For many decades, Lorenzo Zanetta, grandfather to Giorgio Zanetta, had worked as a negociant in the wine trade, specializing in producing wines from the neighboring zones of Coste delle Sesia and Colline Novaresi in the area known as the Alto Piemonte. His sons, Sergio (father to Giorgio) and Valter, decided, in 1993, to revive the name and image of Monsecco, dedicating themselves to the task of producing the finest versions of the local wines using only local grape varieties. To that end and over time, they purchased five hectares of vineyards and currently rent an additional three hectares where only Nebbiolo, Vespolina, Uva Rara and Croatina are planted. From these assorted sites, they craft in the most traditional manner a series of wines culminating in their formidable standard-bearer: the grand Gattinara.
There is almost a religious reverence in the Alto Piemonte for Monte Rosa, the mountain that hovers over the region, the grand eminence that protects and nurtures the region. It is visible from all points whether one is in Gattinara or Sizzano or Ghemme, an eternally white-topped mountain whose melting snows form the Sesia River that splits Gattinara from Ghemme. The soils of these hills are marked by the mineral salts and the glacial moraine from millennia of geological movement. Further, sitting in the foothills of this part of the Alps and neighboring the great lakes of Orta and Maggiore, the vines are exposed to large variations in temperature, warm days married to cool nights: an ideal ambiance for the noble Nebbiolo and the other local varieties, all of which benefit from the long growing season to reach proper ripeness while maintaining a lively acidity.