Pio Cesare ‘Il Nebbio’ Langhe DOC 2016

Estate: Founded in 1881 by Cesare Pio, Pio Cesare has been producing wine consecutively through 5 generations and for over 135 years. Located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, the estate consists of 70 hectares [173 acres] of vineyards. The estate is headed by Pio Boffa, Cesare Pio’s great-grandson, his daughter, Federica Rosy, along with his nephew and cousin. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity of meeting Pio. Gregarious and expressive as his wines, with the belief that upon meeting you, you are considered family and always welcome at his home and winery.

The estate has vineyards in different locations; 32 hectares in Barolo, 27 hectares in Barbaresco and 10 hectares in other regions, including Alba. These vineyard sites were specifically selected as an expression of the family’s philosophy of crafting wines. Since its establishment, the family has a “strong belief in blending the different characteristics of each vineyard and region in order to produce wines that represent the styles of each appellation terroir as a whole, instead of individual sites. This was the classic method of producing Barolo, Barbaresco and the other classic wines at the end of the 19th century and it still remains our Family’s philosophy, today and in the future.” In addition to his dedication to preserving the individuality of each terroir, Pio is also a pioneer in bringing the Barbera grape to the forefront of Italian winemaking.

Their cellar is one of the few ancient cellars that are still in operation. Located in the historical center of the town of Alba, the cellar was built in the late 1700’s, and is delimited and surrounded by ancient Roman walls that date all the way back to 50 BC. The cellar actually occupies 4 different levels, one of which is lower than the Tanaro River. This unique phenomenon is intrinsic to the character of the wines the family has crafted over the many years: “The naturally constant temperatures and appropriate humidity of our cellars have been crucial for the style and quality of our wines over the years.”

Winemaking: Grapes are harvested early from a selection of estate vineyards including Serralunga d’Alba, Diano d’Alba, Treiso and Trezzo Tinella. A short maceration is followed by fermentation in stainless steel tanks, then aging in stainless steel tanks “deep in our ancient cool cellars until the bottling in the month of March after the harvest”. The name ‘Il Nebbio’ derives from “Nebbiolo”, as the wine is an expression of “the fragrant, youth and fresh version of such a great and noble grape variety”.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with generous aromas of strawberry, cherry, dusty earth, spice and a trace of sweet hay and wildflowers. Red currant, cherry, crushed black peppercorn along with an herbaceous trace are framed by woolly tannins*. Earth and spice notes persist on the lengthy finish. A great play between fruit, spice and tannins, it’s an incredible and unique experience to enjoy Nebbiolo so young. I recommend pairing with food; it was spectacular with fresh burrata cheese ravioli with parmesan cream and black truffle, along with spaghetti “alla carbonara” with guanciale from Amatrice, “vacche rosse” parmigiano cheese and Sichuan pepper.

*So fuzzy my teeth stuck to my lip.

Nebbiolo “and Pinot Noir in small part.”
Langhe DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Pio Cesare
14.5% Alcohol
Currently not available in the US, average price in Italy is €16. I paid €27 in a restaurant in Rome.
Enjoy now thru 2022

Guido Porro Gianetto Barolo DOCG 2011

 

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Estate: Guido Porro is a 4th generation winemaker, from a family whose land has always been passed down from father to son. Located in the renowned Barolo producing commune of Serralunga d’Alba in Piedmont, Porros’ vineyards are in a south-southwest facing amphitheatre. Here in the ‘Lazzarito’ cru, grapes receive full sun and protection from the wind. Focusing on traditional methods in both the vineyard and cellar, Guido Porro has a reputation as “under the radar”. His wines receive many accolades for their natural expression of the grape, however his unassuming character doesn’t have him seeking the spotlight.

Winemaking: Vineyards are farmed using sustainable methods. Spontaneous fermentation and aged for 3 years in massive Slavonian oak casks. Gianetto is a southeast facing vineyard with clay and limestone soil, with vines only 8 years old. 2011 is the first vintage of this single vineyard wine. The young age of the vines contributes to its early drinking ability.

Tasting Notes: Transparent dark ruby in colour with the distinctive Barolo aromas of rose, cherry and tarry earth. Super fruity and lively with cherry, raspberry, crushed black peppercorn and tarry earth. Wooly tannins coat your mouth. The finish hasn’t quite realized its full potential, but it’s plush and velvety, abounding with earth and spice.

