A taste of Ovada

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One of the perks of going to the EWBC is the persons you meet. At the 2011 EWBC I met wine maker Tomaso Armento from Ovada, Piedmont. He brought with his own wine from the winery Forti Del Vento – btw a really good wine. Besides this he also brought with him a couple of fantastic vintage wines; a Dolcetto from 1990 and 1991. For me it was news that Dolcetto not only would last for 20+ years but also develop to something really, really nice  – the 1990 was amazing, it held a fantastic acid and had deep sweet mature notes of dark cherries, peppers, a silky finish with some bitterness towards the end – amazing, the 1991 was also great but the 1990 was amazing. One of the best wine experiences at the conference – Many thanks and lots of cudos to Tomaso for sharing this.

Tomaso Armentos vineyards are set in the Alto Monferrato Ovadese hills, in southern Piedmont, in the commune Ovada near the village Rocca Grimalda. The wines are Ovada DOCG or Dolcetto di Ovada Superiore DOCG – I must confess I hadn’t heard about it before. This might be due to the fact that it’s quite new, the DOCG status was granted in 2008, and that the only product at the Swedish monopoly Systembolaget from Ovada I’ve found is a grappa; Grappa di Dolcetto d’Ovada from Distilleria Gualco.

2009 Ottotori Ovada was the wine Tomaso Armento brought with him. A wine I got to taste on several occasion during the conference and fell in love with. The wine is made on 100 % Dolcetto and aged for one year in wood and refined in the bottle. The wine is a well balanced with notes of dark berries such as black cherry, plum and blackberry, a nice oak touch with some spices and fantastic tannins and nice little bitterness in the end. It’s well structured, with a nice body and a long lingering finish – delish!

We tried several wines from this area during one of the tastings at the EWBC, they all carried a few common traits – they where personal in style, quite tanninic but well balanced, elegant and well structured. You could feel they were related, but the personality puts them apart. I would love to come and explore the Ovada area, the wines and local food. My impression is that these wines are made to enjoy with food and that there is much to expect in such a visit.

The wines we tasted were; 2008 Ninan from Rossi Contini, 2008 Gamondino from La Guardia (not to not to be confused with the NY airport), 2008 Sant’Evasio from Gaggino, 2009 Orchestra from I Pola and as mentioned 2009 Ottotori from Forti del Vento. All well worth a try. If I remember right the producers held 2009 as better vintage than 2008 though 2008s were very nice as well.

Unfortunately I don’t have many pictures from this tasting due to some smudge on the lens on my camera, though I have few from my cell phone. Here are Tomaso Armento (to the left), Fabio Contini (chairmen of the èOvada consortium and producer of Rossi Contini in the middle) and Franco Gaggino (to the right) while presenting their wines and Ovada DOCG. Fabio Contini told my a fun anecdote when he heard I was from Sweden, every Wednesday or so he plays tennis with one of my childhood heroes and one of my favourite Swedish football players Glenn Strömberg. So Glenn if you happen to read this, please pick up some wines from and add them to your otherwise nice food line and Glenn Strömberg wine Collection :)

Thanks for the wines, the experience – but foremost for interesting conversations: Grazie!

Magnus Reuterdahl

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