About The Wine
Vallelona is the flagship of this dingy-sized operation. (It is indeed a small cantina but mighty, like its appellation!) What is most striking about Nebbiolo grown in the soil of Lessona is its subtle and equally substantial aromas that are unlike any expression I’ve experienced with this varietal. It hits all the markers expected from Nebbiolo (rose, tar, anise, and great structure) but here they transcend the weight and power of the Langhe with an angelic rise of elegance from the glass—especially whenever Northern Piedmont’s maestro enologist, Cristiano Garella, is involved. A well respected wine writer once mistakenly lumped Lessona into the mix of all of northern Piedmont Nebbiolo wines as “a rather less pure form than a great Barolo.” This oversight is easy to make if a Lessona wine is tasted next to its local brethren, or to a Barolo where it’s like putting a ballerina in the ring with a heavyweight boxer.
Famous Italian wine writers of the late 1800s and early 1900s considered Lessona wines the greatest reds in all of Italy, and in the right hands it can represent one of the most pure expressions of Nebbiolo. The weight and power of Nebbiolo from further south (in the Langhe) often overwhelms the senses when compared to Lessona’s hyper-detailed and intricately refined expression. Lessona’s volcanic sand, with its imposed metal and mineral streak in the palate, is impossible to miss, and the grape is equally obvious. It could be the Chambolle-Musigny of Piedmont, and no one who knows and drinks (not only tastes) Burgundy would dare ding one because of its finesse and purity. Like Lessona, Chambolle-Musigny can get lost in the context of bigger wines and can be better served alone.
The Nebbiolo grapes for this wine, while labeled as Coste della Sesia, are entirely grown within the Lessona appellation, but due to an archaic technicality (already mentioned The Story), it’s not labeled as one because the winery it’s made in sits only fifteen feet over the border of Lessona and primarily inside the Coste della Sesia appellation, so it can only be labeled as a Costa della Sesia. It seems obvious to state that a wine should be labeled by the origin of its grapes, not the location of the cellar it was crafted in!