Timorasso Derthona Claudio Mariotto’s PITASSO 2013
On this occasion we were scoping around the hills of Tortona, on Piemonte’s south eastern border. These are the hills that cozy up to Liguria and Lombardia. And man was it worth it because it’s here that we chanced upon ‘TIMORASSO’.
This is why we do what we do!
But once again we encounter the classic 19th / 20th century tale of vineyard riches to rags. Like all varieties, having fallen prey to phylloxera, TIMORASSO was overlooked when time came to re-plant the ravaged vineyards.
Why ? Well, in spite of being a vigourous grower, this vine yields relatively low levels of fruit. You see it’s prone to floral abortion and those grapes that do form characteristically tend to ripen unevenly. Not only that, when ripe, they’re also prone to drop from the bunch. No shock therefore when someone tells us that tending this vine is an intensive, often costly and less productive ‘labour of love’. For those commercially minded, you can see why it’d be a ‘no-brainer’ to plant more dependable varieties like Cortese and Chardonnay.
Thankfully though, as so often has been the case in Italy, from the clutches of extinction, the efforts of a few have once again re-gifted the world with an outstanding grape and wine. And these few courageous heroes can be found working the hills of TORTONA where today little more than 60 hectares of TIMORASSO grapes are cultivated.
We understand there are some 50 hectares also in Veneto but, as always, our principal focus is on the grapes #PointOfOrigin.
So it’s Tortona for us where, come harvest time, you’ll find Timorasso’s medium-compact bunches of round, yellow, bloomed berries of varying size. With their relatively thick skins, this variety is considered resistant to many vineyard diseases, that is, except for when it falls foul of bunch rot. This may happen if and when bunches are left to hang too long in the hope they’ll ripen more evenly.
A pretty serious attention seeker is TIMORASSO. Of that there is no doubt.
Knowing what we know now, the best way to understand their motivation is to get a firm grip on one of their ‘rare creations’. Admittedly tracking one down ain’t so easy. But luckily we did, getting our hands on Claudio Mariotto’s PITASSO 2013. This is just one of 3 Timorasso interpretations that Mariotto bottles under 3 different labels – PITASSO, DERTHONA and CAVALLINA. So here are our PITASSO discovery notes:
PITASSO ’13 – ON THE NOSE
An immediate, strikingly elegant, wine of medium+ intensity and complexity featuring a perfumed floral note of mimosa, together with light citrus notes, aromatic herbs and mineral tones.
PITASSO ’13 – ON THE PALATE
Dry, its full body (& powerful heart – 14,5% vol) is rounded and beautifully balanced with a bright, fresh acidity and outstanding minerality. Lemon thyme, delicate zesty citrus fruits, notes of flint, yeasty breadcrust and even the lightest perfumed scent of vanilla (yes, where this sweet spice came from was curious as PITASSO was aged only in stainless steel). Subsequently we’ve learned it’s not uncommon for Timorasso to seem lightly oaked, even when not. And by all accounts these aromatic acrobatics will evolve further with age, something we’re sure Timorasso has the potential to do.
It’s a white of pure quality exuding a vibrant, acidic zip that is perpetually playful yet in no way aggressive. And its persistence is a noble toast to this wines beguiling minerality, its terroir and let’s face it, plain and simple…its uniqueness.
Now YES is a BIG WORD and certainly it’ll need backing up with further tastings. Yet, in confidently saluting Claudio Mariotto’s PITASSO 2013, we’ve no hesitation in affirming our first TIMORASSO experience as one of the most memorable and compelling white tastings we’ve had in some time.
Make of our assessment what you will. But one thing is certain. For all it’s many physical drawbacks, by toughing it out in the vineyard, the Colli Tortonesi’s ‘Timorasso faithful’ now have at their fingertips the future vitality of this #AGEOLDVINE.
Finely balanced between ‘Quality and Identity’, to fix its roots for generations to come, last July 2015 a new cultural project called ‘Bevi Derthona’ was established. Derthona is the ancient name for Tortona and what’s so right about their approach is the determination to fasten Timorasso to its unique #PointOfOrigin – DERTHONA.
…here’s our message for
CLAUDIO MARIOTTO, WALTER MASSA and all the vineyard crews working to sustain TIMORASSO DERTHONA…
‘whichever way the wind is blowin’, whatever seeds you’re sowin’, we can only see our love growin’,
WE LIKE THE WAY YOU ARE GOIN’ :)