Contratto
UNESCO World Heritage Site Millesimato Brut Old Chardonnay Vine Yeast in bottle Cellar Vineyard Tunnel Cellar Courtyard View from street Hallway The Four Rivetti Siblings 2010 Millesimato aging For England Rose on the riddling table Courtyard 2010 Millesimato Chardonnay
Italian
Monica Larner, ROBERT PARKER’s, The Wine Advocate, August 2018


"Founded in 1867, Contratto is Italy's oldest Metodo Classico house. It is based in Canelli, Piedmont and boasts impressive underground cellars and 45 hectares of vines. Giorgio Rivetti of La Spinetta purchased Contratto in 2011, thus adding sparkling wines, vermouths and bitters to his production line. The vines are located in Alta Langa, and some plantings of Pinot Nero extend up to 850 meters above sea level. Contratto makes about 200,000 bottles per year, and this is seriously some of the best sparkling wine found in Italy distinguished by the distinctive Art Deco designs on the bottle. These wines are very impressive."

Contratto 96 pts CONTRATTO Riserva Special Cuvee Pas Dose 2010
This wine sees seven long years of yeast contact. The 2010 Metodo Classico Riserva 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.

95 pts CONTRATTO For England Rose Pas Dose 2012
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.

94 pts CONTRATTO For Engl Blanc de Noir Pas Dose 2013
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.

94 pts CONTRATTO Blanc de Blancs Pas Dose 2012
The 2012 Metodo Classico Blanc de Blancs Pas Dosé is a full-bodied expression of Chardonnay that never holds back in terms of fullness, volume and richness. The grapes have been worked carefully in order to harness the maximum potential of their aromatic and textural offering. The acidity is spot-on as well. The quality of the sparkler's effervescence is fine, silky and extremely elegant. This is a beautifully complex and intriguing wine with ever-fluid aromas of peach cobbler, baked bread and candied orange peel that shift and change with each magical swirl of the glass. Some 15,000 bottles were produced.

93 pts CONTRATTO Millesimato Pas Dose 2012
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.


Since June 2011 Contratto is officially in the hands of Giorgio Rivetti of La Spinetta, but the idea of taking over the Contratto sparkling wine production was already "planted" in 2007. For 4 years the Rivetti family had been secretly making metodo classico wines at Contratto, with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes from Oltrepo Pavese. Today Contratto owns vineyards in Bossolasco as well as in Costiglione d'Asti.

The new philosophy is different from the one of the past and the one of the big Champagne houses, as Giorgio Rivetti and his team have their minds set to make "great wine with bubbles" and not another typical sparkling wine, that is largely effected by its dosage.

With La Spinetta philosophy behind the brand, one may be certain, the goals for future quality are extremely ambitious.

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