Vallana Piedmont Wine Tasting with owner Francis Fogarty

Thursday, November 1, 2018 - 07:30 PM

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Maya (advising Miles against being overly fussy about when he will drink a vintage Bordeaux wine he owns): "You know, the day you open a '61 Cheval Blanc … that's the special occasion."


At Wine Watch we think that everyday above ground is a special occasion that’s why we have so many “Once in Lifetime” tastings! 

We have hit the subject of Champagne hard this month but my other favorite wine is Nebbiolo and we have one of the legends of the Alto Piedmont in town for this event.

Our history and love affair with Vallana began when our good friend Bob Maliner brought a bottle of the 1953 Vallana Spanna to an Angelo Gaja tasting and this wine was picked as WOTN blind.  Unfortunately, the wines were out of the US market for years and we could not be more excited to have these wines back in the States and we are proud to showcase this thrilling producer from Alto Piemonte with the owner Francis Fogarty on Thursday November 1st.

Join us as we welcome Francis Fogarty to South Florida for a special dinner at the Wine Watch.  Toni Lampasone will be making a special meal to accompany the tasting wines and the fee for this event is $95 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail


Image result for Francis Fogarty vallana winery
Vallana Piedmont Wine Tasting with Special Guest owner Francis Fogarty
Thursday, November 1, 2018
7:30 PM
Image result for 2015 Antonio Vallana Barbera
2015 Antonio Vallana Barbera
Price: $15.00    Your Price: $13.20               Quantity in Stock: 26

Barbera is a very vigorous and productive variety, thus it needs to be managed through proper pruning and planting density. The clusters are big and compact, and the grapes are rich in sugar, acidity, soft tannins and color. Vallana’s viticultural philosophy is sustainable farming. The grapes are ready for harvest in mid-September and they are handpicked in small boxes. Fermentation takes place in large cement tanks and lasts for about one week. The wine is unoaked, and it rests in large cement vessels for up to one year before bottling. The wine is perfect to drink young, but it is also surprisingly suitable for medium to long aging.

Combines fresh red fruits and spicy notes, a good acidity and soft tannins. The wine is medium bodied and very refreshing, matching a wide variety of foods. It’s made in a very classic, old school Piedmont style.

Image result for 2015 Antonio Vallana Spanna Colline Novaresi DOC

2015 Antonio Vallana Spanna Colline Novaresi DOC
Price: $23.50    Your Price: $20.68               Quantity in Stock: 54

"Vallana’s Colline Novaresi DOC is 100% Spanna, the local name for Nebbiolo in the Alto Piemonte. The grapes come exclusively from the Colline Novaresi DOC, a growing area characterized by old vines and high altitudes. The Colline Novaresi is the left bank of the river Sesia, while across the river is Coste della Sesia Spanna, home to the well-known Ghemme region. This ruby-red wine shows a deep aroma of spices and red fruit. Gentle yet persistent flavors of red and black fruits on the palate."

Image result for 2013 Antonio Vallana e Figlio Boca DOC

2013 Antonio Vallana e Figlio Boca DOC
Price: $32.50    Your Price: $28.60               Quantity in Stock: 30

Boca is a rare and precious wine produced in a very tiny area of Alto Piemonte, around the village of Boca, on the eastern side of the River Sesia.  The wine is a traditional blend of native grape varieties: Nebbiolo (65-70%), Vespolina  and Uva Rara. Nebbiolo confers the structure and the aromatic background; Vespolina and Uva Rara add freshness and some interesting varietal notes.

The varieties are hand picked separately, each one at its perfect ripening time.  Fermentation occurs in large cement tanks and the wines ages for 2 years in medium-large oak barrels. Another 1-2 years in bottle are necessary for the wine to start to develop it’s potential.  This unique wine shows the most elegant nose, with spicy and fruity notes and a silky smooth palate, long and persistent.  Boca is a wine suitable for long and very long aging.

Image result for 2008 Antonio Vallana Gattinara DOCG

2008 Antonio Vallana Gattinara DOCG
Price: $45.50    Your Price: $40.04              

Gattinara d.o.c.g. is the King of Alto Piemonte. It fills with astonishment those who try it for the first time, and it is always a marvelous habit for those who already love it.  Gattinara is a 100% Nebbiolo wine produced only in the town of Gattinara, on the western side of the River Sesia,

The grapes are handpicked in the first half of October and they are vinified in large cement tanks. The wine matures for at least 2 years in large oak barrels. It takes a few years in the bottle to fully develop its potential.  The wine is austere and elegant, with a large and complex aroma, gentle and deep on the palate.  Gattinara is a Nebbiolo with a vocation for long and very long aging.

