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Current topics, themes, musings and travel notes

September 21, 2023

How’d this Piedmontese white grape get to Southern Ukraine’s front?

Timorasso has gone from near extinction to a hot somm secret. Now it’s leaking out to the world in some disparate places.

So I’ve been fairly quiet this summer: baking in the heat, grilling, drinking white wine, swimming, thinking and reading (carefully moving through Alexis de Tocqueville’s 1830’s amazingly wise and prescient “Democracy in America”) 

I have gotten out on the trail. So let me tell you about one of my recent stories. Piedmont geeks have for years known about Timorasso – the Southern Piedmont’s intriguing mouth-filling white of the Derthona hills.

Bisso Atassanov right, Colli Tortonesi pres, Gian Paolo Repetto left

At a recent Timorasso tasting : Bisso Atassanov (right) and Colli Tortonesi pres, Gian Paolo Repetto (left) and tasting host Diego Sorba (center). Photo @ Robert Camuto

The background is that grape has come back from near extinction in the 1980s  (thanks to Walter Massa of Vigneti Massa) to fuel an exciting wine scene. Now the scene is beginning to spill out to the wider wine world. That’s where Ukraine, Sonoma and maybe your next outing to wine shop fit in.

The Piedmont is so well known for potent reds starting with Barolo and Barbaresco, that its fitting Timorasso/Derthona is a naturally big white.

So big that extract analysis puts it closer to red wine. This is not anonymous juice – it can be crisp, saline structured and mineral and age like Riesling.

And so big, it caught the eye of the experimental Beykush winery Ukraine. While I am not going to the war front anytime soon, I did get to taste the wines in a lineup of Derthona versions at a recent tasting in Portofino (tough job I know!) It’s also been grafted by Sam Bilbro of Idlewild Wines in Sonoma who will release his first bottles this fall.

Do read all about Timorasso-mania it in my latest  Robert Camuto Meets… at

Black Sea vineyards of Beykush in Ukraine

The stunning Black Sea vineyards of Beykush in Ukraine. photo @ Beykush