delivery.” - Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“This is a beautiful set of Barbarescos from proprietor Giorgio Rivetti and his team. The evolution at La Spinetta since the mid 1990s has been remarkable. Back then the wines were dark, concentrated and oaky. Today the Barbarescos are a true Nebbiolo-red. French oak signatures are present, but there is less emphasis on the toastier notes that new barrels add, and more an impression of light toast aromas and flavors. The 2012s are supple, open-knit and ready to go - all signatures of the year - while the 2013s are fresher, brighter wines that capture the energy of the late-ripening season.” - Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
Bionzo, Barbera d’Asti Superiore - 12,000 bottles - One of the highest rated Barberas in 2013. 60-70 year old, south facing vines.
Valeirano, Barbaresco - 7,000 Bottles - Perhaps their biggest and longest lived Barbaresco. Full of blue fruit, spice and chocolate. Ripe, round and more powerful tannins.
Gallina, Barbaresco - 11,500 Bottles - Their most delicate and most aromatic Barbaresco, with mint, blue fruits and chalky, fine tannins.
Starderi, Barbaresco - 15,500 Bottles - Almost identical aspect and soil to Gallina and only 1km away, but a different microclimate gives this earthy, red fruited wine more density, fine tannins though.
2013 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Bionzo @ £300 IB per 12
“The highlight in this range, the 2013 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Bionzo is fabulous. Freshly cut flowers, mint, raspberry jam, rose petal and graphite give the 2013 much of its racy, layered personality. The Bionzo possesses exceptional energy and tension for such a big Barbera. Make no mistake about it: Bionzo is one of Piedmont’s most distinctive wines. The 2013 is a fabulous edition.” 94 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi, La Spinetta @ £450 IB per 6
La Spinetta fans won’t want to miss the 2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Starderi, but readers will have to be patient, as the Starderi is going to need time. The only question is how much. Classic bright red fruit notes typical of Starderi are matched by equally characteristic, imposing tannins that need time to soften. Linear, taut and pulsing with energy, the 2013 is full of potential for those who can wait. 94+ points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina, La Spinetta @ £450 IB per 6
The 2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Gallina is a great introduction to the vintage at La Spinetta. Gallina tends to give open, soft Barbarescos that drink well young. Not here. The 2013 is unusually bright, tense and focused for this wine, with darker fruit and more tightly wound personality than I am used to seeing. Dark red cherry, mint, wild flowers and spices come together, but the 2013 is going to need time to fully come together. Even today, though, it is striking. There is a spherical breadth to the 2013 that is impossible to miss. 94 points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media
2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano, La Spinetta @ £450 IB per 6
The 2013 Barbaresco Vigneto Valeirano is a powerhouse. Tannic, rough around the edges and virile in its expression, the 2013 is going to need at least few years in bottle to shed some of its tannin. The flavors are deep and boldly sketched, with the acidity of the vintage and the incisive Treiso tannins adding brightness throughout. Sweet dark cherries, cinnamon, new leather and menthol meld into the powerful, tannic finish. 93+ points. Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media