By now you’ve figured out that the wines in the background/header (photos) of this post are NOT the new releases. Those wines were bottled well before there was a Colombera & Garella. In fact, this young winery began in 2010, with most of the vines in the area (which was once 120,000 acres, and now is less than 10,000) less than 15 years of age.
In (Part II) of this post, I will review three wines, tasted at the winery, and again some days later in Cerea, just outside of Verona, at one of the best, most fun (natural) wine fairs in Italia, maybe in Europe, ViniVeri 2017. But before I get to the tasting notes, some details of my visit and time there at Cascina Cottignano / Colombera e Garella.
For those interested, Giampiero Bea is the president of the ViniVeri consortium, and from my interactions with them, it’s first class all the way; the support people are excellent, it’s a really great setting, and knowing I’m with people dedicating everything in pursuit of natural winegrowing, well, it’s just a different vibe. One of the producers had just one hectare; he came all the way from It’s a happy place, and I can not wait to return next year.
I’d reached out to Colombera & Garella about a month before my arrival in Italia.- I know timing is important given all the work at the winery/vineyards, and Cristiano’s hectic schedule – he’s involved with many projects/wineries in the area. Cristiano and I agreed on a date and time, 31 March. I couldn’t wait.
My home base in Piemonte has been around/in the Langhe for more than 10 years. I mention that because outside of Langhe, everything is different, aesthetically, anyway. Driving into the area around Lessona/Biella, one encounters a much different landscape than the UNESCO Heritage site of Langhe – but to a wine geek like me, it’s just as exciting, mabye more so, as I know the soil(s) here are very unique, as in really unique. More on that later.
Here’s the sign that marks where the Colombera & Garella winery is. Or not. Knowing that it’s Cascina Cottignano beforehand helps.; I think Google Maps was good with it, too, but the road you turn off of, a narrow two-lane typical in the countryside, leads to an even more narrow road with no signs. Oh well, this is farm country, it all works out in the end.
If you’re headed there for a visit, this is the road you’ll be greated with, around the bend, just out of the picture frame, a goat colony, erm, farm, there’s a cheesemaker a few hundred meters before arriving at C&G. Cheese, wine, natural winegrowing…Yes, I’m (even more) excited to be here at this point.
I’d arrived a little early (planned) so that I could spend 20 minutes just walking the vineyards, looking at the farming, the land, trying to get a feel for the vision and philosophies. The pictures say (I hope) quite a lot – what you see, is pretty much what you get, serious, natural winegrowing/farming, with the highest quality grapes making their way to the cellar come October/harvest.
Before heading into the tasting room, I turn to take a picture – and in this regard I think the picture can’t possibly compete with actually being there (most can’t, but hey). The reason I felt I needed the picture was to preserve an important memory, a feeling: you see, everywhere, in 360 degrees it was things growing, all sorts of things, so much diversity – and Spring had only just arrived this week. The place had an energy, a good energy, I was excited to meet all the players, and of course, taste their wines.
I had the wonderful good fortune that both Giacomo and Cristiano were late to the appointment – had they not been, I’d have never gotten 45 minutes alone with Paolo Cottignano, one of the key players in this winery, he’s a farmer, and a really, really good one. My time with Paolo Cottignano was all recorded digitally, we covered a LOT of things, going back to his time in the rice fields of Vercelli, to the vision/work of today; I’m saving that (it’s all in Italian, too) for another post; I find the man not only fascinating, but immensely fun, and cool to be around, too, hence my desire to share that story at a later date.