The Le Piane wines are intriguing to me, as they come from a region called Boca, a quite little village in the province of Novara, situated between the Valesesia Valley and the Lago d’Orta, where the Alps begin. Altitude, large body of water nearby, and quick-draining soil full of iron.  This is a terrior-recipe for success!

This Vino Rosso from the Colline Novaresi near Boca is a gorgeous little wine, a blend of local indigneous grapes including Nebbiolo, Vespolina, Croatina and Bonarda.  The “Maggiorina” blend is stainless steel fermented, leaving a pure, vibrant expression of this field blend to shine through.  The wine is mouth-watering, with cherries and violets exploding on the palate and nose, and a rippling acidity balanced by round, ripe fruit.

Rustic as this wine may be, it has a minerality and sturdy backbone of acidity that makes me think these wines can age for years.  Move over Barolo, Boca’s back in town.

About The Author

I love all things Italian: the beautiful country of Italia, the Italians themselves, the language, the food… and above all, I love Italian wine. The people I meet in my charmed life are fascinating, the wines are extraordinary. I needed a special place like this to write about them, and to remember them.

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16 Responses

  1. tom hyland


    This producer’s Boca is outstanding. I believe there are fewer than 5 producers of Boca DOC. The Boca is a Nebbiolo/Vespolina blend. I ordered this in Piemonte last year with dentice, a local fish and it was an amazing match! Pure Nebbiolo wouldn’t have worked, but this was perfect.

  2. Mark

    Hi Joanie,

    Saw a comment of yours over at Vinography! Cool blog, I don’t read many that feature only Italian wines. My wife and I spent about a month in Italy while we were in college and still carry fond memories a decade later.

  3. AC

    Antonio Cerri’s legacy continues – glad to see you can find them in Cali. Another reason why the West Coast doesn’t suck

  4. AC

    Piemonte really never was just about Barolo, and thanks to the diligent and lonely work of Antonio Cerri and with his legacy carried on by Christoph Künzli, the world can see another glorious side of Nebbiolo. And the even better news is that there are springing up all manner of small batch winemakers in the area inspired by Christoph’s relentless energy …

  5. Alfonso

    Well I’ll try this again…
    Thanks to the long and often lonely word of Antonio Cerri, Boca has a future. And Cerri’s legacy is carried forward by Christoph Künzli. When I went around with him in January ( ) we visited other small garagiste producing a barrel or two here a barrel or two there. Very exciting stuff, like uncovering a wonderful piece of antique furniture under a blanket. A little dusty but with a little spit and polish, once again beautiful. Great place that has its own wolves of terroir howling loud and clear and Christoph and the young producers there are answering their call of the wild.

    Anytime you want to go visit, let me know, although I am sure your pal in L.A. there can set up a visit as well.

    • Joanie Karapetian, Italian Wine Geek

      Thanks for the comment, Alfonso! I cannot WAIT to visit Boca, and I will certainly take you up on your offer of an introduction! I love your description of the “discovering” of a lesser-known wine region like this as well- that’s what it always feels like for me too… like finding the key to some part of history we’ve forgotten. Italy is so endlessly fascinating, is she not? 🙂

  6. Robert Forman

    Indeed, Kunzli has done a nice job with Le Piane. The current wines are very good and I have little stash of some re-release older vintages that I have been nibbling at here and there.

  7. Ned

    Joannie, just want to report that the ’85 Le Piane Boca was marvelous at dinner the other night. Wish I had more!


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