La Maggiorina Le Piane 2009 (Colline Novaresi DOC, Piedmont) from Lea & Sandeman, £12.95 pb
This is how to do the new austere well: with a light, baby Barbaresco style wine from a near-abandoned region in Piedmont. Beautiful perfumes and tight tannins somehow make austere seem rich.
A fabulous wine yet with an honest country heart: violet, roses after rain, stewed cherry, and fresh-smelling wet forest twigs and gun shop, the expansive feeling of the perfume slowed down by refined tannins, like stopping on a mountain path to take photos of a richly-coloured sunset with a super-sharp lens.
From a once thriving wine-region 1-hour drive North-West of Milan, vineyards deserted in the 1950s for the textile industry, the Colline Novaresi DOC is in the highest and most eastern part of Piedmont. This is made near the town of Boca from the Nebbiolo grape which gives the wine a beautiful pale colour and perfume, also seen in expensive Barolo and Barbaresco, but contains up to 30% Croatina grape, a local variety which gives a violet colour and tannic quality slightly deeper than Dolcetto.
Three word review: Dramatic Luxury Lite
Image: Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello