Cantina Delsignore is one of the historic producers in the Gattinara appellation. We came to know Stefano Dorelli, the owner of the cantina, through our friends Marco and Giancarlo Petterino. Stefano has helped the Petterino brothers with some administrative tasks as they are humble growers (who don't know from e-mail!?) and an even smaller estate than Delsignore!
The roots of the Cantina Delsignore estate date back to when Stefano’s grandfather, Attilio Delsignore, married Elsa Nervi of the Nervi family. As with many marriages, theirs brought a union of their landholdings which included the key parcels in Valferana and Permolone. At the time they were true contadini, or farmers, and not only produced grapes and wine, but also grain, potatoes and fruit as well as a bevy of animals. Sadly, Attilio passed away when Stefano was just ten years old, and at the time, no one was available to assume responsibility for the estate. Stefano’s father had his own career but decided to take care of one part of the vineyards to continue with the family’s tradition. The family mostly sold grapes to other producers but made a small amount of table wine for the family’s consumption. Finally, ten years later, Stefano left his career to return to Gattinara full-time and take control and revitalize the family estate.
At the time Stefano came back to the winery, the estate was made up of just about one hectare. He then purchased 1 ½ additional hectares and rented a half hectare, making a total of 3 hectares of vineyards in total, including parcels located in the top crus of Permolone, Valferana and Lurghe.
The focus of their production is on two Gattinara bottlings – a Riserva called Borgofranco, a non-riserva Gattinara called Il Putto, and a Costa della Sesia bottling called La Crotta. The La Crotta is also 100% Nebbiolo and essentially de-classified Gattinara, though it is lower in alcohol and not aged for long enough to be officially labelled as such. In addition to the reds, they make miniscule amounts of Erbaluce Bianco and a Nebbiolo-based Rosato.
The winemaking here is strictly traditional. Macerations are fairly long, and the Gattinaras are all aged in older, used Botti. The Costa della Sesia, by contrast, is aged in slightly smaller, neutral oak casks. These are classic, dense, chewy Nebbioli that show the beautiful savory aromatics and flavors of the Alto Piemonte, dried cherries, wild mountain herbs, licorice and sandlewood. While drinkable on release, these wines have the requisite structure to reward cellaring in the medium to long term.