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Poderi Colla

I nearly died at Poderi Colla.  Perhaps I had better explain.  This estate is bang in the middle of absolutely prime Piemontese wine growing territory; diehard lovers of Italian wines point excitedly at the village names as they pass by.  Asti, Alba, Barbaresco and Barolo are all close and the vineyards surrounding them occupy hilltop sites, swirling down steep slopes in neat rows like green corduroy when viewed from the other side of a valley.  The hills provide many exposures in differing angles, sometimes ridging together to form natural amphitheatre structures with each sweeping face swathed in vines, verdant and vigorous in the June sun. 

At Poderi Colla they have rumbled that the astonishing views afforded by this dramatic landscape are all the more breathtaking to Brits.  Therefore part of the ritual when entertaining a small troupe of UK wine merchants involves encouraging them up to the highest point of the Poderi Colla vineyards to tune into the natural rhythm of this complex geography.  I was the oldest of the group and live in gentle Suffolk countryside; I simply do not encounter more than the occasional bump in the land and my stamina is not what it was.  “It’s only ten minutes,” lied our host convincingly and as we found ourselves at the base of a steepling dirt track that seemed to lose itself in the heat haze well before the summit could be revealed.  The path gave onto a vineyard of Dolcetto with embryonic grapes about the size of a lentil.  Mercifully, Pietro Colla stopped every now and again to explain a different property of the grape, allowing me to wheeze into listening distance just as he finished and scampered easily up to the next stop.
The view from the top of the hill - Poderi Colla
By the time we reached the top, with the temperature at about 35C and humidity that reminded me of my only and final visit to a Turkish bath, I was pretty much wiped out.  With heaving chest and shirt unpleasantly glued to my back, like an extra from It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, I sank to the ground and listened for the eerie whistle of the Grim Reaper’s scythe but, happily, all I heard was the laughter of the others taking the piss.  Which I clearly deserved.  The view was worth every bead of perspiration.  Pietro explained about the prevailing wind and how some of the more tender varieties couldn’t take it, why this grape thrived up here, why that grape worked better lower down.  There were little stands of hazel wherever there was a patch of dirt that fell outside the symmetry of the vineyard.  It turns out to be a useful secondary crop for which Pietro and his fellow winemakers around the region find a ready market with local confectioners.
Pietro & Federica Colla
The only sound apart from the shuffle of tourists’ shoes in the dust was the agitated barking of a number of dogs, now alert to strangers nearing their territory.  Pietro pointed out a modest house much lower down with neat piles of dead, gnarled vines to either side of the door for winter firewood.  “That’s where the dogs live; we’ll walk past and meet them.  My neighbour is a truffle hunter and the dogs are trained to find them.”  They were a friendly bunch with a fresh puppy, widdling with excitement at such attention, being brought on to replace the oldest, now grey around the muzzle and too slow to work well.  I know how he feels.  However, the restorative properties of the announcement, “Well done my friends, we’ve earned a tasting now, I think,” verged on the miraculous.  We were ushered into the cool of a small, converted barn with a long refectory table and rows of glinting glasses and Pietro took us through the estate’s full range.
The puppy in training (The Dog Colla...?)
What became apparent very quickly was that the winemaking here follows strictly non-interventionist lines.  Some winemakers view nature as a force to be subjugated, to be constrained to deliver a style or hit a particular market or fit into a price point.  Poderi Colla act as mentors in the winemaking process, guiding the young juice towards its eventual completed state, allowing the vintage and the variety to express themselves naturally.  There’s little new oak - barrels here do a containing, resting job, not a flavour imparting one because the purity of the finished article is paramount.  There is no obvious house style; each vintage of each grape variety develops how it develops – there is no painting-by-numbers formula at work here.  If it is possible to be simultaneously sophisticated and unpolished (in the sense of not being overworked), these wines manage to do that.  They are made to be enjoyed with food; there is none of that ubiquitous dense, boozy, dark, over-wooded wine, forced into international, excessive style.  Rather there is balance and finesse, elegance and originality.
Poderi Colla Tasting Room
Poderi Colla produce perhaps a dozen wines from a juicy, evocative Dolcetto through to single vineyard Barbaresco and Barolo, via a thrilling Riesling, a tender Pinot Noir and a blend or two of Dolcetto and Nebbiolo.  We have a small quantity of their Barbera “Costa Bruna” available which holds a full flavour in a lightly tannic shell, with juicy fruit and bouncy acidity.  It is classy and considered; a clever glassful that oozes great winemaking and doesn’t shout about it. 

Others from this range may appear from time to time as it is an impressive selection and I liked them all. 

Buy wine online now from Poderi Colla at Wines of Interest.  The range may vary from time to time but we will always have some great offerings to suit all budgets and tastes so whether you prefer to buy wine online or browse in our shop we are confident we will have lots of wine you will enjoy.  Buy wine online now - click here to start shopping.


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