Review: 2001 Travaglini Gattinara
Hey, Chianti isn’t the only Italian wine out there, folks. Give Travaglini’s Gattinara a try. Even if you don’t like it, you’ll enjoy talking about the bottle, I promise.
This wine is from Gattinara in Italy’s Piedmont region and is 100% Nebbiolo, the critical grape in Barolo wines. As with Barolo, Gattinara can be big and tannic, full of spice that overpowers the cherry fruit below. But Travalini’s Gattinara is considerably softer, noticeably lacking the crushing earthiness that big Barolos and Barbarescos can exhibit.
I’ve had numerous vintages of Travaglini Gattinara in the past, rating the 1996 vintage an A- and 2000 a solid A. The 2001 is still good, but not a knockout like 2000. The herbal notes here are just too much, relegating the fruit core to an afterthought, when it really ought to be the other way around.
Oh, and about that funky bottle. It’s not just to be unique, it’s so that sediment stays trapped on that steep slope instead of pouring into the glass. Pretty nifty, huh? And now you have some cocktail party conversation fodder.
B+ / $25 / travaglinigattinara.it
Interesting tale… though isn’t all wine easy enough to pour with one hand?
I heard (and this may be false) from a owner of an Italian restaurant (whom I trust) that Gattinara was the wine the pope poured, the bottle being of odd shape to easily grasp with one hand.
Hey Dave can i ask where you heard this story from? i have heard the same thing but cant find anything about it.
The story is that Cardinal Mercurino Gattinara introduced this wine to the nobility of Europe, inventing as it were, the diplomatic luncheon. When he was named to the Curia of Pope Clement VII, he also introduced this wine to him. Clement was said to have loved this wine so much that the winery made a mold of his hand so that the bottles would fit into it more comfortably. In a day when wine was poured by a steward and tasted for poison before being drunk by those in power, who can say that this is true? But it is a great legend anyway.
How are the 2000’s holding up? I’ve saved a couple and am wondering how others are finding them, 15 years on. Agree with you about the vintage, though it’s been at least three or four years since I tried my last one.
Having just come from a luncheon with the Travaglinis, I can say with a degree of certainty that it was Cardinal Arboria Mercurino who introduced Gattinara wine to the clergy and the royal court of Spain. It’s a myth that the bottle was designed for the Pope’s hand. It was indented to catch sediment, and its design is credited to Giancarlo Travaglini.
Roberta – funny, had lunch with the Travaglinis in their SF visit last week — my report from that tasting (and more on the bottle) will be love shortly. Cheers!