The hills of Gattinara
Gattinara is a medieval village of ancient Roman origin, located on the right bank of the Sesia River along the road that connects Vercelli to Valsesia. Gattinara is famous mostly for its fine wine by the same name, Gattinara DOCG, obtained from Nebbiolo vines.
Gattinara: a journey into the lands of wine
The wine-growing area is located due south of the Monte Rosa massif and due north of the large plain where rice cultivation dominates the land. Here, where the characteristic hourglass that gives shape to the province of Vercelli narrows, one can find the Municipalities where Gattinara DOCG, Bramaterra DOC, and Coste della Sesia DOC are produced. Gattinara is located in the hilly part of the province of Vercelli. The Torre delle Castelle, located on top of a hillock to the northwest of the city covered by vineyards, is a symbol of the region. Here, the view that you can enjoy on clear days is enchanting and ranges from the plain to the Biella’s hills to the Valsesia’s mountains.
This land of ancient winemaking tradition since before the Roman age is enclosed in a unique natural scenery: Monte Rosa that stops cold winds hailing from the north creates a special microclimate, and the Supervolcano of Valsesia (in the Gattinara are) offers a subsoil of volcanic origin. These are the elements for which Nebbiolo found its "fertile soil” here: an extremely diversified terroir, extraordinarily suitable to produce good wine.
The space that nature and the provincial boundaries reserved to the vine growing activities is inversely proportional to the quality of the wines produced as well as to their structure full of harmony and to their diversity. Maybe it was the wish to stand out and create a space for themselves in the midst of the supremacy of the rice fields and mountains, or perhaps it was that thin layer of fog that at dawn wraps the hills at the beginning of October when the Nebbiolo harvest is in full progress, or maybe it is the dedication of the people... in any case, Vercelli’s wines are considered by many the best in Italy for quality, delicacy, and harmony.
Full-bodied and long-lived red wines that are suitable for aging and that can be tasted in one of the many wineriesopen to visitors in the village, among the hills, and in the magnificent setting of Villa Paolotti, a nineteenth-century manor house that in the past was the historical Gattinara wine store and today is the headquarters of the Enoteca Regionale (Regional Winery) of Gattinara.
The arcaded buildings in the historical center and the terracotta tiles depicting scenes of viticulture on the parish church of San Pietro and, finally, the Torre delle Castelle, today the symbol of Gattinara, and in the past a fortified complex of the eleventh century, are all proof of the town’s medieval past.
Two kilometers away from the town center, one can find the Sanctuary of Santa Maria di Rado, one of the largest churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary found in the upper Vercelli area: the Madonna Bruna, protector of the Gattinara community.
Whether you are an expert sommelier or someone who does not drink wine, it does not matter since discovering Gattinara and the lands of wine will be a pleasure for all in every season. In spring, riding a mountain bikealong the ridges of the hills, or in summer to reach the Torre delle Castelle with its giant bench and admire the belvedere.Autumn, when the color palette of the vineyards is filled with red and orange, it is the best time to discover the soft shapes of the hills of Gattinara full of flavors and fragrances. The landscape is enchanting, among the trails that cross the rows of vines, visitors can discover idyllic scenery where small ancient villages preserve the charm of a past closer than ever, where life remained tied to the rhythms of the countryside and the needs of the harvest
Do you wish to explore the province of Vercelli? Let’s go to Varallo, just at the gates of Valsesia.