• сhristinabutorina

2019 #Piemonte | La Scolca winery, Gavi

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

I'm a long time lover of Gavi wines, but never been in the place itself, so while planning my wine trip to Piemonte this choice was quite obvious. That was one-day trip to #Gavi area, where you can find many good wineries, but as I've been very limited in time trying to put in one day a winery visit plus later move to Ligurian seashore, then I've had to choose the best of the bests, which is La Scolca.

La Scolca estate is run by Soldati family, who purchased it a hundred years ago in 1919. Today the winery is lead by Giorgio Soldati and his daughter Chiara. The name of the estate is rather symbolic, as La Scolca comes from “Sfurca” or something like translated “Look into the distance” in the meaning of "forepost", which is basically where the family's farmhouse is located.

When family purchased the land, it was mainly planted for grain production and the rest was covered by forest. The plantings of grapes in #Gavi those times were mainly of red varieties. It was really hard to promote white wines in Piemonte, where the major part of worldwide known production is famous reds, so Soldati family decided to move the trend towards white varieties and planted #Cortese in the area dedicated traditionally only for red varieties. White wine's production became soon much more popular in the zone, Soldati made a lot of efforts to push the whole market to make it happen, producing white wines of great quality and promoting them all around Italy and worldwide.

The vineyards of La Scolca are located in Rovereto, which gives “Gavi dei Gavi” (the king of the kings), representing the best wines can be found in the area. Rovereto di Gavi is a local cru of Cortese variety.

Cortese grape is indigenous from Italy, giving mineral white wines with fine citrus notes, great acidity level, fresh and crispy palate. In Gavi region in particular #Cortese results in a wine with aristocratic features, elegant and well-balanced.

La Scolca started to craft white #wines from Cortese grapes in the 50s and became a classic soon. The estate has about 50 hectares of vineyards, which gives about 200 km of rows of vines. As said, all the vineyards are located in the best sites of Rovereto di Gavi with a special microclimate of the zone.

Gavi is located on the hills, about an hour driving from Ligurain seashore, then the climate here is purely Mediterranean with continuous cooling sea breezes, very long diurnal range, coolness of the air and minimum rot & mildew disease risks. These perfect climate conditions are simply ideal for slow ripening and maturing of the #grapes, which results in the great wines.

Well, at the day, when I've arrived to Gavi a weather was like this.... unfortunately I was not able to see clearly those fascinating local landscapes. However I liked these foggy conditions, they've made this day kind of mysterious and enigmatic.

Winemaking facilities of La Scolca are quite impressive. As the estate produces millions of bottles per year, of course you expect the #winery being huge. And as all the greatest productions it's very well treated, all clean and shiny.

Big pneumatic presses, where Cortese grapes are being squeezed in a very gentle manner.

Giant stainless steel fermentation and maturation tanks are everywhere around, as the winery produce white still and #sparking wines, so no oak is being used here, only stainless steel. Actually this winery's part is so called "old", as the estate is currently expanding their production facilities and recently have built additional "new" part.

The new part looks like a spaceship: huge shiny modern stainless steel vessels are connected each other with millions of pipelines, hung all with tons of switchers...

...counters, measurement tools and all those kinds of mechanical things.

This whole spaceship's ecosystem is connected by multi-layered crossings and passages...

...moving around feels like you are inside of Startrack movie.

The lab, where all the analysis of the grapes and wines are being conducted, is also a brand new investment of the estate.

This year 2019 La Scolca celebrated 100 years on the market and special edition of golden "century bottle" was produced. I'm not a fan of yellow gold, but this one looks nice.

As mentioned, I'm a fan of Gavi wines, and in the same time a lover of complicated sparklings, thus a line up built for #tasting was like this: basic white no lees ageng, famous Gavi dei Gavi "Etichetta Nera", unique amazing still D'Antan and a line of sparklings millesimato (=vintage wines), including vintage sparkling D'Antans, which are being presented only on Italian market (yes, I'm lucky again).

La Scolca Gavi DOCG

Grapes: Cortese 100%

Vintage: 2018

Alcohol: 12%

Vinification: in stainless steel

Ageing: in stainless steel

Nose: lemon peel, green pineapple, wet stone, camomile

Palate: dry, high acidity, mineral

Traditional basic #Gavi wine is vinified of Cortese comes from young vineyards of Rovereto of Gavi. This wine has very fresh, floral nose with typical Gavi's acidic and mineral palate. Classic easy drinking and simple everyday's wine.

