**Background: **Grignolino was the favored red wine of the Savoy aristocracy in the thirteenth century, prized for its light color and elegant mouthfeel. In the latter half of the 1800s, these wines often matched or exceeded the price of Barolo bottlings. The grape name likely derived from the word “grigné,” which is the local dialect for the pips, or grape seeds. Grignolino is rare among its fellow wine grape cultivars in that it has multiple pips per berry. In addition, the thin, delicate skins of the berry pose a challenge for winemakers aspiring to pull as much color from the skins as possible while avoiding the extraction of oftentimes harsh, green tannins from the pips. Accomplishing this oenological hat trick can result in brilliantly aromatic and brightly acidic expressions of Grignolino.
**Vineyard**: Estate fruit from vineyards situated around 280 meters above sea level. Southwest exposure. Calcareous-red clay soils. Many vines were planted in 1960, others more recently. 5,000 vines per hectare trained in the guyot style. Only 70 quintals per hectare harvested.
**Vinification**: Hand-harvested fruit is destemmed and then crushed by basket press into stainless-steel tanks, where it remains in contact with the skins for 7 days while native fermentation occurs. Following spontaneous malolactic fermentation, the wine rests in cement vessels for several months prior to release.
**Nose**: Beautiful floral notes of rose hip, violet, and geranium. Delicate, bright red fruit dominated by bing cherry mingles with fresh mushroom.
**Palate**: An underlying vein of stony minerality lends both texture and levity to this delightful bottling.
**Pairings**: Poached salmon, simple risotto with fresh herbs, and the classic Piedmontese dish called vitello tonnato. Typically chilled before serving, this red wine makes for a delicious “winter rosé.”
The singular wines of La Miraja have heretofore been impossible to find in the United States. The estate is nestled within the original castle of Castagnole Monferrato, constructed in the 11th century and retrofitted to serve as a cellar in the 1400s. In this armory-turned-cellar, Eugenio Gatti turns out Barbera d’Asti, Grignolino, and his fabled Ruché. A seventh-generation viticulturist, Eugenio personally tends to the oldest vineyard of Ruché in Castagnole Monferrato, the original birthplace of Ruché. It is here that Eugenio Gatti devotes his life’s work to producing 840 transcendent cases of wine each year.