High up in the north, where Piedmont is slowly knocking on Switzerland's door, is Bramaterra, an ancient wine enclave where viticulture has been documented for many hundreds of years. Before Bramaterra was declared a DOC in 1979, the region's wine was called "Vino dei Canonici", referring to the great popularity it enjoyed among church people - never a bad sign. Bramaterra's grape varieties - always a combination of mostly Nebbiolo and a little Croatina and Vespolina - are rooted in a hilly topography at an altitude of around 400 metres in highly ferruginous subsoil covered by a fine layer of sand. The area is relatively cool, an aspect that runs like a red thread through the wines of Carlo, Giacomo and Cristiano.
The Bramaterra was fermented spontaneously in cement cisterns and then aged for two years in used barriques before finally finding its balance in cement cisterns for a further four months.
Cool, juicy, animating and yet compact, full-bodied and rich - basically exactly what you would expect from a classic, top-class Nebbiolo. The aromas range from roses and thyme to cherries and cloves. The tannins are gripping on the palate, but the wine always remains accessible, mellow and round. The finish is characterised by liveliness, straightforwardness and lingering fruit and pepper notes.