Nas-cëtta, Part 2 – twelve Novello producers and their wines
Nascetta, Part 1, looked at the rediscovery of Nas-cëtta. Local producers rescued this semi-aromatic white grape variety, which survived only in Novello in Piemonte. In 2010, the Langhe DOC exclusively authorised the production of white wine in Novello using only 100% Nascetta grapes, creating a dedicated subzone called Langhe Nas-cëtta del Comune di Novello DOC. The Association Produttori then came together in 2014 and now has twelve members.
Two groups of enthusiasts enjoyed these wines. Ten wines were from the 2019 vintage, with two from 2020. Both had similar conditions, where a wet spring followed a dry winter, but fine weather lasted through harvest after that.
Alcohol levels vary from 12.5% to 14%, with an average of 13% – that’s well above the stipulated minimum of 11.5%. A note on the winemaking: general practice is to ferment in stainless steel tanks and then mature the wines on their lees in stainless steel. Assume this situation unless there is a significant variation mentioned. All use cork closures; none have screwcaps.
UK stockists and prices show where available. Italian prices are at the Cantina Comunale in Novello. Click on the interactive map below for winery locations and further details.
An interactive map showing the producers
Anas-cëtta, 2019, 13%
Background: Elvio Cogno is perhaps best known for Barolo Cru Ravera. However, in 1994, the late Elvio was one of the original Nascetta pioneers, alongside son-in-law Valter Fissore. In 1996 Nadia Cogno and Valter took over the estate, which is now in organic conversion. Valter is also the President of the Producers Association. They have two hectares of Nascetta.
This wine maturation is split, with 30% of the wine in inert 1,500-litre Slavonian oak casks for three months and 70% in stainless steel on the lees. After blending, the wine rests in the bottle for another three months. There are 10-12,000 bottles made each year, using DIAM 1o corks.
Tasting Note: Straw colour, green glints. Acacia flower and sage scents. Grapefruit and sage on the palate, savoury and flinty length. While drinking now, its best years are still ahead as it will evolve in bottle.
Nascetta, 2019, 12.5%
Background: Arnaldo Rivera is the premium brand created in 2017 by the Terre del Barolo cooperative with 300 members. Arnaldo Rivera was the man who set up the coop in 1958. Sustainability projects include conversion to organics, rainwater capture, and solar power at the winery. Their Nascetta vines in Novello have an old plot in the Ravera Cru dating back to 1963. The wine spends eight months on the lees, followed by another year in bottle.
Tasting Note: Super balance and precision here, that purity and freshness show through—aromatics of apricot and white flowers. Linear and focused, majoring on freshness and with that telltale salinity on the finish. Average of 6,500 bottles per year.
UK Availability: Christopher Keiler, £21.00 each (Min 6)
Nas-cëtta, 2019, 13.5%
Background: This artisanal winery grows Nascetta in their Belmonda vineyard. The winemaking uses foot-pressing. Maturation is on the lees for nine months before another three months in the bottle.
Tasting Note: Straw yellow, a shade deeper than some examples. Aromas of apple, citrus and sage, reprised on a full-bodied palate offering a rich texture with a persistent finish featuring a final tasty lick of salt.
UK Availability: N/A UK. Italy Guide Price €13.
Nas-cëtta, 2019, 13%
Background: La Pergola is a small family winery; their Nascetta dates from 2012, with the first wine being the 2014 vintage released in 2015. There are now 3,800 bottles each year. Winemaking involves a two-day cryomaceration before fermentation to extract aroma and flavour.
Tasting Note: Straw yellow, a pronounced aroma of acacia flowers. The palate is reminiscent of the wet-wool flavour found with Chenin Blanc. A hint of tannin with grapefruit and citrus before an almond and mineral finish. A different expression but an excellent Nascetta with plenty of structure to age well.
UK Availability: N/A UK. Italy Guide Price €11.
Nas-cëtta, 2019, 12.5%
Background: This winery was established by the Sartirano family back in 1871. They operate the “Piedmontese” business model, with 7 hectares of their vines plus the purchase of grapes from contract growers. They first planted Nascetta in 2007, with their first vintage in 2010. The wine matures for five months on the lees.
Tasting Note: Deep yellow, with aromas and flavours of ginger spice, apricot and aniseed. It finishes with marzipan and lip-smacking salinity. It seems highly evolved, so drink now.
UK Availability: Strictly Wine, £13.22
Nas-cëtta, 2020, 13.5%
Background: In 2015, this winery started bottling its reds and also released its first Nascetta. Their Nascetta gets five months on the lees. Bottling uses Nomacorc “select green 100” closure, and the attractive label suggests some of the fruit and herb flavours found in the wine.
Tasting Note: A year younger, it’s a bright yellow-green and relatively subdued on the nose at this stage. In contrast, the palate is exuberant, with citrus, pear, apple and passionfruit flavours before a welcome kick of salinity. It finishes savoury, long and clean. There will be more to come as it ages.
