Thursday, July 4, 2013

Lifford Wines and Travaglini

Steven Campbell, owner/president of Lifford Wine
Yesterday I wanted to share with you that Painted Rock Winery ( was releasing it's much anticipated new Chardonnay. Today i want to follow in those footsteps and tell you about a wine-merchant/import company who I admire greatly; Lifford Wines (

This is a group of truly passionate and dedicated individuals who hold the wine industry to the highest standards. When they emailed me last week to tell me about their new program for the Summer, I simply had to pass along the info...

(important note: this newsletter is addressed only to private retailers and restaurants in B.C. Prices shown on the newsletters are not private consumers or retail prices.

Dear Kristof,
I am delighted to present a new program highlighting our boutique portfolio in British Columbia. This portfolio is composed of nine different wineries spanning the very best wine regions in the world, with a special focus on family-owned producers:
* Travaglini
* Il Poggione
* Staete Landt
* Hollick Wines
* Mitchell Wines
* Amity Vineyards
* Marietta Cellars
* Pine Ridge
* Arboleda

Each Wednesday throughout the summer we will be sending a brief email to tell you the story behind each of these producers and the wines they craft.

I will be staying in Vancouver from August 10 to August 23. The Lifford BC team and I will be visiting private retailers and restaurants to present this boutique portfolio. To make the best use of your time, please let me know if there are any specific products you would like to review.

Looking forward to seeing you in August,

Igal Amsallem
Certified Sommelier
Lifford Wine & Spirits

Noble Nebbiolo from Travaglini
Nebbiolo: It's all about Tannin and Acidity. Tar and Roses. Barolo and Barbaresco. Right?
This tends to be the received wisdom on Nebbiolo, the noble grape of Piemonte. But there's more to the story.

Nebbiolo is grown throughout northwest Italy, not just in the hills of the Langhe, where the famed DOCGs of Barolo and Barbaresco lie. Gattinara, Bramaterra, Lessona, Boca, Fara, Ghemme, Sizzano - each of these seven DOCs situated well north of the Langhe possesses a unique terroir capable of producing great wines from Nebbiolo, known locally as Spanna.

If you're going to remember one of these appellations, remember Gattinara. At one time, the wines of Gattinara were more prized than Barolo and Barbaresco. Awarded DOCG status in 1990, this is a mountainous region with volcanic, iron-rich soils where most vineyards face south to collect as much daylight as possible. Given the sub-alpine location, Gattinara often presents a cooler-climate expression of Nebbiolo, emphasizing the delicate and elegant side of the grape.
Travaglini is practically synonymous with Gattinara. Started in 1920s by Clemente Travaglini, the estate remains in the family today. Throughout the years, Travaglini has established itself as the most esteemed producer of traditional, limited-production wines in the region.
And about the distinctive Travaglini bottle: the trademark curves are designed to catch the sediment during pouring. Ingenious!

If you're seeking the nobility of Nebbiolo, but without the sticker shock that comes with most Barolo and Barbaresco, then you will most definitely want to check out the wines of Travaglini.

Travaglini Nebbiolo Coste della Sesia DOC 2009
6 x 750ml
SKU 479873
         The first offering in the Travaglini lineup, this wine presents an opportunity to enjoy Nebbiolo in its youth. After four months in stainless steel tank, this wine ages for 10 months in Slovenian oak casks. The result is a delicate but complex wine with lovely floral overtones and a long mineral finish. A fine match for a broad variety of foods.

The Wine Advocate calls it "a terrific entry-level wine with expressive aromatics, well-delineated fruit and gorgeous overall balance at this level...A fabulous effort."

Travaglini Gattinara DOCG 2006
*store stock only
6 x 750ml
SKU 585513

Stepping things up a notch in terms of concentration and aging time, the Gattinara DOCG 2006 presents a complex bouquet of pure red fruit, earthiness, and florality - think tar and roses with some cherries on top. On the palate, the trademark tannin and acid of Nebbiolo are present but tamed by the 3 years of aging at the winery, 2 years in Slavonian oak vessels of various age and size with the remainder of the time in bottle.

Travaglini Gattinara Riserva DOCG 2005
6 x 750ml
SKU 342329
          Only produced in the best years, the Gattinara Riserva DOCG is harvested at a lower yield and spends an additional year in oak, giving it further richness and depth. The concentration and structure makes this aristocratic Gattinara a candidate for extended aging. Drink now or cellar for up to 20 years.

Travaglini Gattinara Tre Vigne DOCG 2006
6 x 750ml
SKU 280396
          The Travaglini Tre Vigne is also produced only in the best years. A marriage of three historical vineyards, it is the result of extensive research into the varying terroirs in Gattinara. Similar aging to the Gattinara Reserva, but 20% of the wine spends 10 months in French barriques. Powerful yet supple.

To place an order, reply to
Remember, if you would like to taste any of these wines between August 12th and August 23rd, email igala@liffordwine and he will be pleased to arrange an appointment!

I have not personally tasted these wines recently, and so cannot attest to the quality. But what I can say is that in my mind, Lifford Wines is one of the premier wine importers into BC. If you are in Lifford's sales area and want to grow your Italian portfolio, Gattinara is - as they say - a fantastic value for money option over Barolo. If you are outside of Lifford's sales area, you will do yourself a favor if you check out what these savvy folks have discovered.

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