If you have never tasted Nascetta, which is arguably the noblest white wine variety in the Langhe (Arneis is native to Roero), imagine the love child of a Keller Silvaner and a Corte Gardoni Custoza, which was baptized by a ripe vintage Loire Valley Chenin Blanc. ‘ In the glass, the wine has a limpid, yellow-gold-in-sunlight color, with flashes of platinum just at the edge. Aromas of cool white peaches, citrus blossoms, white pepper and sage emerge at first, then alternate with warmer suggestions of honeyed lime zest, grated nutmeg, butterscotch, and thyme, as the nose evolves in the glass. On the palate, the layered sweet core of flavors that includes poached Anjou pears, almond butter, and tarragon is seasoned with delicate bitterness, and the long elegant finish is punctuated with more lime citrus and salty mineral grip. The wine is just outstanding.
About this wine producer: Anna Maria Abbona was working as a successful graphic designer in1989, when her father told her that he was ready to retire and sell his vines, some of which were planted in the 1930s by her grandfather. Anna Maria couldn’t bear to see her roots torn out, so together with her husband Franco Schellino, she returned to the farm where she was born (and where her two sons would be born soon after). Situated on western facing hillsides at an altitude of 500 – 600 meters, directly facing the cooling breezes off the Mediterranean, Anna Maria’s vineyards are the highest in all of Dogliani. Here the diurnal swing between daytime and nighttime temperatures is dramatic, so the grapes ripen evenly, and infuse the wine with what Anna Maria calls the “freshness of the sea.” Not to mention that the practice of purely organic viticulture is easier than at lower altitudes, because common vine diseases like mildew and grey rot, which often require aggressive intervention with chemical treatments, are rarely found above 400 meters. Today, Anna Maria Abbona leads the elite of Dogliani, producing small quantities of a wide range of wines, including four Dolcettos, a Barbera, and Nascetta, each of which is a classic expression of Dogliani’s unique terroir and culture.