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
14.5% Alcohol
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Guido Porro
$40 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2030

Elio Sandri Barolo Riserva DOCG 2005

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Estate: Founded by Giovanni Sandri in 1965, Giovanni was born into a family of farmers from which he learned the art of grape growing and winemaking. In 1965 he purchased Cascina Disa and began crafting his Barolos. Today the estate is headed by Elio and Daniela Sandri, along with their children Luna and Riccardo. Located in the Langhe hills of Monforte d’Alba, the estate consist of 7 hectares of vineyards, with the oldest vines dating back to 1937, the newest 2001. With an emphasis on ecological balance and preservation, in 1999 they purchased a neighboring forest, in order “to balance the impact of human activity with the territory”. As with many other Barolo estates, they also produce Dolcetto and Barbera wines.

Winemaking: Organic, natural processes [along with some biodynamic principles] and minimum interventions are followed in the both the vineyard and cellar. Overall the vineyards consist of marine soils of calcareous clay; grapes for the Riserva are sourced from “the best land where the marl comes to the surface”. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts followed by “5 years in large old slovonian oak barrels and bottle”. Bottling done only during the waning moon.

For a more in depth look at Elio Sandri, his wines and vineyards, please click here for Gregory Dal Piaz’s fantastic article on his visit to Cascina Disa.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet with brick edges in colour, with aromas of tar and rose. Agile and engaging, with that divine pairing of tar and rose flavours encased in red berry fruit and velvety tannins. Classic, elegant, powerful, everything I want in Barolo.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Superb for hearty meat dishes, truffles, game and strong Piemontese cheese.

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
Bottled by Azienda Agricola Elio Sandri
14% Alcohol
€50 restaurant wine list in Florence Italy [I could not find any other listed price.]
Enjoy now thru 2022

Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo ‘Il Mimo’ Nebbiolo Rosé Colline Novaresi DOC 2016

Estate: Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo is located in Ghemme, at the top of the Piedmont region of northern Italy. The property has been handed down from father to son for centuries, all the while cultivating grapes for their own use or selling to other wineries. [The family’s “viticulture presence in Ghemme is documented from the beginning of the 1500s onwards”.] In 1977 Alberto Arlunno took the reins of the estate, revitalizing and increasing the vineyards and began estate bottling the grapes. Today the estate consists of 100 hectares, 34 of which are under vine.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards located on alluvial hills where “in ancient times the great Monte Rosa glacier receded. The soil is rich in easily fragmented pebbles providing the vines with a quantity of minerals.” The Nebbiolo Rosé takes its name from an ancient Roman mime mask that was found at the base of the Ghemme hill. Both theatre and wine are areas presided over by the ancient Greek god Dionysus, [or Bacchus during Roman times].

Tasting Notes: Bright orange-coral in colour with soft aromas of peach, citrus zest and lemongrass. Light peach, currant, citrus and grass flavours are accented by a bright acidity, peach and apricot comprise the dry, fruity finish. A little more body then most Rosé, don’t drink this straight out of the fridge, let it sit in the glass a bit for the aromas and flavours to open.

100% Nebbiolo
Colline Novaresi DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo di Alberto Arlunno
13.5% Alcohol
$12
Enjoy now

Trediberri Rosato Langhe DOC 2016

Estate: The Trediberri [three of Berri] estate is located in the small village of Berri, in the westernmost part of La Morra, close to the Tanaro River in the Langhe region of Piedmonte. Nicola Oberto along with his friend Vladimiro Rambaldi founded Trediberri in 2007, when they purchased 5 hectares in Barolo. Today their vineyard holdings have increased to include 2 hectares in the Rocche Annunziata and Torriglione, where they produce Barolo, Barbera and Sauvignon Blanc, along with renting an additional hectare in La Morra.

The family winery is aware that they are young, but they are passionate about crafting “the most drinkable and balanced wines possible”. Using artisan, traditional and organic methods, but not limiting themselves to any one particular practice, they strive for equilibrium in their wines. They tend to age in cement, however depending on the individual grape or vineyard, they may choose to use wood instead. Progressive, honest and fantastically witty, check out their original, clever bio page here.

Tasting Notes: Bright pink-red in colour, bursting with aromas of fresh strawberries, wildflowers and rain washed minerals. Exuding the freshness of early summer, with juicy strawberry and raspberry flavours glazed with bright acidity. Compelling candied ginger and crushed white peppercorn lead into the refreshing, dry fruit finish that keeps you reaching for more.

80% Nebbiolo, 20% Barbera
Langhe DOC
Italy
Bottled by Società Agricola Trediberri di Nicola Oberto & C. ss
12.5% Alcohol
$15 [average price]
Enjoy now