18 Dec Explore Sparkling Wines from Alta Langa DOCG with Borgo Maragliano
The holidays and special events are the perfect time to open bottles of sparkling wines. Perhaps your go-to is traditional Champagne or your go-to is easy-going Prosecco. But there is a world of sparkling wines to explore, especially in Italy. Beyond Prosecco, there is Franciacorta, Trento DOC, Oltrepò Pavese, and the lesser-known Alta Langa DOCG. Although Alta Langa DOCG is not as well-known, the region produces high-quality sparkling wine at a quality price, as exemplified by Borgo Maragliano.
Piemonte is home to some of the most famous wines in Italy, such as Barolo, Barbaresco, and Asti. These two regions are in the Langhe region in Piemonte. You can also find Alta Langa DOCG, the name of the traditional method of sparkling wines produced in the Langhe region in Piemonte.
Alta Langa received DOCG status in 2011 but traditional sparkling wine has been made in Piemonte for 150 years. The wines can only be made from Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay and can be produced as a white or a rosé sparkling wine in the styles of Brut or Brut Nature. In addition, Alta Langa DOCG is required to spend a minimum of 30 months on the lees.
Borgo Maragliano is owned by the Galliano family who have farmed the hills around the village of Loazzolo, close to Asti, since 1850. Owner and winemaker Carlo Galliano attributes the production of sparkling wine to their proximity to France, the climate of the Langhe, and of course, Carlo Gancia. Carlo Gancia is the man who created the Italian traditional method of sparkling wines. Gancia saw the potential of the hills of Piemonte for sparkling wine, and after working in Champagne for two years, he returned to Piemonte and released the first Italian sparkling wine in 1865.
Carlo Galliano got his enology degree in Alba and returned home to work with Moscato, the king of grapes in the Langhe area. But as a fan of all sparkling wines, he decided to do something that had not been done before in that area. His father Giuseppe had planted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as Riesling, in the 1980s and Carlo was the first producer to make traditional sparkling wines from those grapes.
Today Carlo and his wife Silvia, as well as two of their three sons, oversee more than 100 acres of vineyards across eleven vineyards in Loazzolo, Bubbio, Bistagno, and Canelli. With high elevations and sandy-clay soils, the vineyards in Loazzolo are the ideal pedoclimate, a combination of climate, soil, and position, ideal for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Riesling.
Federico Galliano Riesling Traditional Method Brut Nature 2018 ($71.99)
Named after Carlo’s youngest son Federico, this wine is made from 100% Riesling from clones from the Mosel Valley. The vines were planted in 2011 in vineyards with limestone soils siting almost 600 meters above sea level. Carlo began experimenting and made a sparkling wine for the first time in 2014. Made in a Brut Nature style, the wine has a clean, fresh nose with notes of citrus and minerality. On the palate, the wine is linear and fresh with chalky acidity.
Francesco Galliano Traditional Method Alta Langa DOCG Blanc de Blancs Brut 2019 ($49.99)
Dedicated to Carlo’s second child Francesco, this Blanc de Blancs is 100% Chardonnay from a single vineyard planted in 1983. It was aged for 34 months on lees. An aromatic wine with notes of citrus, stone fruits, apple, and white flowers. The wine is rich on the palate with mouth coating acidity.
Cuvée Germana Beltrame Traditional Method Brut Nature Editione IV Tiraggio 2019 ($68.99)
Dedicated to Carlo’s mother Germana, this Brut Nature is a blend of six vintages of Chardonnay, ranging from 2013 – 2018, from one single vineyard. The six vintages were blended together and put in bottle for secondary fermentation in 2019. The wine has a rich nose of ripe fruit fruit, Italian herbs, and subtle honey notes.
Giuseppe Galliano Traditional Method Brut Nature 2018 ($54.99)
First made in 1988, this wine is dedicated to Carlo’s father Giuseppe. The wine is a blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay. The wine spends 4 years in the bottle and there is no dosage (no sugar added). The wine offers notes of lemon and brioche. The Pinot Noir gives the wine body and Chardonnay gives it freshness.
Dogma Blanc de Noirs Traditional Method Brut Nature 2018 ($71.99)
A Blanc de Noir made from 100% Pinot Noir, the wine is aged 48 months maturation and there is no dosage. With aromas of red fruits (cherries, strawberries, raspberries), red apples, and delicate flowers, the wine is very elegant with juicy acidity.
Giovanni Galliano Traditional Method Brut Rosé 2019 ($56.99)
Dedicated to Carlo’s great grandfather Giovanni, this sparkling wine is a rosé wine from Pinot Noir that spends 40 months on the lees. It is a soft pale pink color, has aromas of red fruits, and has lots of finesse.
When looking for sparkling wines for your holiday celebrations, or for any occasion, look to the wine of Borgo Maragliano from the Alta Langa in Piemonte, Italy.