Barolo & Barbaresco

Increasingly we see Nebbiolo from Piedmont through the same lens as we see Pinot Noir in Burgundy. One grape, from one region but with a wealth of profoundly different expressions depending on which village or commune the vineyards are in. Unimaginably influenced by the specific terroirs across the zone and of course with wonderful interpretations by different winemakers. On the whole, Domaines are small in Piedmont, as in Burgundy. They are similarly made up with small parcels of vines in a variety of different crus with each vineyard historically recognised for its various characteristics that live on today.

In the same way that Nuits-Saint-Georges gives wines dramatically different to those from Chambolle-Musigny - which are again completely different to the Pinot Noirs from Fixin or from Pommard – Piedmont is divided into several distinctly different villages and crus. Barolo has 11 villages, each with profoundly different expressions of Nebbiolo, here there are about 170 MGA (Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive), these are the same as specific vineyard ‘Cru’ in Burgundy. Barbaresco has 65 distinct MGAs of its own – so the differences of Nebbiolo expression are both broad in Piedmont and deeply profound.
It would be overly simplistic and incorrect to try and equate each sector of Piedmont with a matching village on the Côtes de Nuits, but it is safe to say that lovers of power and more deep-seated intensity should hunt out wines from the villages to the east, with Serralunga and Monforte the headliners. Wine lovers looking for more lift and grace in the wine should start with the villages to the west of the zone, La Morra and Verduno further north will usually satisfy. Of course it is dangerous to generalise, but it is important to note that there are two major valleys here, each with very different soils that have these broadly identifiable impacts on Nebbiolo.

As in Burgundy though it can get even more detailed than ‘village styles’ or even homogenous wines from single Crus. The MGA ‘Bussia’ would certainly be eligible for Grand Cru status if such a thing existed here and yet it is an incredibly large Cru (approaching 300HA!). It is worked by many different growers, and rather like Clos Vougeot (51HA) it can be very varied. Depending on who the grower is, and quite where their vines are – the resulting wines can be fabulously diverse. At the village level it is not simple either. A good example of the detail involved is Castiglione Falletto. This Barolo village sits on the line, right between two valleys. Claudio Viberti’s tiny winery perches on this narrow ridge and he has vineyards on both sides running very steeply down from these lofty peaks. The expression of his delicate and pretty Castiglione Barolo grown on the more sandy slopes on the cooler east side could not be in greater contrast to his wonderfully powerful Barolo Bricco Boschis from the slopes that run down to the west with heavier soils. These wines, from one producer, are an education in themselves.

Eric Guido – Vinous.com

“If Pinot Noir is the world's most tantalising grape, Nebbiolo runs it a close second - for very similar reasons. While the red burgundy grape has been slow to travel happily from its birthplace, and is only just showing signs of settling down in places such as Oregon, Australia, South Africa and cooler parts of California, good Nebbiolo wine is still extremely difficult to find outside its homeland in north-west Italy. Yet the best of these home-grown products are so uniquely delicious that winemakers all over the world are enticed to give it a try.”


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Roccheviberti

Claudio Viberti is the 3rd generation to be at the helm of this small but very special estate in Castiglione Falletto - one of the great cru of Barolo. His grandfather bought the vines, just 4.5 HA in 1946, but it was not until 2002 when the young Claudio took the reins that they bottled their own wines in earnest. His father and grandfather largely sold off their juice or their grapes to other local estates. Claudio is proud that since his tenure started they have bottled everything themselves and sold the wines under their own label.
The estate's 'village' Barolo is made from a patchwork of plots of very old vines dotted throughout the village. It is the most perfect example of this commune's famed elegance. Pitch-perfect Nebbiolo.

Claudio's two 'cru' wines are both true wonders and take things to another level. Yet, fascinatingly they could not be more different. The village sits atop a tall, very steep ridge and Claudio has vineyards on each side of the ridgeline. The mesmerising Rocche Castiglione is on sand with some limestone and tuffo in the soil's make up. The vineyard faces south-east so gets the early sun and constant fresh wind that keeps it healthy and disease free. The wine is incredibly fragrant, with gentle bright fruit and a soft touch. Classic for this village - but so remarkable it stops you in its tracks, this is remarkably fine Barolo.

