Timorasso has blue eyes. Yes, because as Luigi Boveri explains, one of the great guardians of this noble all-Italian variety, even though its genetic makeup is 85% red berry, it is actually a white. The chromosomes are those of Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Merlot, Sangiovese, but the alleles are those of Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer. I could be a case of incomplete dominance, codominance, polygenic inheritance, who knows! If poor Mendel had done his experiments with grapes rather than peas, he would probably have gone nuts! Because the vine is known to be a plant that changes in ablink of an eye, and gives a lot of trouble in the analysis for the characterization of biodiversity and the identification of varieties.
Timorasso shares a centuries-old and complicated history with its Tortona, with moments of great splendor alternating with moments of siege and total devastation. Crossroads of great consular roads in Roman times, defensive bulwark, civil and military outpost, Tortona has always been doomed with a strategic role on the chessboard of the great conquerors: from Augustus to Theodoric, from Frederick Barbarossa to Ludovico il Moro, from the Byzantines to the Lombards, from the Visconti to the Sforza. They all conquered, loved and then destroyed this town, last but not least Napoleon who eventually ordered the destruction of the Castle and the fortifications.
Never completely broken, it always rose again with pride because “Tortona is like a lion by virtue of three gifts”. Legend has it that the Templars also lived here for some time, and that Tortona is one of the possible places where the Holy Grail and its three gifts – Body, Blood and Spirit – are kept in a hidden spot.
And it is with this passionate story Luigi told us, that we began our second DVinoVertigo. Timorasso shares with his land the same history of courage and resilience. Resistant but capricious, valuable but not very vigorous compared to the other red and white varieties of Alessandria, after the devastation of phylloxera it ended up being almost completely lost and forgotten.
Then Walter Massa, a visionary vigneron, together with other producers retrieved this holy grail of the Italian oenology and gave it back to the world in the 80s, making us winelovers very happy indeed, and from that year on its history is no secret anymore. Luigi took the challenge himself and, despite his father’s skepticism, he worked hard for many years winning his personal bet eventually. If anyone ever had any doubts, the eight vintages we tasted unequivocally decreed his most deserved and final success.
It could be the red soul of this exceptional white wine that makes it so suitable for ageing, and it could be its “blue eyes” that make it extremely drinkable and pleasantly fresh in the years of its youth. An extremely enjoyable but pleasantly complicated wine that, like few others, has the gift of being able to satisfy all tastes and palates: it evolves, matures, refines but remains true to itself. A powerful but always harmonious sip, with its characteristic notes in all vintages of hydrocarbons, artichoke, wild flowers and aromatic herbs that are inlaid more or less intensely, and with an ever-changing textures, with hints of more or less ripe summer fruit, sensations of citrus and saffron, in a hypotonic kaleidoscopic game ruled by time. And then there’s always on thing, I’ve said it already and I’m going to repeat it here: the sea as found its way to the Tortona Hills, and here in these eight glasses of wine I assure you can smell and fell the sea breeze! So, take may advice and always get a few bottles of FILARI DI TIMORASSO, because it is a shame not to drink it immediately as it is a crime not to wait for a few years!
I can’t tell you which vintage has won me over, it wouldn’t even be fair to make a choice as they are all outstanding champions! I’m going to leave you with these three notes: 2006 the most moving, 2012 the most exemplary, 2017 a story so different that I will have to tell you some other time! Yes, Timorasso has blue eyes, just like Luigi Boveri!