La Bollina Winery is one to watch. This impressive Italian estate is creating innovative, fun, amazing value wines. Thanks to its high quality and uniqueness, this winery has quickly become Luca Maroni’s darling, who has blessed it with impressive reviews year after year.
La Bollina is located in Serravalle Scrivia AL, Italy. A municipality in the province of Alessandria, about 62 miles southeast of Turin. This historical territory was for centuries the residence of the Marchioness Figari of Genova. A 300-acre winery, surrounded by hills and chestnut forests, is where La Bollina’s magnificent wines are born.
Besides having 70 acres of cultivated vineyards, and an excellent and well-equipped cellar, in La Bollina you can find luxury accommodation for guests: An “Art Nouveau” style villa, a modern 4-star hotel, and a 9-hole golf course that expands throughout the vineyards. Bollina winery is completely renovated and has some of the most advanced techniques, systems, and instruments in modern winemaking.
Andrea Bernardini, La Bollina’s consultant, is a passionate winemaker who has hit numerous home runs. In 2007, he graduated from Pisa, one of the best schools of enology in Italy. He earned his chops at Poggio Bonelli and Ruffino in Tuscany and trained in South Africa, Romania and Greece. After several years of experience, he is now a flying winemaker blending tradition and modern techniques to obtain high-quality wines with respect to the expression of the different grapes and terroir in which he works. He works hand in hand with Alex to produce magical wines.
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Labrat checking in!
We got a great note from Alice asking if we would be up for a last minute rattage just a few days ago. Obviously we accepted, or we wouldn’t be typing this up. The wine showed up on Monday, which was a pleasant surprise! we had 2 whole days before the wine launched.
The bottle has a fun label, and all the kids were able to “see” different shapes in the dots on the front label, like a stereographic image.
Obligatory rear label
The wine is a deep, dark purple, tinted to burgundy (sorry for the wine color) at the edges.
Initial aroma of deep dark berries and a bit of spice like cinnamon or maybe clove. This was much more powerful than expected upon initial pop and pour. However, I then checked the label and noted how young it is at 2021.
Youthfulness was abundantly clear with the tannin face-smash upon first sip. This definitely could use some age to smooth those out. That said, after the next couple sips to adjust to the tannin sharpness, some of those dark fruits come through. Some good acidity as well. After 30 minutes, not huge change, though a bit more bramble and a hint of shift to red cherry from black.
Still, was a decent pairing with the baked pasta (red sauce) at dinner.
We actually left half of the bottle to sit on the counter overnight. Second night, we had it with (fake) chickn parm with a more robust, flavorful pasta sauce than the marinara used the previous dinner. The tannins were still there after 24 hours of being open, but significantly muted… could probably use another number of hours. I thought of using the vinturi after dinner was over, which was unfortunate timing. Definitely turning more plum, but still darker fruits, and that nice acidity to complement the food. Possibly noted a bit of coffee as well.
All in all, I thought it will be a really nice bottle after a few years in the cellar. I’m not experienced enough to know whether that’s really 1 or 3 or 8, but certainly seemed to show structure enough for a good bit of time. I said to Michelle that I thought it would be a good buy around $15/bottle. so the price seems about right for good QPR.
Additional notes from Michelle, the official labrat:
Dark pretty purple
Has that hint of bubble I don’t prefer on initial tasting
It’s definitely young but still drinkable now. Probably could have used a decant.
I am liking it more as I drink it. Goes okay with the baked pasta. Goes really well with the rolls.
12 year old said it looks like cranberries and it’s not very strong. She wants it to be stronger.
Day 2. Mellow. Not quite as good as day 1 but I traditionally like tight unopened wines. Still delicious. Long slow legs. Goes well with basil pesto.
I had the pleasure of trying this over the last couple of evenings. Planned meals were not great for this wine so I chose to enjoy without food. I will also say I have some pretty solid congestion from a cold that I’m getting over still.
I drink very little wine from Italy and have never knowingly had this varietal so a different experience for me as opposed to someone more versed in Italian wines.
First thing I noticed was that it’s a baby, a 2021 red, hopefully it’s approachable and opens quickly.
I opened it a couple hours before trying.
Wine pours a clear medium deep red, a little purplish at the core. The nose is very aromatic and smells it age. Full of ripe red fruit, with some noticeable oak. A little bit of mint in the background and ever slight bit of mustiness. My wife noted some pepper as well that I didn’t pick up.
Tasting the wine it’s medium bodied, dry, smooth with low to minimal tannins.
I’d strike it as balanced but could use a bit more acidity for my taste. Flavors are red fruit dominate with mostly tart cherry with a some oak/vanilla.
I’ll be honest I didn’t love this wine, my cold may have left me not the best judge of this though. Maybe some Italian food might have been a good fit and coaxed out some of the better qualities. It just maybe felt a little uninteresting to me.
Day 2 was similar, a bit more enjoyable. More pronounced fruit, smoother.
Or maybe that’s my congestion starting to clear out, I’m feeling like I wasnt really able to give this bottle the ratting it deserved.
Maybe I’m being a bit picky, but Montepulciano is not a varietal. It’s a city in Tuscany. (I’ve been there - a must-go on any traveler’s bucket list.) Same logic as Chianti, Burgundy, Champagne, you get it.
The varietal is Sangiovese, also used in the Chianti region, as well as the famous Brunello, made in Mantalcino, not all that far from Montepulciano.
The variety in style and product of Sangiovese in Italy is as diverse as any thing I’ve seen - from a $5 bottle of “Tuscan” red to the Brunello at $150.
I think Rat #1 has it pegged correctly - and let it lie for about 5 years….
@kaolis I can confirm; we just came back from a trip to Italy - we visited the city of Montepulciano and sampled the Vino Nobilo there. Our traveling companions were also thrown off by the city vs. grape distinction.
On the fence about this one. I DO love Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (my family is from Abruzzi) but it can vary greatly in quality, and not sure I want to buy something that NEEDS to be aged this much. Sigh.