A classic Piedmont sparkler crafted from 100% Chardonnay grown on hillside vineyards located 650 meters (2,133 feet) above sea level. The wine opens up beautifully in the glass to reveal exceptional power, depth and intensity with characteristic varietal notes of citrus, orchard fruit and white peach. Floral notes and slate are enhanced by a crystalline purity and texture, enchanting in the mouth with an enveloping creaminess and fine and persistent bubbles. An ideal accompaniment to seafood.
A soft and yielding sparkling wine that descends into a long array of orchard and stone fruit aromas. You get poached pear and Golden Delicious apple with crushed limestone and mineral at the edges. There is a unique nobility to this wine that comes across thanks to the rocky soils and high-altitude positioning of these Alta Langa vineyards.
You feel a touch of sweetness in the 2014 Alta Langa Metodo Classico Blanc de Blancs Pas Dosé, but Chardonnay's lovely notes of citrus fruit and white peach are expertly pronounced here. This classic Piedmont sparkler offers nice thickness and a creamy texture, while the bubbles are fine and persistent. Some delicate crab cakes would pair very nicely here.
A blend of Pinot Noir (70%) and Chardonnay (30%), the Cuveè Novecento is a dazzling wine of extraordinary precision. Chalk, white flowers, mint, slate and lemon peel race out of the glass. This sparkling wine spends 7 years aging on its lees, yet remains remarkably fresh with hints of graphite-infused minerality laced throughout a translucent, magnificently pure finish.
The tonic and graceful 2010 Metodo Classico Pas Dosé Cuvée Novecento is citrusy and fresh with grapefruit and tangerine skin that appear on first nose. Give the wine a few minutes in the glass, and some of those classic characteristics of the 2010 vintage—including sharp linearity and defined mineral sensations—begin to appear, growing steadily in intensity.
This Metodo Classico Blanc de Noir presents an especially focused expression of Pinot Noir, from old vines grown 740 meters (2,428 feet) above sea level. The For England entices with lots of creamy beading and a golden hue veering toward a slightly pinkish tint. Loads of citrus (tangerine, pink grapefruit), mint and crushed white flowers open to reveal small red berries and a hint of the earthiness typical of Pinot Noir. The dry finish and alluring acidity make this wine an ideal accompaniment to food.
The most structured and important of these sparkling wines from Contratto, the 2015 Alta Langa Metodo Classico Blanc de Noir Pas Dosé For England opens to a pretty golden appearance with light copper highlights. The bouquet is solid and beautifully put together with equal billing to orchard fruit, crushed stone and toasted almond. This wine is more mineral-driven than it is yeast-driven, and that is the most compelling trait of sparkling wines made in the up-and-coming Alta Langa appellation.
The 2014 Alta Langa Metodo Classico Blanc de Noir Pas Dosé For England sparkles with lots of creamy beading. This is a white expression of Pinot Noir that has a golden hue veering toward a pinkish tint but only very slightly. The wine shows loads of citrusy definition at the back with notes of tangerine and pink grapefruit. The finish is dry, fresh and tonic.
This is the only Contratto wine from the up-and-coming Alta Langa appellation in Northern Piedmont that is currently gaining a lot of attention for its quality white and sparkling wines. The other Contratto wines tasted in this report are all part of the umbrella Vino Spumante di Qualità grouping that is not linked to a specific territory. The 2013 Alta Langa Metodo Classico Blanc de Noir Pas Dosé For England (100% Pinot Nero) sees fruit sourced from the Loazzolo vineyard, some 600 meters above sea level. This is a beautiful wine that spreads thickly over the palate, imparting aromas of apricot, candied orange and toasted almond. Tangy mint or dried sage are highlights on the creamy finish.
This is a gorgeous pale pink rosato, made from the estate’s oldest vineyards of Pinot Noir. Bright fruit and attractive, fresh perfumes of tangerine peel, orange, mint and cranberry give the wine a refreshing vitality and energy. In the mouth, the For England is a precise and sculpted sparkling rosè whose vibrant acidity lends sharp, linear edges and an undeniable appeal.
Opening to a pale pink color, the 2015 Alta Langa Metodo Classico Rosé Pas Dosé For England is a graceful and elegant sparkling wine with tart berry aromas, wild strawberry and pink grapefruit. Background tones include almond pastry and crushed rock or aspirin. This is a lean sparkling wine that shows extra volume thanks to the lively nature of its fine beading and soft foam.
The 2014 Alta Langa Metodo Classico Rosé Pas Dosé For England is a beautiful Pinot Noir rosato with lots of bright fruit and a refreshing snappiness to it. It pours to a graceful light pink color and serves notes of tangerine skin and lemon zest. You really feel the acidity on the tip of the tongue here, with sharp, linear edges. This is my favorite expression among these new releases from Contratto.
