2010 Anas-cëtta and 2006 Carema Riserva. What we drank for Erev Rosh Hashanah.

When I spoke to my mom the day of Erev Rosh Hashanah on my way home to La Jolla from the San Diego airport on Monday, I asked her to pick a couple of bottles from the mini-cellar I keep at her house. She opens the wines for her friends when they visit and we enjoy them at family get-togethers.

For the new year this year, she picked a 2006 Carema Riserva from Produttori di Carema and a 2010 “Anas-Cëtta” (Nascetta) by Cogno. Not bad, right?

Back in 2010 when I led a group of bloggers on a tour of Monferrato and Langhe wineries, Walter Fissore of Cogno opened a 2001 Anas-Cëtta for us. It was one of his first vintages of the then newly revived Piedmontese white grape variety. Everyone on our trip was so impressed with the wine, including me, that I bought a six-pack of the 2010 when I got back stateside.

This wine, aged in my storage locker in San Diego for 10 years (!), was incredibly fresh, with rich vibrant fruit on the mouth. I was totally blown away by how good it was. We had opened another bottle this summer when Tracie, the girls, and I were visiting my mom. It was good but this bottle was better. It blows me away how a roughly $25 bottle of white wine can perform like this. Chapeau bas to Walter who had the vision to get behind this grape and make some truly outstanding wines. I really enjoyed this and it went great with the classic middle eastern spread my sister-in-law and brother dialed in for dinner.

As a rule I never — almost never — accept gifted wine when I’m touring Italian wine country. The winemakers nearly ALWAYS want to give you a bottle when you visit. If I took a bottle each time I tasted with a producer, I reckon, there’s no way I could take all the wine back home with me. But when then Produttori di Carema president Viviano Gassino offered this bottle of 2006 Carema Riserva, how could I say no?

Note the artist label and the Alpini Torino 84th convention sticker (the annual gathering of Italian Alpine soldiers where this mountain wine was served evidently). This wine was extraordinary, very youthful and powerful, with dark red underripe fruit and smooth but still evolving tannin. What a wine!

2006 is a maligned vintage in many ways. It is overshadowed by 2005, a vintage that American critics loved. And at the time of its release, at least one high-profile Langhe grower reclassified its crus because it feared that the fallout of the financial crisis was dampening sales of its higher-end wines. So many Nebbiolophile seem to have forgotten this wonderful vintage. Great wine.

As much as I was sorry to see these two bottles go, the pleasure of drinking them — with my mom and brother’s family no less — assuaged the heartbreak of saying goodbye. Isn’t that the fun of collecting wine?

Happy new year, everyone!

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