Claudio's other vines are in the hugely famous Bricco Boschis vineyard. For decades the Cavalotto family have been the only producers of Barolo Bricco Boschis, leading many to feel it was a monopole. This is not the case as several growers have Dolcetto vines here, Claudio regrafted some of his old vines to Nebbiolo and from 2014 has made his own Barolo Bricco Boschis. You can quickly see why this vineyard is one of Piedmont's most prized. Facing West it benefits from the warm afternoon and evening sun and the soil here is heavy with clay. The results are astonishingly good, powerful and broad in contrast to Claudio's Rocche Castiglione. Rich and structured, this is a wine that will require patience - but is an absolute gem. Rightfully an historic name - we are delighted to be able to offer this very rare gem.

2019 LANGHE NEBBIOLO DOC Roccheviberti

2019 LANGHE NEBBIOLO DOC Roccheviberti

A true Baby Barolo - this Nebbiolo undergoes the same harvest as Barolo, the same vinification as the Barolos. Then once made and in barrel Claudio tastes every botte and decides which will beA true Baby Barolo - this Nebbiolo undergoes the same harvest as Barolo, the same vinification as the Barolos. Then once made and in barrel Claudio tastes every botte and decides which will be labelled Barolo and age for longer - and which are due to be labelled Nebbiolo. This Langhe Nebbiolo sees 18 months in large oak Botte, then ages in bottle for at least 6 more months before release. Very inviting nose - broadly aromatic. Floral scent of dark petals. Palate is very fine. High toned again, but deeply concentrated. Lovely acidity bristles in the mid-palate then there is a super clean sweep of fine grip encasing the swooningly soft red fruit. Very sophisticated - very well made. A light touch somehow - but this is loaded too. Pretty Nebbiolo. L&S (Nov 2021)

75cl bottles, case of 6

In Bond

Barale Fratelli

The Barale family's wine-making history can be traced right back to 1870 when the village of Barolo first started making a name for itself as a hub for fine quality Nebbiolo in the Langhe region. This charming small town now gives its name to the whole region and remains one of the most important of the 11 Barolo 'villages'.

The historic Barale family winery is right in the centre. From the outside it would appear to be just another townhouse - but through the gates you find a gorgeous courtyard and a labyrinth of cellars that lead on to the winery itself. On our last visit we found the family mid-harvest and this ancient workspace was in full swing and working ideally - so why would you move? It was a joy to watch the seamless transition of the grapes from the small picking-baskets on the back of the tractor into the fermentation tanks.
They have moved with the times in the cellar - but only to help them preserve the charm and freshness of their great terroirs. Luigi resisted the fashions of the 1990s here, shunning the heavier extraction and hunt for more power - and never jumping to using lots of new oak. His unstinting allegiance to traditional winemaking serves the family well now. These are elegant, poised and sometimes hauntingly good wines. Tradition is at the heart of how they operate here - but they are not luddites! Embracing modern practices when they can help achieve their goals, rather than change the results.

Francesco Barale, great-grandfather of the current owner, was among the pioneers in the production of Barolo. Today Luigi and his daughters Eleonora and Gloria carry on the old family tradition.

Andrea Oberto

A small family run winery and vineyard based in La Morra, The Obertos have sixteen hectares of vineyards and produce a brilliant 'village' Barolo from La Morra itself - as well as two other Barolos from different top 'crus' in this sought after village - Rocche dell'Annunziata in La Morra and Albarella in Barolo, just above Cannubi. The wines are beautifully focused and age well, although immensely approachable in their youth as there is a deliciously juicy and generous feel that runs through all the wines.

The winery’s history dates back to 1959, when Andrea's father bought a small-holding and farmhouse in La Morra. At that time farmers could not survive with just one crop, and so he earned a living growing peaches, grapes and raising cows. However, in the family business there was not enough work for everyone and so Andrea, decided to leave the farm and started working for a big company as truck driver. He came back (thankfully!) to La Morra in 1978 when his father died, inheriting the family’s land and taking on the management of the farm.He soon began to focus solely on vine growing. At the beginning the grapes were sold to cooperatives or even to friends and family. Andrea's talents soon became clear, he was a natural with a deft hand and a great palate. The small farm quickly morphed into a wine company with sixteen hectares of their own wines and a brilliant cellar.

When we visited the family in the Autumn of 2021 Andrea was rightfully full of optimism and enthusiasm. On the subject of these latest releases Andrea tells us that because of some recent big ticket vintages proving great hits with the press, it is hard to throw the spotlight of lesser celebrated years - however good they are! But we can confirm Andrea has not put a foot wrong and these latest releases are pure joy.