UK Availability: N/A UK, Italy Guide Price €14.
Pasinot, 2019, 14%
Background: Founded in 1988, Le Strette is certified sustainable. An early pioneer, they made their first 800 bottles in 1999. They now make two Nas-cëtta wines. Pasinot is from a single vineyard with the oldest vines planted in 1948. Le Strette first made it in 2014. The maturation is more extended, with twelve months on the lees, followed by six months in the bottle.
Tasting Note: Notable intensity. Yellow with golden hints, explosive aromatics, particularly aniseed. The palate has a savoury undertow, with passionfruit and orange. Again, there’s a precision balance and a dancer’s lightness of touch while retaining an impression of power. A final saline kick on a long fade. Terrific and memorable now but with even more potential for evolution.
Giuàna, 2019, 12.5%
Background: Growers for many years, the Vietto family began winemaking and bottling in 2000. Their one hectare of organic Nascetta is from 2005, in two plots. Six months on the lees.
Tasting Note: This yellow-green wine opens up in the glass, showing white flowers and apricot-like fruit with a savoury balsamic edge and a salty finish. It’s a delightful, elegant wine from beginning to end.
UK Availability: N/A UK, Italy Guide Price €11.
Nas-cëtta, 2019, 14%
Background: A small family winery with three hectares of vines, including Nascetta, using sustainable agriculture. Their first vintage was in 2017. The winemaking adopts a different style here; the first part of fermentation is stainless steel, but it finishes off in small oak barrels and then matures in those for four months on the lees. There’s also a Grappa made from their Nascetta pomace.
Tasting Note: There’s more power here, while the acidity is focused and well balanced to it. There’s citrus, peach and thyme on the nose and palate. The salinity shows on the finish. Excellent wine and a different expression, though the varietal character shines through.
UK Availability: N/A UK, Italy Guided Price €15.
Nas-cëtta, 2019, 13%
Background: Passone were growers and sold their grapes, but now make and bottle their wines. Hence their first vintage of Nascetta was in 2019. They also make “Bolletta”, a Brut Zero Metodo Classico sparkling with 36 months on the lees.
Tasting Note: Yellow-green. Hints of orange muscat on the nose, fresh palate, saline bite, pear, apple, a little sage, and ginger spice. Excellent length and complexity.
UK Availability: N/A UK, Italy guide price €16.
Nas-cëtta, 2019, 13%
Background: With ten hectares of vines in total, 2015 marked Luca Marenco’s first vintage, while the first Nascetta was in 2018. On this evidence, this young man has a very bright future!
Tasting Note: Nascetta’s typicity shows well, being straw yellow in the glass, with aromas of white flowers. The wine is well balanced, with citrus and herbs such as sage and rosemary on the palate. There’s a marked salinity, but this is not aggressive, imparting a clean and fresh finish.
UK Availability: N/A UK, Italy Guide Price €15.
Nas-cëtta, 2020, 13%
Background: The Stra family have been growers and winemakers in Novello for 200 years. They have one hectare of Nascetta, planted in 2012. This wine is the 2020 vintage and so a year younger than most here.
Tasting Note: This is a fresh and well-balanced wine. Yellow with green glints, aromas of herbs and white flowers. The palate has pear and citrus fruit overlaying a savoury edge and a flinty minerality. Best kept for a year or two to allow for some development.
UK Availability: N/A UK, Italy guide price €12.
Food matching suggestions
Nas-cëtta is versatile. You can happily drink it on its own, but it’s a gastronomic wine to enjoy when young and vibrant or when older and more complex. Whatever your choice, serve lightly chilled to let the nuances of the wine show.
These wines enabled experiments with some food ideas. The most successful pairings were:
Trout baked with almonds and fennel;
Hake fillet with salty Samphire;
Fish Pie with a béchamel sauce;
Chard, lemon and Cheese Pie. The filo pastry is a perfect foil;
Haslet with potato salad served cold;
Pasta with a choice of either truffle shavings, truffle oil or pesto;
Other Tasting opportunities
Sadly, not all these wines come to the UK, which is not surprising given the often small quantities made. Hence take a trip to Novello to experience them all!
Of course, once there you can visit the wineries directly. Also, you can taste and buy all these producer wines at La Cantina Comunale di Novello.
Not only does Nascetta/Nas-cëtta have a strong identity, so does the Producer’s Association. The members taste together and share experiences and ideas. Nascetta, just like Nebbiolo, is a grape variety capable of different expressions and nuances based on terroir and winemaker interpretation, even though there is a common varietal thread linking them all.
Moreover, these Novello wines prove that Nascetta is no novelty. Instead, it’s one of Langhe’s outstanding wines.
My thanks to the Produttori. Meanwhile, if you see Nascetta (or Nas-cëtta), then buy it. You’ll soon go back for more!
La Cantina Comunale di Novello
Via Roma, 8A
12060 Novello (CN)
Return to Part 1