One of the oldest & most illustrious of Genovese families, the Spinolas date back to 10th century. During the 12th & 13th century, the family played an important role in the development of Genova & that of the Maritime Republic, rivalling Pisa & Venezia, influencing trade across the Mediterranean & through its involvement with the Crusades. Many members of the Spinola family were elected as Doges, as well as Cardinals of the Holy Roman Empire. A Spinola even accompanied Christopher Columbus on his voyage to discover America in 1492. In 1528, Andrea Spinola, Count of Tassarola, occupied the Ligurian city of Savona on the orders of another Ghibellin family, the Dorias. Genova’s influence grew as they allied with Spain, becoming their bankers. The family in turn were celebrated by artists such as Botticelli, Velaszquez, Rubens, van Dyck, & (much) more recently Andy Warhol.
The family’s 100ha (of which 15ha planted to Cortese) Tassarola estate, Tenuta Cascina Massimiliana lies in the Gavi frazione of Rovereto. Prior to 2006, the fruit was sold off. Enter Andrea Spinola, fresh from working in Milan, who decided to dedicate his life to their Cortese vines – a grape first documented in 1630 – that lie at 300m asl, perched overlooking Rovereto Chiesa on the border between Tassarola & Gavi, planted in 1955, 1975, 1995 & more recently. Here the soils are volcanic red iron-rich but nutrient & acqua/water poor, hence naturally restraining the vigorous Cortese. Fanned by sea breezes coming up from the Mediterranean to the south, in 2014 they converted the estate to organic farming, certified by Ecocert/Valoritalia, & in 2015 his young family, wife Nora (originally from Aquisgrana, Westphalia), young sons Carlo, Massimiliano & Ludovico joined their father at the Tenuta.
Collaborating with Andrea & Nora at the Tenuta are enologist Vincenzo Muni & agronomist Davide Ferrarese.
Gavi del comune di Gavi ‘Carlo’
Frizzante Metodo Ancestrale Non Filtrato ‘Marchese Col Fondo’
2017 Gavi del comune di Gavi ‘Carlo’ – tasted May’18, 13.5%, from Cortese vines planted in ’75, ’95 & ’98, on the red soils of Rovereto di Gavi at 300m asl, overlooking Rovereto Chiesa & Gavi itself. Harvested at c. 60 hl/ha, destalked, organic Cortese, vinified in stainless-steel: fine, transparent, a floral, cornflour nose, refreshing, bright, harmonious! Lovely bright, with pretty mandarin fruit pulpiness, sapidity & great drinkability…
…retasted in July’18: struck by the cool, fresh, pretty lime crystal fruit, with notes of mandarino, of white pepper, basilico (?), almost peardrops, with Mosel-esque pebbles, ‘trocken’ (!), & a (green) Lacewing delicacy & transparenza! Juicy to drink, bright & easy, with lots of nettly fresh, minerally crystals, mandarin spremuta (pressee), 135%, Secco/Dry! A proper wine, once opened, it developed beautifully over the course of a week!
Frizzante Metodo Ancestrale Non Filtrato ‘Marchese Col Fondo’ (2016) – funky label & wine! This was their first vintage! Tasted May’18, cloudy yet bright, finely made & fresh. Lots of agrume/citrus, pulpy pear, lemon skin fruit, 12 grams RS; to taste lemon pith, skin sapid & facility. A delicious, original wine!