Not far from there, we meet with Cristiano Garella in Brusnengo, another hilltop town. We are in the cellar. Enclosed behind a red stone wall across the road, is Le Pianelle. Here Cristiano and partners grow Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Croatina. Cristiano selects the very best Nebbiolo, which is then pressed manually (more precisely, with the feet!), fermented separately and then blended with a small percentage of Croatina and Vespolina. This wine is aged to become Bramaterra.

We first tasted this Bramaterra in a restaurant, and were deeply impressed. We talked about it at length and could not fault it! Since then, I have had the pleasure of tasting different vintages and my consideration for this wine is incessantly growing. An absolute work of art!

The remaining grapes are used for an astonishingly mineral, refreshing yet aromatic, dry rosé named “Al posto dei fiori”, which literally means “in the place of flowers”, or “instead of flowers”. It is likeable to the point that on any hot day, it offers the pleasures of a red wine, with the lightness of a rosé. A small quantity each of Vespolina and Croatina is used for single-grape reds Vèspo and Croà, especially the second, which is a straightforward, powerful red, perfect with venison.

Le Pianelle also acquired another plot of land. It is across a stream, with pure volcanic dark red and brown soil. Same grapes – Nebbiolo, Croatina and Vespolina – a much more straightforward, almost aggressively powerful wine. “Al Forte” is not as refined as Bramaterra – and yet it fills the palate in the most pleasant way, and it is impossible to stop sipping it!