Barolo and Barbaresco always steal the headlines in Piedmont, but look beyond the illustrious Nebbiolo and you can still find estates producing wines of the absolute highest order. One such winery is Villa Sparina.
This Monterotondo-based producer occupies one of Gavi's finest terroirs and does absolutely incredible things with Cortese and Barbera. These wines always catch people by surprise at tastings (alongside the fabulous Amphorae-shaped bottle...), and as James Suckling declares, if you "don't take Gavi seriously", you "obviously haven't tasted the wines of Villa Sparina"!
The vineyard was founded by the Moccagatta family in the 1970s and has spent the last 50 years pushing their wines to the very forefront of the appellation. More recently they have picked up numerous critics as avid supporters, not least James Suckling who variously describes their Cru Gavi as simply "The Best Gavi".
In fact, search for Gavi on JamesSuckling.com, filter by highest score, and at the top you'll find every vintage of Villa Sparina's Monterotondo before another producer even makes an appearance! If you like Gavi you must try a bottle of this wine, we promise you will not regret it!
Whilst the single vineyard Gavi is the estate's crowning glory, their Barbera is also a game-changer. At the top is the single vineyard Rivalta, a 9ha plot in Rivalta Bormida among the hills of Acqui Terme in Alto Monferrato. 14-months aging on oak lends richness and complexity, whilst the purity of the fruit really shines – who says Barbera should play second fiddle to Nebbiolo!?
We also love two gorgeous table Barberas that abound in juicy perfumed fruits: the estate Monferrato (ideal for a mid-week kitchen supper) & the Montej Rosso (with a small dash of Merlot to make it even more approachable).
Villa Sparina's dedication to quality has not gone unnoticed, as they have received numerous accolades, including the prestigious "European Winery of the Year" award at the Wine Star Awards by Wine Enthusiast. This is an estate that should be on everyone’s radar.