Reporting from Alba’s Grande Langhe tasting is a bit like reporting from a Nebbiolo-themed Glastonbury.
The old stone town is mobbed with hundreds of producers, press and trade; all jostling to explore the thrilling diversity of the wines from Langhe’s famous hills.
There’s sparkling from Alta Langhe; sumptuous Arneis whites from Roreo; reds fashioned from Dolcetto, Barbera, Freisa and, yes, Nebbiolo. The region is scented with wine and tradition.
In the muddle of this great tasting, Sara Saffiro Veza stood out for her leaping, scented sparkling Nebbiolo rosé; her intense, elegant Barolo; her pillowy Barbera.
Sara learnt from her mother, Josetta, for whom their estate is named. Josetta was a trailblazer – taking over the estate and winemaking practices in the 1950s when she was only 23.
The rich but elegant style of the wines was compelling – not to mention the playful gnomic packaging. The light-hearted touch is wonderful for communicating about this deep, sanguine wine.
Consumers lap up their quirky bottles, each decorated with a different gnome. Vitally, it’s not just a marketing gimmick: the gnomes nod to a family story started by Sara’s grandfather. The labelling honours him and Sara’s mother – it’s this authenticity behind the story which inspires.