Cigliuti

Sisters Claudia and Silvia Cigliuti took over the running of this vineyard from their father Renato. He was the first member of the family to begin bottling his own wine, back in 1964, roughly the same time as other pioneers in the region like Giacosa, but the family can trace its roots on this land back to the late eighteenth century.

Most of the vineyard and the winery is on the Serraboella hill, looking over Neive from the east, and it is the Barbaresco Serraboella which is the flagship wine of the estate. This hill, composed of calcareous marl and tufa soils, gives classic wines which combine the textural finesse of clay and the length and longevity of wines from limestone. The vineyards are tended by the family, by hand, with low yields to ensure full ripeness every year.

Roccheviberti

Claudio Viberti is the 3rd generation to be at the helm of this small but very special estate in Castiglione Falletto - one of the great cru of Barolo. His grandfather bought the vines, just 4.5 HA in 1946, but it was not until 2002 when the young Claudio took the reins that they bottled their own wines in earnest. His father and grandfather largely sold off their juice or their grapes to other local estates. Claudio is proud that since his tenure started they have bottled everything themselves and sold the wines under their own label.
The estate's 'village' Barolo is made from a patchwork of plots of very old vines dotted throughout the village. It is the most perfect example of this commune's famed elegance. Pitch-perfect Nebbiolo.

Claudio's two 'cru' wines are both true wonders and take things to another level. Yet, fascinatingly they could not be more different. The village sits atop a tall, very steep ridge and Claudio has vineyards on each side of the ridgeline. The mesmerising Rocche Castiglione is on sand with some limestone and tuffo in the soil's make up. The vineyard faces south-east so gets the early sun and constant fresh wind that keeps it healthy and disease free. The wine is incredibly fragrant, with gentle bright fruit and a soft touch. Classic for this village - but so remarkable it stops you in its tracks, this is remarkably fine Barolo.

Claudio's other vines are in the hugely famous Bricco Boschis vineyard. For decades the Cavalotto family have been the only producers of Barolo Bricco Boschis, leading many to feel it was a monopole. This is not the case as several growers have Dolcetto vines here, Claudio regrafted some of his old vines to Nebbiolo and from 2014 has made his own Barolo Bricco Boschis. You can quickly see why this vineyard is one of Piedmont's most prized. Facing West it benefits from the warm afternoon and evening sun and the soil here is heavy with clay. The results are astonishingly good, powerful and broad in contrast to Claudio's Rocche Castiglione. Rich and structured, this is a wine that will require patience - but is an absolute gem. Rightfully an historic name - we are delighted to be able to offer this very rare gem.

Andrea Oberto

A small family run winery and vineyard based in La Morra, The Obertos have sixteen hectares of vineyards and produce a brilliant 'village' Barolo from La Morra itself - as well as two other Barolos from different top 'crus' in this sought after village - Rocche dell'Annunziata in La Morra and Albarella in Barolo, just above Cannubi. The wines are beautifully focused and age well, although immensely approachable in their youth as there is a deliciously juicy and generous feel that runs through all the wines.

The winery’s history dates back to 1959, when Andrea's father bought a small-holding and farmhouse in La Morra. At that time farmers could not survive with just one crop, and so he earned a living growing peaches, grapes and raising cows. However, in the family business there was not enough work for everyone and so Andrea, decided to leave the farm and started working for a big company as truck driver. He came back (thankfully!) to La Morra in 1978 when his father died, inheriting the family’s land and taking on the management of the farm.He soon began to focus solely on vine growing. At the beginning the grapes were sold to cooperatives or even to friends and family. Andrea's talents soon became clear, he was a natural with a deft hand and a great palate. The small farm quickly morphed into a wine company with sixteen hectares of their own wines and a brilliant cellar.

When we visited the family in the Autumn of 2021 Andrea was rightfully full of optimism and enthusiasm. On the subject of these latest releases Andrea tells us that because of some recent big ticket vintages proving great hits with the press, it is hard to throw the spotlight of lesser celebrated years - however good they are! But we can confirm Andrea has not put a foot wrong and these latest releases are pure joy.

