Mario Antoniolo Spanna Santachiara 1964


The cork was compromised on this wine. It broke and then the slightest touch sent the rest into the wine.

My wife loved this wine. She kept going on and on, unusual for her. I liked it but didn't think it lived up to other Gattinaras of this age. It lacked the intensity, depth, freshness and fruit.

I opened it, left it corked since it smelled so perfect and then decanted briefly.

The nose was extraordinary though. Pure, pure rose and very ripe. The palate had some intense notes, was elegant with sour cherry flavors. Very Gattinara like. Dark color.

The wine tasted overripe at times and indeed began to head into oxidative territory. I had to drink up to keep the port-ish flavors from taking over. It began to go downhill fast. I think the cork had failed and screwed this wine up since many Gattinaras of this age can sit over night and still be good. Pretty good when first opened though.

According to the Antoniolo family, this is grapes from Gattinara sold as Spanna. Evidently, at the time, they also sold wine labeled as Gattinara, which was their top wine, sourced from their top vineyards like Osso San Grato. The wine I drank was the classico or normale wine that was sourced from all of their Gattinara vineyards, including Osso San Grato. Evidently this was a transitional period for producers as the Spanna name had acquired undesirable connotations due to unscrupulous merchants. The establishment of the Gattinara DOCG was a step to restore the good name of the local wine but evidently they also still sold it as Spanna for quite awhile. They said 1964 was a very hot year.

I have one more which I am fairly confident will be a great wine, if the cork is better.