The Piedmont Fine Red Mixed Case
The Piedmont Fine Red Mixed Case
With the onset of Autumn and of course, game, rich stews and white truffle (for the deep-pocketed season), thoughts and palates naturally turn to nebbiolo and its evocative aromas and flavours that so strongly resonate the season. In todays mixed case offer we have selected three great vintages from some of the best nebbiolo producers in Piedmont, vintages with plenty of cellaring time in them yet still accessible for enhancing that wild mushroom risotto or leg of lamb to which your thoughts also may have turned.
First off, a wine I have had the pleasure of tasting twice this week, once in a tasting in London and once in our tasting room yesterday, just before writing this email. Expressive, elegant and a sublime effort in a rich vintage, 2017 GD Vajra, Albe Barolo is a beautifully perfumed example of the gorgeous style of nebbiolo produced by this truly unique family estate, with their vineyards dating back to the 1920s. Based in Vergne, Barolos highest village at an altitude of 400 metres, Vajra are perfectly placed to produce wines of precision and character even in warm, opulent vintages such as this licorice and rose-petal scented 2017.
Moving from Vergne to La Morra, and Enzo Bogliettis 2016 La Morra Barolo - a blend of five tiny vineyards scattered across the commune, the exceptional 2016 vintage saw the first bottling of this cuvée, and what a year to launch it, with absolutely perfect conditions for nebbiolo across the region. We have enjoyed a close relationship with Enzo for many years now, having fallen in love with the gloriously seductive texture and fabulous vibrancy of fruit in his wines. The fruit here is taking an ever more prominent place with much-reduced oak regime, and the wines are getting even better for it. Approachable, eminently aromatic and with impressive spine of acidity and fine-grain tannins to frame the velvety, juicy fruit, this is a lovely example of this much-touted vintage.
Finally, we have included the result of 70 year-old vineyards on white, calcareous soil atop the steep hills of the Treiso zone of Barbaresco - the 2015 Barbaresco from Rizzi is a similarly accomplished selection of cru Barbaresci. The Rizzi estate is managed entirely by the Dellapiana family with son Enrico as winemaker and viticulturist, who also participates in The Green Experience project which mandates guidelines for environmentally sustainable production. From the gloriously sunny but not overly hot 2015 vintage comes a wine of tremendous tannic structure and yet with real delicacy and balance, dominated by red fruits, herbs, berries and spicy, floral notes. This is a beautifully rendered nebbiolo and a great counterpoint to the two Barolo wines in the case.
Of course, being of 100% nebbiolo, these wines love to age - and they do so with extreme grace. Although historically wines from Barolo and Barberesco have typically required at least 10 years before being approached, those of the modern day are often quite drinkable within a few years after release. These are three such wines.
Fine Wine Desk
2015 Barbaresco, Rizzi
"The 2015 Barbaresco Rizzi is not overripe, but rich and dark instead. Glossy, natural rubber gives it linearity and firm contours. This wine offers pretty Nebbiolo-driven aromas of wild berry, pressed rose, tar and licorice. This is an elegant and contained expression. Drink to 2030."
92 points, The Wine Advocate
2017 Barolo 'Albe', GD Vajra
"This is one of the most accessible and trustworthy wines you can buy from Piedmont. Keeping in line with past vintages, the G.D. Vajra 2017 Barolo Albe opens to medium concentration and a very expressive or fruit-forward bouquet. This hot-climate 2017 edition shows a little more ripeness and roundness as is to be expected, but these results are a safe bet nonetheless. Cherry and raspberry aromas are followed by blue flower and pressed violets. Set this bottle aside for medium or long-term drinking. Drink to 2038."
93 points, The Wine Advocate
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