La Colombera

Italy, Piedmont

Elisa Semino is a force of nature. Based in the beautiful Colli Tortonesi, rolling hills to the South West of the Piedmont area - she is at the forefront of a movement to return the noble Timorasso grape to its former standing as a worthy White variety to rival the regions more famous reds. After the war, as more mechanisation took hold here - many growers in the region switched over to the Cortese grape. Neighbouring Gavi was beginning to make a name for itself and this productive, user-friendly white variety was seen as the future for farmers. Easy to ripen, reliable levels of heavy cropping and a good long window to harvest - what was not to like? For Elisa and her father Piercarlo - it was just not interesting enough. Why compete with Gavi when their own zone’s historic Timorasso could conjure wine with so much more interest and charm? Yes, it was not so easy to cultivate - but Timorasso could really thrive here and they decided it should! So in 1997 began a programme of planting, culminating in 5 new vineyards by 2006 and the project was firmly established. Timorasso would reign again here - and we are delighted this family were keen to lead the charge.

Derthona is the real heartland of this complicated grape - and the vines thrive here - under close watch from Elisa and her brother Lorenzo. Joyful and nicely full in their youth - the wines age extraordinarily. Patience really does pay off - as the wines evolve almost Riesling-like into leaner, brighter more intriguing versions of themselves. There is nothing like Timorasso - and it remains a beguiling outsider for many - yet it really delivers the soul of this historic corner of Piedmont to life. An ideal partner for food, gentle power and structure envelope an intriguing, complex core - with waxy lemon, soft peach and fresh garrigue herbs. The family do also retain their Cortese vineyards - and the Bricco Bartolomeo is a brilliant Gavi-style wine - at a fraction of the price of so many from that more famous zone, just next door.