The territory around Tortona, the ancient Roman city formerly called Julia Derthona, has always been place of strategic passage between the plain and the sea: centuries of conflicts, trade (the salt road) and culture have passed through the river Write to, the district of the Tortona hills and the three valleys which bear the name of the three streams that cross them: Ossona, Grue and Curone. There are 30 municipalities in the Tortona wine area, scattered between hills and valleys, a territory that is still partly wild compared to the nearby Langhe and Roero. L'environment is basically tripartite between orchards (after the phylloxera epidemic of the end of the 800th century, a lot of attention was paid to peaches), vineyards and woods. The human presence is quite limited with a consequent low environmental impact.
Tortona is a territory of excellence not only for wine but also for many artisanal products now known to the general public of enthusiasts, such as cheese montebore, the truffles, Volpedo fishing, Tortona strawberries ornoble salami from Giarolo. The Tortona hills have their own DOC oenologically. Its range is located south-east of Tortona for a DOC area of 1096 ha and a total vineyard of 1800 ha. hilly ridges, sunnier than the lower slopes. THE land they are yellowish-brown in color and naturally occurring clayey-calcareous, with some sandy formations and marly and marly-sandy areas. Such soils confer great flavor to the wines. The climate is characterized by cold winters, rainfall distributed throughout the year and significant day / night temperature variations. There ventilation, it is so important to avoid the formation of excessive humidity and mold on the bunches optimal thanks to the sea winds coming from Liguria. The vines are grown with the traditional form a controspalliera and pruned with the system Guyot or with the spurred cordon bass.
In this luxuriant and prosperous land, the Timorasso, ancient autochthonous vine, exclusive of Tortona. Rustic and very vegetative vine has however poor and irregular productivity, after the phylloxera was sacrificed in favor of the more prolific Cortese and peaches. It has a compact bunch that is very sensitive to mold and therefore the management in the vineyard is difficult and laborious. Until the 80s it was sold in bulk in Switzerland as Torbolino.
Timorasso from very structured wines, with good acidity, notable flavor and high alcohol content, all elements that can give this wine great prospects of aging, to the point that we could define it without much hesitation as a white wine that behaves like a red wine.
An important characteristic of this great white wine is the marked minerality and the progressive development of tertiary hints with the evolution of the wine in the bottle. IS rich in norisoprenoids that is aromas that are already formed in the grapes, but which are expressed in their completeness in the most advanced white wines. Particularly, hints of hydrocarbons e Flint. Timorasso has a limited production: out of 2.000 ha planted in the Tortona hills, only 120 ha are in Timorasso.
From the 2020 harvest the Timorasso vine should be able to boast a new name and a new specification (the Consortium for the Protection of Vini Colli Tortonesi is waiting for the authorization of the Ministry): Derthona or the ancient Roman name of Tortona, so from indissolubly tie the vine and the wine to its territory.
Among the many producers who have contributed to the recovery, rise and success of this ancient vine, we cannot fail to mention Walter Massa and his winery in Monleale, the precursor of its rediscovery. Volcanic and tireless character, he usually says about the recovery, risky in economic and yield terms, of Timorasso and the removal of the more productive and safe Cortese who "it is useless to have Claudia Schiffer in the kitchen to wash the dishes, I put her at the reception and it makes me better". For Massa, the rediscovery of Timorasso is a challenge: "I wanted to see if he was right who told me it was the best wine in the world or those who told me it was a grape of M….". In 1988 he understood that aging is fundamental for Timorasso. An objectively courageous choice because it means not selling the product immediately and waiting for the fruits of time.
The wine rules for Massa are very simple and clear-cut: Ripe grapes, common sense and time. Massa's definitions of his Timorasso are enlightening: "It is an orgasmic wine" is "You write Timorasso but you read TimoRosso". In conclusion, for Massa the Timorasso has represented and represents for the future of the Tortona area a fundamental resource to contribute to economically revive this territory of ancient tradition. A land that deserves to be rediscovered in its vast and fascinating richness.
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