Marco Petterino is a tiny, and very much under-the-radar producer of the DOCG of Gattinara. With a mere 2½ hectares of vineyards in total, spread out among several parcels, his production is about 1300 cs per year. Petterino’s holdings are exceptional for the appellation with vineyards in three of the top cru’s in Gattinara – Permolone, Castelle and Guardie which are all are southwest-facing.
Gattinara is located just west of the appellation of Ghemme, though on the opposite side of the Sesia River. Here the soils are geologically very similar to those in the nearby Alps, including granites, polyphories, quartzes and numerous ferrous minerals which give the ground its typical reddish hue. These help to infuse an underlying base of minerality to the wines as well. The viticulture and winemaking at Petterino are fairly traditional. Grapes are harvested by hand. Fermentation lasts for about 15 days after which the wine goes into 25HL botti for three years, followed by a minimum 6 months in stainless steel to clarify naturally before bottling. In most vintages it would therefore be eligible for a “Riserva” designation if he chose to use it (though he does not). In fact, the reclusive Petterino releases his wines much later than his counterparts, usually 9-10 years after the harvest!
Petterino’s wines are classic examples of Gattinara from the northern reaches of Piedmont. His style is elegant and aromatic showing more of the floral side of Nebbiolo (aka Spanna, as it is called in the area) as well as iron, anise and berries. The wines are approachable on release, but have an additional potential for evolution of 10-15 years.