2012 Vie Erte Cigliuti
The 2012 Barbaresco Vie Erte is soft, succulent and quite enjoyable today. Sweet red cherry, cranberry, orange peel and white pepper give the Vie Erte its distinctive, high-toned personality, an impression that is reinforced by the vibrant, pulsating tannins. I imagine the 2012 will always retain its slightly nervous personality, but I would also prefer to drink it on the early side given its mid-weight structure. Expressive floral and tobacco notes reappear on the expressive finish. Drinking range: 2018 - 2032 Rating: 92+ Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Oct 2016)
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Bottled just a month ago, the 2012 Barbaresco Vie Erte is quite closed and compact today, especially in feel, but the classic red-toned profile of Erte is very much present in the glass. Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, orange peel, mint and white pepper give the 2012 an attractive upper register and a level of delineation that is unusual in this vintage. The steep site, planted just in 1997, has really begun to come around and produce fabulous wines. The Vie Erte was aged entirely in cask. Drinking range: 2018 - 2032 Rating: 93-93 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Dec 2015)
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.
It is often lazily asserted that if Barolo is the King of Piedmontese wines Barbaresco is the Queen; which can unfairly suggest Barbaresco as the lesser of the two - it certainly isn't - and suggest a more feminine style to Barbaresco - which is rather hard to discern in reality. It is more in the way of a dual monarchy - two Kings, or Queens if you prefer, both can be big, both can be highly seductive. This is the intense and sensual world of Nebbiolo, where solid tannins vie unexpectedly well with delicate fruit, and where age unwinds ever more complex flavours. In this case we have a brace of wines from Cigliuti, wines that are surprisingly open in relative youth but offer much promise for the future; and a trio from the butch solid grippingly tannic world of Sottimano which cry out for a cool dark cellar and some patience.
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