“Readers seeking to understand how magical Nebbiolo can be in the northern reaches of Piedmont should start here,” gushed Antonio Galloni in his glowing 2010 review of Proprietà Sperino’s Lessona. Indeed, for many Sperino’s Lessona will serve as a breakthrough moment for the largely neglected Northern Piedmont appellation. Vivid wild red fruits and subtle flourishes of flowers make a strong first impression, yet it is the seemingly endless elegance from its body that will compel many to helplessly come back and explore again and again. Depth and purity are the unquestionable hallmarks here and Sperino’s 2012 effort is a stunningly clear and convincing portrait to the strengths of growing Nebbiolo in Lessona, the tiny, tiny appellation that many have lost in the shadows of Barolo and Barbaresco.
2012, the estate’s current release, plays to Proprietà Sperino’s well known (and critically acclaimed) strengths of balance, freshness and verve. Easily age worthy for another decade, the 2012 Lessona offers a requisite Piedmont experience that will bring fireworks to the table for years to come.
“The 2012 Lessona is a wine that is heavily shaped by the sandy soils that characterize the appellation. This vintage is a little shy and demure with a slightly undertone or softly spoken manner. The wine is extremely elegant and polished with light touches of wild berry followed by ash, cola and finely etched mineral nuances. There is a touch of rusty metal or aromas of dried blood. The mouthfeel is very long and finely textured.” 92 Points, Wine Spectator
More about the Wine:
Back in the day (think: 19th century) Lessona was considered the most famous appellation for Italian wine. The sandy (and I mean truly sandy), high acid soils produced exquisitely elegant, highly aromatic Nebbiolo, locally known as Spanna.
The 20th century was less kind. Two world wars happened, manufacturing exploded (hello, Fiat) and over 98% of wine growers abandoned their vineyards. It was a catastrophic moment for Lessona, which went from top of the pops to the wine equivalent of an endangered species.
Fast forward to the 1970’s and a gentleman named Paolo De Marchi moved his family to Tuscany to start the now renowned estate, Isole e Olena. Mr. De Marchi’s emphasis on single vineyard terroir helped lead to the rebirth of Chianti Classico. But that wasn’t enough. Mr. De Marchi’s true dream didn’t belong in Tuscany but rather the abandoned vineyards in Lessona, where he summered as a young boy. In 1999, he and his son Luca rehabilitated vineyards in Lessona and Proprietà Sperino was born.
Everything is done according to age-old tradition: handpicked harvest, spontaneous fermentation and aging in large neutral wood. The estate charmingly labels itself a “wine growing archaeology” project, mainly because their purpose is to be a window into the past. Whether we see glimpses of the past or not, the window Proprietà Sperino has provided us to look through may be good enough. These are fabulous, gorgeously elegant wines that rightly bring the appellation back into the conversation it deserves.