Wine review: 2006 Torracia del Plantavigna Gattinara

Everybody knows that Barolo and Barbaresco from the Piedmont area of Italy are ground zero for the finicky yet fascinating grape Nebbiolo. But what about Gattinara? That's a small appellation, still within Piedmont but northeast of Turin. Once famous for its Nebbiolos, Gattinara lapsed into obscurity many decades ago, but now some conscientious and quality-driven producers are bringing it back into the limelight.

This wine proves there is reason to explore this tiny pocket of Piedmont. Though it is the 2006 vintage, the wine has just been released, so it's quite mature. It tastes of dried plums and dark cherries laced with spice, and it is 100% Nebbiolo. Tannins are smooth, and the wine seems to pick up weight the longer it's open.

Pop the cork on this to enjoy with grilled meats or duck breast, with roasted birds and prime rib. It goes well with pasta too: agnolotti, tortellini and pasta with chicken livers or a simple pork ragù.

Region: Piedmont, Italy

Price: $25 to $30

Style: Supple and spicy

What it goes with: Pasta with meat sauce, stuffed pasta, grilled or roasted meats and poultry

Where to find it: Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach, (310) 374-3454; the Wine Connection in San Diego, (877) 667-9463; and Wine Exchange in Orange, (800) 76WINEX.

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