In the north of Piemonte, on the hills that seperate the plains from the Alps, vineyards have been cultivated since Roman times. Mention is found in inscriptions from the time of Tiberio and referenced in Naturalis historia of Plinio the Elder. Nebbiolo grapes, still grown on the hills of the Langhe, were appreciated, even then, for making exceptional wine. Ghemme DOCG is a wine that requires strict adherence to the rules of production. Vineyards admitted into the denomination are to be found only in parts of two small communities where, the borders, the altitude and the exposition of the land is tightly controlled. This precision of detail serves to recognize and preserve a rare and well defined wine. These particular lands were once glacial flood plains and still contain sand and stones that slid down from the Monta Rosa alpine peak.
Nebbiolo is the major component in the production Ghemme DOCG (there is a local biotype that is called “Spanna”.) A 15% maximum portion of two other local reds grapes, Vespolina and Uva Rara, is permitted. Regulations stipulate a minimum of 34 months of aging, at least 18 of which must be in wooden barrels. Ghemme DOCG Riserva requires a full 46 months of aging.
The characteristics of Ghemme DOCG reveal its root in the alpine foothills. Ruby color with garnet flashes and it’s elegant bouquet, are evidence of its Nebbiolo base. And yet, the bouquet is varied from one vineyard and producer to another. One can find Ghemme wines with floral aromas, or refined notes and spice. It is dry with a slightly bitter background. Some acidity is evident, even though sapidity is balanced and tannins have softened in the long aging.
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