This is a pure expression of Pinot Nero from the estate's oldest vines. The 2012 Metodo Classico Rosé Pas Dosé For England sees one hour of skin contact for the delicate, pale pink color that characterizes this important sparkling wine. The bouquet offers fresh tones of wild berry, forest floor and menthol notes, but the biggest segment of aromas is linked to yeast-driven tones of freshly baked baguette and morning croissant. This is a full-bodied rosé sparkler that is drinking delightfully at this very moment.
The Millesimato has the bright intensity and definition of the highest caliber sparkling wine. A Pinot Noir (~80%) and Chardonnay (~20%) blend, this wine is hand-riddled in the cellar where it ages nearly 5 years before release. In the mouth, it is creamy and rich with fine, soft beading. Abundant honey, apricot and sweet almond meld with notes of lemon mousse and honeydew, resulting in an undeniably delicious and appealing wine.
When Giorgio Rivetti of La Spinetta acquired Contratto in 2011, one of the first things he did was purchase vineyards in Alta Langa. 'Pinot Noir for me is one of the best varieties for Metodo Classico production,' he says, and the altitude of the vineyards enable high quality Pinot Noir to be grown. Aged on its lees for 60 months, the nose is biscuity with a delicious red fruit and mushroom fragrance. The palate is savoury and dry, yet there's a touch of juiciness to the mellow bruised apple, red berry and subtle stone fruit flavours. The acidity is fresh and slightly saline, in no way aggressive. It works so well with the gentle mousse, just caressing your mouth rather than ripping it apart like some younger sparkling wines can do. There's a hint of truffle on the finish, and this would go incredibly well with a wild mushroom risotto. Disgorged 31 January 2020. Drinking Window 2020 - 2026
Packed in a dark bottle, the Contratto 2014 Metodo Classico Millesimato Pas Dosé (disgorged in November 2019) is a slender and direct wine with apricot, nectarine and some dried orange skin. This is a medium-weight sparkling blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with an elegant mouthfeel and lots of pretty elegance offered along the way. There is some dusty mineral on the close.
The 2013 Metodo Classico Millesimato Pas Dosé has the bright intensity and definition of the highest caliber sparkling wine. This blend of 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay is creamy and rich in the mouth with fine, soft beading. You'll pick up notes of lemon mousse and honeydew melon. It would go beautifully with delicate seafood dishes.
A blend of 80% Pinot Nero and 20% Chardonnay, the 2012 Metodo Classico Millesimato Pas Dosé ages on the yeasts for five years. Riddling is done by hand. This is a mid-weight sparkler that borders closely on being full-bodied. The mouthfeel is beautifully creamy and rich with abundant apricot, honey and sweet almond. I tasted this wine after a 30-wine flight of Barolos and Barbarescos and I cannot exaggerate how delicious and appealing this wine ultimately proved to be.
What a pleasure it is to see the 2010 Metodo Classico Millesimato, a wine I first tasted during dosage trials last year. In my opinion, this is the first wine that shows where Contratto is headed. A blend of old-vine Pinot and Chardonnay, the 2010 graces the palate with green pear, flowers, mint and white pepper. The flavors are dry, brisk and bracing, but there is also plenty of depth and textured in the glass. This is a fabulous showing. Disgorged November 22, 2013.
This predominantly Pinot Noir (plus 5% old vine Chardonnay from La Spinetta’s Lidia vineyard) Riserva rests for seven long years on the lees, revealing a big, pure sparkling wine of extraordinary elegance, intensity and purity. The Special Cuvèe is rich and full-bodied with a perfect level of ripeness that tastes both sweet and salty at the same time. Enjoyable as an aperitif, this opulent Metodo Classico sparkling wine is also an excellent companion to a meal, particularly seafood.
A softly layered and rich sparkling wine with thick layers of pastry crust and peach cobbler, complete with almond flakes and buttery highlights. This is a beautiful wine that hits many of the archetypal traits you look for in an aged, medium-bodied sparkler. The finish is full, generous, opulent and creamy.
This wine sees seven long years of yeast contact. It celebrates the estate's 150th anniversary (1867-2017). The 2010 Metodo Classico Special Cuvée Pas Dosé is almost entirely Pinot Nero, with a 5% part of Chardonnay from the same site that makes La Spinetta's Lidia. This is a big picture sparkling wine, that when reviewed in its entirety reveals extraordinary balance, intensity and purity. These excellent attributes are lavished over the wine's generously full-bodied approach. Best of all, there is a perfect level of ripeness here that tastes sweet and salty at the same time.