Oltretorrente Cortese Colli Tortonesi 2016

Mineral Lovers Delight: 2016 Oltretorrente Cortese

SOLD OUT! If you love strong, complex mineral notes in your white wines, you’re going to love the 2016 Oltretorrente Cortese.

Akin to to a top-tier Chablis in style, it’s snappy and bright, but far from thin, with an “apple-y” richness that keeps my palate more than satisfied.

2016 Oltretorrente Cortese

2016 Oltretorrente Cortese Colli Tortonesi

Tastes Like Premier Cru Chablis at a Fraction of the Price!


Many of you are familiar with this tiny estate’s wines — I ran their Barbera Superiore on special recently and we moved through 25 cases in no time. But as a reminder, this certified organic estate is run by Chiara Penati and her husband Michele Conoscenti. They own about 5 hectares of vineyards located in the far eastern, rolling hills of the Piemonte neighboring the more famous Cortese growing region of Gavi. In a good year, they’ll make about 1,500 cases of wine and they make 5 different wines.

Much of this wine’s character can be attributed to the old vines and the unique terroir. Like Chablis, the soils of the Colli Tortonesi are rich in limestone, calcified skeletal fragments, and fossilized shells. Add to that the fact that Oltretorrente’s Cortese vines are 60-70 years old! These old, deep rooted vines produce small yields of intensely flavored grapes, and that’s what goes into the bottle.

This is one of those wines, like great Chablis, that smells and tastes like wet rock. That might sound gross to some, but to others (myself included), this is a trait and quality in white wine we’re constantly looking for. And it’s not hard to find if you’re willing to spend $40 to $50 and up. But it’s rarely spotted in wines that cost less than $20. And it’s not just all mineral. There’s also lovely lemon/lime, green apple, and pear fruit.

Long, complex, and intriguing, this is one of those wines that is both meditative and delicious. And talk about a perfect fish/seafood wine. I had it with a low-country shrimp boil recently, and it was excellent. But milder white-fleshed fish like Dover sole made in traditional French preparations works well too.

Based on the success of this estate’s stunning Barbera, I suspect this one will sell out quickly. And I bought my distributor/importer out, so there’s no more to get until the next vintage is released.

Josh Spurling
Owner, Operator, Wine Monger
Table Wine Asheville


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