Villa Sparina and its Gavi: more than just a wine
April 10, 2023
Gavi is a wine, a place, and home to the wine estate Villa Sparina that sits in Monterotondo, right in the middle of the Gavi DOCG region in Piedmont, Italy’s northwest. An early morning drive to the estate reveals undulating hills and fog, the latter commonplace within Piedmont, covering the plethora of vineyards around Villa Sparina. Picturesque and charming, the estate’s 18th-century farmhouse greets you with beauty and a stately nature. More than 200 acres of vineyards and meadows benefit from the cool, calm breezes of the Ligurian Sea and are the perfect backdrop for a tranquil day with a book or tasting.
While northwestern Italy is known mostly for its famous red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, made from the Nebbiolo grape, the white wine, Gavi, also excels. The Gavi DOCG is located within the province of Alessandria and sits about one-hour southeast of Piedmont’s capital, Turin, where the 2006 Winter Olympics were held. Gavi DOCG is home to the white wine with the same name as the region and is made from the Cortese grape variety.
The Villa Sparina estate shines bright and reveals the vision of the Moccagatta family that includes the 4-star Ostelliere hotel, the La Gallina restaurant, and Villa Sparina winery and cellars, together rounding out a complete culinary, food, wine, and hospitality experience. Run by siblings Stefano, Tiziana and Massimo, Villa Sparina has a history dating back to the ‘70s when Mario and his wife Bruna Moccagatta began the farm, although the property dates back to the 18th century. Each sibling has a specific role in the estate. Stefano manages the estate’s public relations and the resort’s restaurant that please clients with traditional Piemontese dishes, like vitello tonnato; Tiziana oversees the resort surrounded by nature; Massimo works in tandem with Tiziana and Stefano bringing all together beautifully.
While Villa Sparina has a varied portfolio of high-quality wines – with different tiers of Barbera, Rose (Monferatto Chiaretto DOC), sparkling wine (Brut Metodo Classico Blanc di Blancs), Montej Bianco (a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc) and its Gavis del comune di Gavi, that takes center stage and are for what the estate is most known. Three different levels compose the Gavi line – the Villa Sparina 10 anni Gavi del comune di Gavi that sits 12 months in wood, 9 months in steel and then 10 years in bottle in the historical Villa Sparina cellars; the black label Monterotondo Gavi del comune di Gavi DOCG that rests in the cellars for two years; and the classic yellow label Gavi del comune di Gavi DOCG that goes into bottle right after fermentation in order to be enjoyed young with its fresh vibrancy.
The wines of Villa Sparina are easily identifiable due to its unique bottle shape, slightly different than a classically shaped wine bottle. The bottle’s designer gained inspiration from an old vase found on the property. The bottle shape and its golden hue are icons, and they have since become synonymous with Villa Sparina wines.
Villa Sparina dedicates almost 75 percent of its total land to the growing of the Cortese grape variety, indigenous to that region. The vineyards also comprise a specific historic vineyard site -Monterotondo – that dates back to 1945 and is from where the cru Monterotondo Gavi comes. Another highlight is the Rivalta vineyard site in which its top Barbera is grown.
The property is only overshadowed by the grand, kind and jovial presence of Stefano who was our guide upon a recent visit leading us through the winery and historic cellars, the latter taking us back in time as we meandered through the carved-out archways. Listening intently as Stefano spoke in Italian, we learned how the cellar houses some of its dried meats as well as its top level and sparkling wines, where they rest in a temperature-controlled environment, perfecting their structure and balance. Wines from its cru Monterotondo vineyard age for 10 years in the cellar. You can tell this differentiation by their taste and the label, which dons the words Villa Sparina 10 anni.
One visit to Villa Sparina is not enough. It is a symphony of experiences, tranquility and personalities that make you want to see the Moccagatta family again.
Learn more about all the wines on Villa Sparina’s page.
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