The SOMM Journal

August / September 2018

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Page 38 of 124

38 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 { milestone } IN THE CENTURY since its founding, the La Scolca estate has not only pioneered Gavi, but has elevated Cortese to world- class standing. In addition to being the first winery to produce quality bottlings of the variety, La Scolca ranks among the most historic white-wine producers in Italy. I recently dined with La Scolca CEO Chiara Soldati, the fifth-generation family member whose vivacious persona makes an impression as memorable as her wine. Indeed, Soldati devotes as much attention to what's in a bottle of La Scolca—which will officially celebrate its 100th anniversa - ry next year—as she does to sculpting the label to adhere to its respected reputation, synonymous with luxury and la dolce vita. When Soldati is not overseeing all as - pects of production, she jet-sets the globe, diligently making sales calls and, in work- ing her worldwide network, even hob- knobbing with celebrities. Her unwavering mission is to make La Scolca as admired as Masi is in the Veneto, Gaja is in Barbaresco, or Antinori is in Tuscany. Planted in the Roverto Superiore region of Gavi, the La Scolca estate serves as the Grand Cru for Cortese. The volcanic soils contains a mixture of calcareous-clay, iron, and chalky limestone similar to that of Champagne and Chablis, and that terroir is expressed beautifully in the glass. Sourced from 20- to 30-year-old vines, the lively and refreshing 2016 La Scolca White Label Gavi DOCG displays zesty lemon, almond, and stone fruit notes with a long, clean finish. Similarly, as the ulti - mate expression of the Cortese grape, the famed Black Label Gavi DOCG is the result of decades of family winemaking tradition, as the bottling is sourced from estate vines more than 60 years old. In addition to exhibiting intense lemon citrus fruit with floral and flinty Chablis-like notes on the nose, the 2016 vintage has a medium weight on the palate with apple, almonds, and hazelnuts. Yet what is truly beguiling is that this concentrated, complex wine ages with magnificent grace. During our meeting, Soldati shared three back vintages from her cellar : the 2013, 2009, and 1995 Black Labels. The youngest still offers fresh notes of honey, spices, and dried fruits even after five years in bottle, and the 2009 is equally impressive with considerable gunflint, spice, tart lemon, and apple. Thanks to its terrific vigor and nuance, it's even more impressive on the palate, yet the 1995 Black Label at 23 years old is particularly show-stopping, elegant, and beautifully mature: a stunning wine on par with any excellent aged white Burgundy or Chablis. The grand finale of the La Scolca lineup is the D'Antan, produced only in the finest vintages and aged ten years on the lees in stainless steel preceding an additional two years in bottle before release. It's an intense and powerful wine that demon - strates the longevity of La Scolca as a game-changing Gavi producer. La Scolca is imported by Frederick Wildman. Game-Changing Gavi EXPLORING LA SCOLCA, THE NAME BEHIND THE GRAPE'S ICONIC STATUS by Albert Letizia PHOTO COURTESY OF FREDERICK WILDMAN La Scolca CEO Chiara Soldati runs the estate with her father Giorgio Soldati, the founder's great-grandson.

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