Gattinara, an introduction



Gattinra is the type of wine you pull out when you want to impress the company you’re having over for dinner without breaking the bank. Its incredible flavor and modest price make it an ideal choice for a night out or as a hostess gift. It pairs well with poultry, red meats, and cheese.

According to Total Wine “Gattinara is a small DOCG zone between Turin and Milan, where the local wine is made with the Piedmont’s superstar red grape, Nebbiolo. It must age for three years, including two in barrels; a Riserva version requires an additional year in barrels. Gattinara wines have had an excellent reputation since ancient times, with the best examples full-bodied and elegant with hints of violets and spice, approaching the power and flavor of Barolo at a fraction of the price.”

Embracing new flavors

I was fortunate to get to taste my first glass of Gattinara at a Wine by the Bay tasting. Cinzia Travaglini was gracious enough to lead a tasting of four wines from her family’s vineyard. You could tell that the passion of winemaking literally runs through her veins.  Her appreciation for the craft and commitment to quality really shined throughout her presentation. In the end, she was gracious enough to sign the bottle I had purchased.


The winery was established in the 1920s by Clemente Travaglini in Gattinara, Italy.  The estate is now in the capable hands of Cinzia Travaglini, great-granddaughter of Clemente and her husband Massimo Collauto. Cinzia oversees the operations at the winery and her husband is the chief winemaker.

At first taste the wine was soft. Its quiet elegance really blew me away. Grattinara is a departure from my much beloved big bold reds. I’m not a subtle person and that’s definitely reflected in my wine taste. Suffice to say I will now have to make more of an effort to try wines outside of my usual big, jammy wheelhouse.

This medium-bodied wine is minerally, which is always a plus for me. I remember hearing stories as a little girl about my aunt who had the family send her dirt from North Carolina to Dallas, Texas.  Apparently, she was homesick and having a spoonful to place on the inside of her cheek was the only thing that gave her relief form a very rough pregnancy. After seeing a physician she was diagnosed with Pica.  The American Pregnancy Association defines the condition as ‘Pica is the practice of craving substances with little or no nutritional value. Most pregnancy and pica related cravings involve non-food substances such as dirt or chalk. The word pica is Latin for magpie which is a bird notorious for eating almost anything.” I don’t have Pica but my obsession with earthy flavors cannot be denied.

My introduction to Grattinara is yet another reminder to get out of my wine rut.  I decided to try one new wine a week and really try to learn as much as possible about it. The wine world is vast and it takes commitment to explore it properly. Cheers to stepping outside of our comfort zones and finding a new wine to love!

I was hosted by Wine by the bay but purchased the wine pictured. All opinions are my own.


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