We drank, we ate, whe talked we enjoyed .. A private tasting dinner with Cinzia Travaglini. Actually I thought there were going to be more people. Basically it was just me and Cinzia Travaglini tasting me on Travaglini’s current vintages of fine wines. We were joined by ANtonio from Palm Bay, Travaglini’s Importer, and then when we were finished eating, Chef Luigi joined our table as well. Cinzia started us out with her Nebbiolo Coste Della Sesia .. Travaglini is the unquestionable King of Gattinara, a small zone in northern Peidmonte .. The zone is only about 200 acres of which Travaglini comprises have of the entire zone. Gattinara is made mostly of Nebbiolo at 90 to 100% .. Gattinara may have up to 10% of Bonarda and Vespolina grapes, but all of the Travaglini Gattinara wines are made of 100% Nebbiolo … Travaglini are Kings of Nebbiolo of which about 97% of their entire vineyards are planted to the grape, along with a very small amount of Uva Rara, Bonarda, and Vespolina .. Yes they are masters of Nebbiolo of which they have been growing since the 1920’s …

So Nenniolo and Gattinara are the thing of Travaglini .. They are the biggest as well as the most famous Gattinara with their signature Trademarked Gattinara Bottle .. OK, so we started out with the Nebbiolo Coste della Sesia which blew my mind. I absolutely loved the wine. It was in perfect balance, full of flavor, yet light in weight, the perfect combination in an Italian Wine which are among the most food friendly wines in the world. And that’s what we were doing, food and wine, and yes friendliness too. This wine Coste della Sesia was an absolute marvel of a wine, that is very reasonably price and half to a third the price of the Travaglini Gattinara’s which are at their price points quite reasonable for wines of the highest of quality. This is thought of as an entry level wine, but it is anything but. Yes I loved this wine that was perfectly in balance in flavor, tannic and acidic elements along with the correct weight and wonderful flavor of ripe berry fruits with a nice twinge of licorice, just lovely. Cinzia poured me just a little, but it was so good I had to ask for a little more, and then more a thrid and forth time. That’s when you know a wine is good.

After the lovely Nebbiolo we moved on to the Gattinara’s, thee wine of Travaglini .. We ordered some grilled Clamari and a Pizza Margherita and Chef Luigi sent us some special bread and a platter of Salumi. We all flipped for the Pizza which we all thought was the equal of the finest Pizza from Napoli “The Pizza Capital of The World.” Well after all Chef Luigi is from Positano in the area near Naples on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. We drank the Gattinara 2007 which as well as the Nebbiolo before was absolutely wonderful and a wine in perfect balance. Just delisous. It was then on to the Gattinara Riserva 2006, another winner, and then a very special and rare wine.

The special rare wine in question was il Sogno, which was a special project created by Cinzia’s father Giancarlo Travaglini in 2004 … Giancarlo wanted to make a dry table wine using the appassimento method of drying grapes before the fermentation process as with the famed wines of Amarone and the lesser known Sforvato of Lombardia. Giancarlo picked some of his best Nebbiolo Grapes and set them out to dry on matts. Unfortunately Giancarlo passed away in November of 20024 when the grapes had only been drying for 1 month. Cinzia and her winemaker husband continued the project.  They finished drying thr Nebbiolo grapes, fermented them and made the wine that tey called il Sogno “The Dream.” 

So Cinzia poured me a glass of il Sogno, and again my mind was blown. The wine an absolute gem had all sorts of wonderful flavors running through my mouth. It was delisious, it had power, but not too much as some big AMarone sometimes do. The wine was a delight and I’m looking forward to putting it on my own list.

We also drank the Gattinara “Tre Vigna,” The Three Vineyards .. The fruit for Tre Vigna comes from 3 very special small vineyards on the Travaglini Estate. These 3 different vineyards have different geographical vineyards on the estate and bring different characteristics to the wine to make up one complete and wonderful structure of a wine, 

Travaglini Gattinara “Tre Vigne”

 So we drank the fine wines from Cinzia Travaglini, we had perfect Pizza, Antipasti, followed by some wonderful Tagiatelle con Tartufo and Brasato di Manzo (Braised Beef), and finished up with some tasty desserts. It was a fine night and a dinner that along with the many wonderful private luncheons and dinners I have had over the years with some of Italy’s most prestigious winemakers, like Cinzia, I remeber them all, and I will always remember this one, absolutely Wonderful!




Daniel Bellino-Zwicke








La TAVOLA is Available in Paperback on


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