It’s like any other day at Vin Italy, there’s too much to do, too many people, and not enough time (and it’s too warm, but I digress). But, as I’m walking by the various stands (each space is referred to as a stand – we’d say booth – and something clicks in my head (not the usual click(s), this was a message sent to me from the root directory, the one that said, stop, go in there and taste the wines, the wines you fell in love with a decade ago), and so I stop, and I read the message sent to me from the root directory, and proceed directly into the Casa Emma stand.
I walk inside, where I’m warmly greeted by Dr. Alessandro Bucalossi, current steward of Casa Emma, and the winery’s brilliant young enologist, Marco Salvadori (photo below) and ask to taste the wines. They’re very happy to oblige, and Dr. Bucalossi begins the pour(s); as most things like this unfold, he starts by telling me something about Casa Emma. That’s when I stop him (I might have rudely interrupted, but that’s kinda me, I was so excited, and all) and tell them I’ve got some history with these wines, and that these wines are a part of me now -somehow, they changed me, or at least my course in the world of wine enjoyment. Their smiles grow. I am at home.
I taste through the wines, the Chianti Classico, the Vignalparco, the Riserva, and finally, the Solo Ìo. I’ve not had the Vignalparco or the Solo Ìo before, so we spend a few minutes discussing these wines. As their vineyard map (below) illustrates, the Vignlaparco wines are made from 100% Sangiovese grapes (that used to go in to their Riserva bottling) coming from the top three rows of vines, those in the choice location from a single plot of Sangiovese. The vines are approximately 15yrs of age., the exposition is pretty much perfect; the wines are finished in 2nd and 3rd passage Fr. barrique for a year, then held in bottle for ~ six months before release. The Solo Ìo is Casa Emma’s 100% Merlot that comes from 25yr old vines, rooted on a slope of limestone, rock and clay. Both of these wines (which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the Chianti Classico or the 2011 Riserva, I did, in fact, they blew me away) have me re-calculating my entire trip – I’ve got to visit, I’ve got to know more. A discussion begins.
We agree on a date, a few weeks later; a Saturday; the drive will be about four hours from my base in Barbaresco region, so I’ll need to drive down the night before, stay in Chianti Classico, and then make the 20 minute drive from my lodging (this place is awesome, I highly recommend it to those looking for rest, relaxation and a very natural, historical setting Relais Villa Casalta). I can hardly wait for two weeks to pass.
In the next post, join me as I find out what it was, their special recipe, if you will, that makes the wines of Casa Emma so brilliant. Having visited more than 300 vineyards at that time, in about 10 countries, I still wasn’t prepared for what I found at Casa Emma (and it wasn’t something I was told they were doing, or told it was something to look for, it’s just there, and it totally caught me off guard).
(header photo: Langhe vineyards, circa 2014)