The Luigi Tacchino winery is what one would call a garagiste, literally and figuratively. The Tacchino family winery is plainly part of the house, the garage in fact. Moreover, the entire operation is a family affair. Today, some of the best and most expensive wines in Italy, France, and elsewhere, are born in garages; hence, the term garagiste.
The pragmatic middle aged Luigi Tacchino is the namesake of this small boutique winery that has been producing wine for three generations, but much of Tacchino’s recent surge in quality is attributed to Luigi’s energetic daughter Romina, who continues to push the envelope and proverbial quality quotient at this Piedmontese property. Scattered over a little more than 55 acres at some of the highest elevations in the Monferrato, Tacchino’s low yielding vineyards are dedicated primarily to Gavi, Barbera, and Dolcetto – all Piedmontese specialties. Until now, none of Tacchino’s wines had ever appeared in the United States. Tacchino’s primary markets have always been Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Norway, but that is about to change.
Italy is full of surprises and unexpected wine delights, often from the least likely of locales. The Luigi Tacchino winery is just one of many wonderful discoveries from a recent sojourn in Italy. What follows is a commentary or series of personal impressions on Italy and Italian wines that our tasting panel collected along the way.
Italian Travels – Part I – The Panel on the Road
Although we tasted some 400 wines in just 6 days in Northern Italy this seemingly lofty number of offerings constitute far less than 1% of all Italian wine. However, the 400 wines we tasted were carefully selected to provide a perspective of Italy's principal wine regions. From this parapet we were treated to a panoramic view of the Northern Italian winescape. However, what lies beyond is an even vaster realm of oenophilia – the world’s most prolific and exciting.
Thoughts on the wines:
In general, quality red and white wines in Italy are the result of limiting yields from well drained densely planted vineyards that most often sit astride steep slopes, where no mechanical harvester dare tread. Such terroirs and viticultural practices serve to stress vineyards, with the goal of achieving a balance between fruit concentration and acidity in the grapes. These viticultural practices furnish a high skin to juice ratio; consequently, substantial tannins and wines with firm acid backbones, especially in regards to the reds, are the result. Surely, Italian wines are not Australian wines, effusive in their fruit flavors, big bold, or brash unless the producer has decided intentionally to "internationalize" his or her wines by blending in Chardonnay for whites or one or more of the red triumvirate of Cabernet, Merlot or Syrah for reds. Such international varietals, when grown in Italy, are distinctly fleshier, fuller and fruitier in taste than traditional Italian varieties such as Cortese di Gavi, Garganega, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Sangiovese, and even Dolcetto, the name notwithstanding.