Elisa Semino of La Colombera is a brilliant and enthusiastic proponent of the Timorasso variety. She and her family have practiced organic viticulture on their 53 acre estate in the Colli Tortonesi region of southeastern Piedmonte for five generations. La Colombera has been a leading proponent for the indigenous Timorasso grape to express itself best in the Tortona hills of Colli Tortonesi.
Ian d’Agata describes Timorasso as ‘…crisp, high acid and very mineral; it will remind you of a very dry Riesling, with less sweet fruit when it is about five years of age or more. Before that, it has aromas and flavors of white flowers, unripe stone fruit, and bright citrus.’
Elisa Semino, who did her enology school thesis on the variety, makes two versions: the estate-bottled ‘Derthona’ (the old name for the nearby town of Tortona), and the single-vineyard ‘Il Montino.’ Montino is deeper, but the Derthona is an excellent, and less expensive introduction to the variety.
The 2018 Derthona is ‘100% Timorasso, from several vineyards on the estate, planted between 1997 and 2000. The vines are located at between 270 and 300 meters (900 to 1,000 feet) above sea level. The soils include both light and dark limestone-rich clay.
Harvest takes place typically in the middle of September. The grapes are macerated in the press for three hours before pressing; the wine is then fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks, and aged on the fine lees for at least 10 months before bottling. The wine is cold stabilized and filtered. Residual sweetness is 1.2 g/L (dry), and the SO2 is 70 ppm at bottling. Sixteen thousand bottles are produced each year.
This dry white wine is structured and elegant, and capable of aging for a surprisingly long time in bottle. On the nose the young wine shows notes of white peach, honeycomb, acacia, hawthorn blossom, and chamomile, and should develop smoky and mineral notes with age. On the palate, there are are savory notes to remind one the marl and rich clay soils. The fresh acidity of the wine allows it to improve in the bottle for many years.’
Best way to describe Timorasso is with one of Muhammad Ali’s old quotes: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!”