La Colombera of Piedmont: Expressions of Timorasso with Derthona and Il Montino at Colli Tortonesi

Elisa Semino, an oenologist who was a former student of Attilio Scienza, one of the most authoritative international academics on oenology, is among the young winegrowers of Colli Tortonesi who has set the pioneering goal of the recovery of the Timorasso grapes in the 1990s. Together with her father Piercarlo and brother Lorenzo, she guides their winery, La Colombera in Piedmont. They have set themselves to the great commitment and dedication in the meticulous work that the vineyards and cellar require, making them one of the most highly-regarded rewarded wineries for Timorasso.

La Colombera

While Elisa takes on the role of oenologist of the company, her brother Lorenzo takes care of the agricultural and mechanical aspects. A snowboard champion of the Italian National Team, he leaves his skis and the mountains to follow his sister in the adventure of the winery. The whole family interprets the vineyard as their heritage. The respect for agriculture and the value of the land dates back to the origins of La Colombera in 1937 when Pietro and Maria, their great-grandparents, rented the farmhouse on the hills of Vho. The activity in their land was principally agricultural and they were cultivating wheat, chickpeas and alfalfa, until after the war. Then their son Renato, along with his wife Giuliana, purchased the first tractor and planted the vineyards after the birth of their son, Piercarlo, Elisa and Lorenzo's father. They attended to farm activities in the land and the few rows of vineyards were meant for the family's consumption. However, during the economic boom, the vineyard part expanded, but the cereal cultivation remained predominant until the 1980s when Piercarlo decided start vinifying the grapes and bottle his own wine. 

Today, the Semino family has 25 hectares of vineyards, 15 in of which are in Vho and 10 in Sarezzano. Aside from these, they also have 50 hectares of land that are mainly cultivated with chickpeas and wheat, as well as about 5 hectares of cherry, apricot, plum and peach orchards from which every year Volpedo peaches in syrup and jams are produced. La Colombera is located within the Colli Tortonesi denomination, in Vho, a hamlet of Tortona on the first hills that rise from the Po Valley. The landscape has rows of vineyards interspersed with roses, narrow valleys that climb up to the nearby Apennines, rows of peach and cherry trees, acacia and chestnut woods, chickpea and wheat fields.


Timorasso is a white grape variety native to the Colli Tortonesi area. It is a complex grape in the vineyard with an extraordinary expression in the bottle. In the Middle Ages, it had already been in vast cultivation in the Piedmont region alongside Cortese di Gavi, giving it the title of prince of white grape variety of Piedmont. In official records, it was already mentioned in the first agrarian encyclopedia by the famous Italian agronomist Piero de' Crescenzi in the 14th century as well as in 1885 in the "Ampelographic Bulletin" by Giuseppe Di Rovasenda, another notable figure in the Italian viticulture. However, after phylloxera arrived then World War II and the vineyards were given more space for the more favored vigorous and resistant varieties. Needless to say, the cultivation of Timorasso was almost completely abandoned.

Believing in the great oenological characteristics of Timorasso, in the 1990s, Piercarlo and Elisa started to cultivate the vines again, together with other winemakers of the Colli Tortonesi. In the 20 hectares of land at La Colombera, they determined the most suitable area to cultivate Timorasso. The medium-sized berries in the compact and elongated bunches have thick and resistant greenish yellowish skin with fleshy pulp and neutral flavor. Its most notable characteristic is its aptitude for longevity and aging accentuates its aromatic and mineral notes. The first harvest of the Timorasso grapes was in 1997 and the first vintage that went out to the market under the Derthona label was in the year 2000. From here, more than two decades of their story with Timorasso started. 


The Timorasso that Elisa defines as classic is called Derthona, a name that links the wine to the territory where it comes from, Derthona, the ancient Roman name of Tortona. After going through a comprehensive ampelographic study in search of the mother plants in the historic vineyards of Timorasso, Elisa identified both the plants and the place to focus on for her personal selection. She therefore chose a vineyard with soil that has an alternation of layers of an alternation of clayey sandstone and marn, limestone and patches of tuff that exalt the characteristics of the grapes at an altitude of 250 meters above sea level that help give the wine marked minerality and particular finesse, which is best expressed in age.

La Colombera Colli Tortonesi DOC Timorasso Derthona 2021
Aged for 9 months on fine lees in steel tanks, the wine has a light straw yellow color with a delicate fruity and floral nose. Ripe yellow stone fruit and field flowers in the nose with crispy acidity that spreads out and finishes with persistence.

Il Montino

From the selected grapes of this single vineyard, Il Montino was born in 2006, the most awarded wine of the company. It obtained various prestigious awards in the principal Italian guides such as Tre Bicchieri of the Gambero Rosso, the Vino Slow recognition of the Slow Wine guide and the Cinque Grappoli of Bibenda. In the glass, Montino shows an intense golden straw yellow color. When young, the fruity aromas of peach and floral aromas of acacia flowers, hawthorn, chamomile and cotton candy are perceived. A hint of honey also emerges. With the evolution, the notes of hydrocarbon and mineral emerge, which become more defined, intense, balsamic after years of refinement in the bottle. It is this particular complexity that Elisa strives to recreate, capturing the peculiarities of the individual vintages and the diversity of each collection, a path that Elisa reviews and judges every year with vertical tastings. 

La Colombera Colli Tortonesi DOC Timorasso Il Montino 2021
Continuously receiving awards, this single vineyard Timorasso is the flagship label of the territory. The careful massal selection has made it possible to choose the best biotypes of the variety. After the harvest, the selected bunches are gently pressed and the must is fermented in steel tanks then aged on fine lees in steel tanks for 9 months. In the glass it has a bright straw yellow color with a rich olfactory profile of mature yellow stone fruits, field flowers with particular nuance of chamomile, hydrocarbon and crushed stones. In the mouth, it expresses richness with ripe fruity flavors, notable acidity, good structure and ends long with sapidity.

La Colombera Colli Tortonesi DOC Timorasso Il Montino 2018 (magnum bottle)
Golden straw yellow in color which expresses intensity and complexity in the nose. Hydrocarbon is underlined along with ripe pineapple and peach, and wet crushed stones while on the palate it's soft, balanced, good structure, lingering acidity and finishes with persistence.

La Colombera Colli Tortonesi DOC Timorasso Il Montino 2013
Golden straw yellow in color with an intense and complex nose. Ripe yellow stone fruit and pineapple in syrup, flint, and hyrdocarbon in the nose. On the palate, it's well-balanced with perceptible fruity flavors, acidity is notable, finishes with persistence. Overall, it shows the great capacity of Timorasso in evolving with finesse.

Other Wines

Aside from Timorasso, La Colombera also cultivates other grape local varieties in the 20 hectares of vineyards and vinifies them. Elisa is produced from Barbera grapes cultivated from the oldest vineyard of the company grown on clayey soil and aged in wood. Vegia Rampana is produced from Barbera then aged in steel tanks which gives its best in the bottle eight years after the harvest. Suciaja comes from Nibiö grapes, an autochthonous vine related to Dolcetto, which gives the wine freshness and fragrance in its youth, more intensity and spiciness with ageing in the bottle. Romba is produced from Croatina aged in steel tanks. Archè is also produced from Croatina but aged instead in wood. Bricco Bartolomeo is produced from Cortese and Alice is from Malvasia Moscata and white Moscato and aged in steel tanks.


La Colombera

Address: Strada Comunale Vho 7, 15057 Tortona (AL), Italy
Tel: +39 0131 867795