Marziano Abbona

The Abbona vineyards were first established in the early part of the 20th Century by Marziano and Celso Abbona (father and son) just outside the town of Dolgliani. Famed for it's Dolcetto, it was Celso who first planted the Bricco Doriolo vineyard in the 1950's and it is from here that the estate's flagship wine 'Papá Celso' derives. Rightly heralded as one of Piedmont's greatest Dolcettos, it is wine of elegance, power and harmony, a wine that can age gracefully for many years.

In the mid-sixties the estate passed to Celso's sons Marziano and Enrico and they worked tirelessly to further establish the reputation of their local Dolcetto and bottled the first wines under the family name. In the early 1980's they added holdings in the prestigious Cru's of Barolo Ravera (Novello) and Bricco Barone and Rinaldi (Monforte d'Alba).

Following the untimely death of Enrico in 1999, Marziano's daughter Mara joined the family business and the estate continued it's acquisitions of Barolo vineyards with plots in Pressenda (Monforte d'Alba) and Cerviano (Novello). It was also a time when Marziano was experimenting with a new white wine, Cinerino, made from Viognier, as he had enjoyed great Condrieu and wanted to see if they could replicate the wines in the hills of Dolgliani. Today it has become something of celebrity and is found in restaurants throughout Piedmont.

2007 commemorated the 30th vintage of the Papá Celso Dolcetto and the following year Marziano's youngest daughter Chiara joined the business.

Barale Fratelli

The Barale family's wine-making history can be traced right back to 1870 when the village of Barolo first started making a name for itself as a hub for fine quality Nebbiolo in the Langhe region. This charming small town now gives its name to the whole region and remains one of the most important of the 11 Barolo 'villages'.

The historic Barale family winery is right in the centre. From the outside it would appear to be just another townhouse - but through the gates you find a gorgeous courtyard and a labyrinth of cellars that lead on to the winery itself. On our last visit we found the family mid-harvest and this ancient workspace was in full swing and working ideally - so why would you move? It was a joy to watch the seamless transition of the grapes from the small picking-baskets on the back of the tractor into the fermentation tanks.
They have moved with the times in the cellar - but only to help them preserve the charm and freshness of their great terroirs. Luigi resisted the fashions of the 1990s here, shunning the heavier extraction and hunt for more power - and never jumping to using lots of new oak. His unstinting allegiance to traditional winemaking serves the family well now. These are elegant, poised and sometimes hauntingly good wines. Tradition is at the heart of how they operate here - but they are not luddites! Embracing modern practices when they can help achieve their goals, rather than change the results.

Francesco Barale, great-grandfather of the current owner, was among the pioneers in the production of Barolo. Today Luigi and his daughters Eleonora and Gloria carry on the old family tradition.

Cigliuti

Sisters Claudia and Silvia Cigliuti took over the running of this vineyard from their father Renato. He was the first member of the family to begin bottling his own wine, back in 1964, roughly the same time as other pioneers in the region like Giacosa, but the family can trace its roots on this land back to the late eighteenth century.

Most of the vineyard and the winery is on the Serraboella hill, looking over Neive from the east, and it is the Barbaresco Serraboella which is the flagship wine of the estate. This hill, composed of calcareous marl and tufa soils, gives classic wines which combine the textural finesse of clay and the length and longevity of wines from limestone. The vineyards are tended by the family, by hand, with low yields to ensure full ripeness every year.

Roccheviberti

Claudio Viberti is the 3rd generation to be at the helm of this small but very special estate in Castiglione Falletto - one of the great cru of Barolo. His grandfather bought the vines, just 4.5 HA in 1946, but it was not until 2002 when the young Claudio took the reins that they bottled their own wines in earnest. His father and grandfather largely sold off their juice or their grapes to other local estates. Claudio is proud that since his tenure started they have bottled everything themselves and sold the wines under their own label.
The estate's 'village' Barolo is made from a patchwork of plots of very old vines dotted throughout the village. It is the most perfect example of this commune's famed elegance. Pitch-perfect Nebbiolo.

Claudio's two 'cru' wines are both true wonders and take things to another level. Yet, fascinatingly they could not be more different. The village sits atop a tall, very steep ridge and Claudio has vineyards on each side of the ridgeline. The mesmerising Rocche Castiglione is on sand with some limestone and tuffo in the soil's make up. The vineyard faces south-east so gets the early sun and constant fresh wind that keeps it healthy and disease free. The wine is incredibly fragrant, with gentle bright fruit and a soft touch. Classic for this village - but so remarkable it stops you in its tracks, this is remarkably fine Barolo.

