100% Cortese. Elisa Semino is the moving force behind La Colombera, a small family winery in the Colli Tortonesi of Italy’s Piedmont region (close to Liguria and the sea). Her father started to estate bottle in 1980, and Elisa developed a strong interest in the vines and studied enology in Milan. In Elisa’s words, “We farm using organic practices, although we aren’t certified. We use only sulfur and copper sulfate for mildew diseases, and we work the soil under the vine row mechanically; we haven’t used weedkillers since the early 2000s. We feel these practices improve the soil, which then has a positive effect on the grapes and the resulting wines. All of our wines are made from estate-grown fruit and the Cortese grapes are massal selection.” The Cortese grapes were planted in 1977 and 1999 so the age gives the grapes concentration of flavors that other Cortese wines don’t have—planted in the middle of the Colombera hill, above the cellar. The altitude is 280-300 meters (900-1000 feet) above sea level. The vineyard is called Bricco Bartolomeo; the soil is limestone-based clay. The harvest is normally in the middle of September. There is a brief three-hour maceration in the press, then the bunches are pressed, and the must is fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged on the fine lees in these tanks for about 5 months before bottling. Around 10,000 bottles are produced. This Cortese is pleasing and fruity; citrus and apple fruit with quince and herb notes and an almondy finish. Thanks to the aging on the lees the weight in the mouth balances the crisp freshness of the variety. Excellent aperitif and broadly useful food wine.