Image result for 2002 Antonio Vallana Gattinara DOCG

2002 Antonio Vallana Gattinara DOCG
Price: $50.75    Your Price: $44.66               Quantity in Stock: 24

This is their cellar release and these wines even in difficult years like 2002 can age for 20+ years, this one is just starting to reach maturity.

Tagliatelle Egg Pasta Bolognese (veal ,pork,beef) with shaved reggiano Parmesan
Stewed Lamb Curry tossed with Buttery Spaetzle
Budino "Firm Chocolate-Hazelnut Pudding" served with amaretto cookies

The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $95 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail  Please let us know when you make your reservation that you are gluten free and we will make you food without it.


A bit about Vallana and the Alto Piedmont:

In Alto Piemonte viticulture was introduced in the II century BC, and the Vallana tradition in the wine business is lost in time. However, the first available news date back to 1787. In those days, the Canon Gaetano Perrucconi, was appointed butler of the Diocese by the Bishop of Novara. The priest devoted the family property of Montalbano (in the town of Boca) to the production of the best “Spanna” in order to match the quality needs of the highly demanding Bishop’s see.

At his death (1859), the vineyards were taken over by his young nephew-in-law  Bernardo Vallana “the Old”. In those days viticulture was very common: virtually everybody had a vineyard and produced home-made wine for the family. Wine was a very tough market, with a huge competition, and only very few of the best producers managed to make a living only from selling wine.

After the opening of the Simplon Railway Tunnel (1905) Bernardo and his son Antonio were the first to exploit the train to export Spanna to Switzerland and Germany.  Antonio, the last of 11 children, was the one who had a real passion for the vineyard. With his elder brothers emigrating and finding fortune abroad, he was the one who carried on his father’s work and tradition, expanding the business.

In the early years of the century he started to bottle each vineyard separately, understanding the different aging potential of the wines. Each handblown bottle had a typewritten card tied to the neck with a string, simply reporting the vintage and the vineyard. Some of these bottles are conserved in our cellars.

Antonio kept expanding the business. The local demand for table wine was growing as people increasingly abandoned farming to work in the newly born factories.  In 1937 Antonio Vallana and his 17-years-old son Bernardo eventually turned a small family business into a formal company establishing the “Antonio Vallana e Figlio”.

In 1980 Giuseppina Vallana married an English teacher, Guy Fogarty. Guy was trained a winemaker by Bernardo Vallana himself, during his last years. The meeting of a Alto-Piedmontese Italian woman with a passion for art and wine, with an English gentleman with a broad international experience produced the most elegant wines, that are still appreciated all over the world. The two faced the task of bringing viticulture and wine making into a new world of bureaucracy and regulations. As a result, some of the “old” cuvées lost or changed their name as the new denominations appeared: “Colline Novaresi Spanna DOC”, “Boca DOC” and “Gattinara DOCG”.

In the 80‘s and 90‘s the winery won several international prizes, reaching the 45th place in the top 100 wines of the world of the Wine Spectator in 1989. The couple’s last vintage is a superb 1996, produced just before Guy passed away, Giuseppina, kept running the business, with some help from her mother her children. Nonetheless, the family still managed to yield wonderful vintages. However the market situation combined with the family’s conditions forced Vallana to retire from some of the traditional markets.

As the Vallana family explains, Spanna, the local name for Nebbiolo, is a grape of terroir. While the Langhe showcases a beautiful expression, especially in the Barolo and Barbaresco regions, no list is complete without the wines of Alto Piemonte. Here, at the base of the Alps, at the foot of Monte Rosa, where the Mediterranean and Continental climates meet, Alto Piemonte takes on a charming and highly aromatic character. Alto Piemonte has acidic soils, rather than the alkaline soils of the Langhe, giving the wine its acid backbone and ultimately the structure and character that adds to the age ability. These vineyard sites are on gently sloping terraces along the left bank of the river Sesia and Lake Maggiore. Vallana owns vineyard sites within Colline Novaresi including the 2 important crus of Boca and Gattinara.
The classical labels that adorn Vallana’s bottles represent the family’s connection to the past, as well as their deep roots in the wine world. The estate as we know it today was formed in 1937, but the Vallana name was synonymous with great wine as early as the 18th century. Vallana is situated in the village of Maggiora in the Alto Piemonte, more than 100 miles north of Barolo. Today, the estate is run by Giuseppina Vallana, together with her son Francis (a Ph.D. in Viticulture and Oenology), and her daughters Marina and Miriam.

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