La Scolca Gavi dei Gavi DOCG

Grapes: Cortese 100%

Vintage: 2018

Alcohol: 12%

Vinification: in stainless steel

Ageing: few month on lees in stainless steel

Nose: pomelo, green pear, flint, crushed gravel

Palate: well-balanced, almonds, graphite

The most famous and bestselling wine of the estate, Etichetta Nera (black label) is a classic Gavi made of Cortese from the best vineyards, vinified in stainless steel and aged few months on lees. It is "Gavi dei Gavi" trademark, which means something like "the best one from all Gavis", as far as I know La Scolca is the only estate allowed to put this naming on their bottle since that time when "Gavi di Gavi" (Gavi from Gavi) naming usage was restricted by law by local authorities for Gavi DOCG. This #wine already worth more attention with its complexity and rounded texture, having intense flinty aromas, delicate citrus notes and hints of hazelnuts on the palate. It can be great for consuming young, in the first years after #vintage, or you can keep it longer time to wait until it will develop more dried fruits and roasted nuts flavours. Very good wine.

La Scolca D'Antan Gavi dei Gavi DOCG

Grapes: Cortese 100%

Vintage: 2006

Alcohol: 11,5%

Vinification: in stainless steel

Ageing: min 10 years on lees

Nose: grapefruit, brioche, cream, flint

Palate: intense, persistent, roasted walnut hints

D'Antan is mon amour, forever. Fabulous noble wine being produced only in the best years and, of course, just from the best grapes. D'Antan is a unique wine aged in cellars during minimum 10 years on lees (TEN!). You can imagine how much complex, special and multilayered it is. Truly great, rare wine, proof with so long time of maturation in the #cellar. It is definitely better to be drunk slowly, meditating with perfect feelings of harmony, finesse and elegance, power and complexity. Actually it's an interesting experience, when in the same time a wine is very powerful and intense on the nose, but much more delicate on the palate. I loved this ambiguity, it makes this wine especially mysterious and attractive.

Soldati Brut Millesimato Gavi DOCG

Grapes: Cortese 100%

Vintage: 2010

Alcohol: 12,5%

Vinification: traditional method in bottle

Ageing: 72 months on lees

Nose: white peach, honey, spices, rye bread

Palate: intense, persistent, roasted walnut

This vintage sparkling wine has quite intense aromas and fine taste. It is produced in limited quantity, made of the best grapes in the best vintages only. 6 years on lees in the cellar results in a long lasting taste, where the first wave of fruitiness is heading to more complex aromas of white chocolate and spices, giving an overall impression of great elegance. On the palate well-balanced with roasted nuts and honey flavours, having a strong body. Fresh, velvety and refined, still keeps quite good #acidity and slightly bitter almond flavour on the background. This version I've tasted was "Brut" which means it has a slight dosage (it is really very small amount feels on the palate), but there is another version produced, which is "Nature" with zero dosage. I would recommend both, very good #sparkling though.

Brut Millesimato D'Antan Gavi DOCG Blanc de Blanc

Grapes: Cortese 100%

Vintage: 2006

Alcohol: 12,5%

Vinification: refined in barrels min 12 months; later partly in barrels and partly in bottle, traditional method

Ageing: min 10 years on lees

Nose: lime zest, orange blossom, croissant, cheese

Palate: dry, long lasting, full body

D'Antan sparkling Blanc de Blanc is another chic wine of La Scolca, which I loved. Crafting from white grapes, using old traditional methods, in the best vintages only results in a wine with specific character of awesome freshness, diversity of flavours like apricots, honey and creamy velvety texture, thanks to a super long period of ageing on lees. This #wine is produced and distributed only in Italy, so there is no chance to find it anywhere in the world. So pity such great sparkling is kept only for local consumption, but bearing in mind limited quantity of production I can understand the decision of the owners of the estate.

Brut Millesimato D'Antan Gavi DOCG Rose

Grapes: Pinot Nero, Cortese

Vintage: 2006

Alcohol: 12,5%

Vinification: traditional method

Ageing: min 10 years on lees

Nose: brioche, brown butter, orange peel, quince

Palate: velvety, crisp, refined, candied lemon

This is my favorite sparkling of La Scolca, the most stylish and sophisticated one. D'Antan sparkling Rose is made from a refined cuvee mixed of white Cortese and black Pinot Nero grapes. The production is limited by best vintages only and, like Blanc de Blanc version, it is also aged minimum 10 years on lees, crafted with traditional method. Due to Pinot Nero grapes used in the blend it's even more complex and sharing unique sensations of constantly evolving palette of aromas, starting from fruitiness, honey, apricot, buttery and creamy #flavours, hints of almonds and candied fruits. Super soft, elegant and long lasting meditation sparkling. Same story as above - it's produced in limited quantity and only for Italian market. Pity though, I believe such awesome wine deserves to be better known worldwide.

Many thanks to Stefano for great management of my visit.

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