Claudio's other vines are in the hugely famous Bricco Boschis vineyard. For decades the Cavalotto family have been the only producers of Barolo Bricco Boschis, leading many to feel it was a monopole. This is not the case as several growers have Dolcetto vines here, Claudio regrafted some of his old vines to Nebbiolo and from 2014 has made his own Barolo Bricco Boschis. You can quickly see why this vineyard is one of Piedmont's most prized. Facing West it benefits from the warm afternoon and evening sun and the soil here is heavy with clay. The results are astonishingly good, powerful and broad in contrast to Claudio's Rocche Castiglione. Rich and structured, this is a wine that will require patience - but is an absolute gem. Rightfully an historic name - we are delighted to be able to offer this very rare gem.

Andrea Oberto

A small family run winery and vineyard based in La Morra, The Obertos have sixteen hectares of vineyards and produce a brilliant 'village' Barolo from La Morra itself - as well as two other Barolos from different top 'crus' in this sought after village - Rocche dell'Annunziata in La Morra and Albarella in Barolo, just above Cannubi. The wines are beautifully focused and age well, although immensely approachable in their youth as there is a deliciously juicy and generous feel that runs through all the wines.

The winery’s history dates back to 1959, when Andrea's father bought a small-holding and farmhouse in La Morra. At that time farmers could not survive with just one crop, and so he earned a living growing peaches, grapes and raising cows. However, in the family business there was not enough work for everyone and so Andrea, decided to leave the farm and started working for a big company as truck driver. He came back (thankfully!) to La Morra in 1978 when his father died, inheriting the family’s land and taking on the management of the farm.He soon began to focus solely on vine growing. At the beginning the grapes were sold to cooperatives or even to friends and family. Andrea's talents soon became clear, he was a natural with a deft hand and a great palate. The small farm quickly morphed into a wine company with sixteen hectares of their own wines and a brilliant cellar.

When we visited the family in the Autumn of 2021 Andrea was rightfully full of optimism and enthusiasm. On the subject of these latest releases Andrea tells us that because of some recent big ticket vintages proving great hits with the press, it is hard to throw the spotlight of lesser celebrated years - however good they are! But we can confirm Andrea has not put a foot wrong and these latest releases are pure joy.

Sottimano

The next generation of Andrea, Elena and Claudia Sottimano are now at the helm here and this exquisite estate continues to make better and better wines - some of the finest in Barbaresco. This sixteen hectare estate is based in the Cotta' region of Barbaresco, and the Sottimano family have over the years bought outstanding vineyards in the 'crus' of Currà, Cottà, Fausoni and Pajore. In the vineyard they work organically and aim to limit yields. The winemaking is as low-intervention as possible, using only natural yeasts and then bottling without filtering or fining. All of these 'crus' are given exactly the same élevage, so as to allow the individual 'terroirs' to express their character. Terroir expression is the target here - and these amazing wines are as much an education as a joy to drink.

There are five different crus - each with very specific attributes where they produce their distinctly different Barbarescos. The latest edition is Basarin, with a mixture of clay, limestone and sand, is at about four hundred metres above sea level. This produces the estate's Langhe Nebbiolo, which is basically 'village Barbaresco', as the vines are very young (10-15 years old). It makes for wines that are always very elegant, refined, tannins are silky and softer, nuanced of spices and herbs (eucalyptus).

Fausoni, on sand and clay, makes wines that are always very elegant - mint, liquorice and little red fruits. This is in the historical part of Neive.

Currà, on clay and limestone, is one of the smallest cru of the whole appellation, wines are always very intense and powerful, hard-bodied and with good tannins. Hints of spices and smoke are characteristics of this area.

Cottà, on limestone with clay is one of the oldest cru in Barbaresco, vines are always very old here (fifty years and older) and the colours are just a little bit lighter than other vineyards (because of the clay), but they have a very distinctive nose of dark fruits and mint, a great elegance and mineral tannins.

Pajore is almost entirely on limestone with just a little clay. This is the highest vineyard of all, at 420 metres above sea level. The vines are very old, and it is always the most mineral and elegant of the four Barbarescos. Limestone brings into the wine a great purity of fruit, a distinctive aroma of spices and tobacco (cigar box) and a very unusual quality of tannins, firm but very mineral.