Grandi Langhe, 2017 – new releases, old friends, Part I

The Langhe, as you may already know, is a UNESCO heritage site. More specifically, it’s a valley that runs from the North to the South, or vice versa, as you prefer. Langhe includes the regions of (in the north) Barbaresco, and Roero, Barolo and its sub-zones in the middle, and (in the South) Dogliani & Farigliano, and other sub-zones as well.

It’s within this region, this aesthetically magnificent, and culturally wondrous and diverse region that many winegrapes are grown, many different wines produced.

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some new construction, June 2017, on the far eastern side of Monforte d’Alba, looking north

I can tell you that Sauvignon Blanc is grown in this region, so is Pinot Nero (Noir), and Riesling, and Chardonnay as well as others you might not expect. But those are grown more for the delight of the people that make the wines/own the land, and their own personal consumption, not something that’s commercially significant. Instead, it’s varieties such as Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera, Arneis that have helped to distinguish this as one of the world’s finest places to grown wine.

The program of Grandi Langhe, its venues and themes are broken up in to six basic parts: three morning sessions, in three different locations, and three afternoon sessions, also in different locations, for a total of 2 sessions/themes each day for three days. There’s a shuttle service that can help moving from location to location, or if one chooses, they can try and find parking close by; I chose to drive to each of the six venues, as I know the routes, best places to find parking, and I had the time to arrive at each one well before the session(s) began (this is key, if driving/parking).

Here’s an alphabetical list of all of the producers that participate in this event.   Note that not all producers in this region chose to participate; the reasons are various. Remember that most of these wineries are small family operations, and it can be that there’s simply not someone available to attend three full days of work (probably more, as it includes a lot of preparation), especially if nature is causing additional/unforeseen work in the vineyards – this is the time (usually) just before bud-break.

The first day, 2 April, was a drab, rainy, cold affair; I chose to do the morning session in La Morra. If you look below, you can see the weather that greeted all of us.

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11am, between La Morra and St. Maria

Looking at the picture above, it’s not such a glorious (weather) day; but, it’s Spring, what do you expect? And, as Spring (that volatile time when winter wants to prolong its life, and summer is waiting to come to life) goes, as you can see from the photo below, the weather the following morning, in Monforte d’Alba, ~ 5 miles as the crow flies from where the photo (above) was taken, was nothing short of stupendous.

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I’ve written about Grandi Langhe in the past; it’s a great event, very professional, relaxed and well -organized. But what I’ve not done before is include some select tasting notes that might be of interest to buyers/collectors. So, from the more than 300 wines I tasted during those days, I’ve selected several that really stand out. Of course, if something’s not listed, you can always email me at timheaton@ItalianWine.blog for information that I might have in my (super extensive) notes.

 

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these types of events are always crowded, in older buildings, with smaller rooms, so it’s best to arrive early – I’m usually the first one there (temperature of the wine is generally the most favorable then)
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(Claudio with phone to his ear) Giacomo Fenocchio, Diego Conterno, etc.; day 2.

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arriving early has lots of benefits; Castello di Guarene.

2013 Francesco Rinaldi e Figli Barolo Le Brunate – A more classic garnet color. Already the nose is offering good complexity, purity, but it’s obvious it’s holding most of its perfumes in reserve; what I can see/sense is really quite nice. Lots of freshness here; kind of hard to resist. A quick taste, and then there’s the tannins, and resistance becomes a whole lot easier. This is classically built; meant for the coldest, darkest part of your cellar, and meant for those with lots of patience. Great potential here, just needs lots of rest; a great value. HOLD. 14,0% abv., 2027-2055recommended+

2013 San Biagio Barolo Bricco San Biagiom – I don’t think this wine is on anyone’s radar, it wasn’t on mine, but wow, tasting it, no doubt it should be. Traditional ~ 20 days on the skins (in oak, not INOX), with malo in barrel, too. After, no less than 30 months in Slavonian oak. Really nice extraction here, good weight, with an early approachability, and good structural context, too. Herbs, cherries, tobacco, truffle, soil, some strawberry. Lots going on here, with most aromas following to the med>medium+ palate; avg+ persistence, balance, and overall character. Tannins should resolve in another 3-4 years, though the wine (for my palate) is already quite approachable. Thru 2037. circa 14,0% abv. (resolved). Great value, hidden gem. Excited to try their other (4) Barolo winesrecommended+

2013 Boroli Barolo Cerequio – Classic garnet color. Intensely focused, structured and backward just now, though the material underneath the thick coat of tannins and high acidity reveals a wine of great purity and character. Good freshness, such taut lines, and crisp acidity. There’s an energy and elegance here that should benefit those who are willing to wait for this to enter its preferred plateau. Quite good, if coiled at the moment. 2024-2043+. Traditionalists welcome, hedonists stay away. The longer (more than double than in the past) maceration and softer extractions (submerged cap) really show in this wine, a lot more elegance these days. Less new/oak influence is helping the freshness and balance, toohighly recommended

2012 Ciabot Berton Barolo Roggeri – Very nice, explosive nose with a palate that backs it up; deep, and broad flavors, early approachability. Nose of rose, tar, menthol, talc, soil, and fresh cherries. Pulses with energy and freshness on the medium+ bodied palate, with good power and flavors still in reserve. Good freshness/acidity, nothing cutting here, just a gentle, confident lifthighly recommended

2012 Ciabot Berton Barolo Rocchettevino – Traditional garnet color, very little orange to the rim. A nice step up from the Classico bottling, the nose on this is already quite expressive, with strawberries, cherries, loam, menthol, good soil concentration, lactic, etc.; very pretty perfumes, good+ complexity. The palate is medium-bodied, offers solid freshness and presence; adds weight and complexity rather quickly. Nice core of sweet fruits, sweeter tannins (mostly resolved) and high acidity. I really like the energy and sapidity here, this is a winner. 14,5% abv., now thru 2030; probably best to aerate in decanter 60 minutes if serving anytime soonrecommended+

2013 Azienda Agricola Reverdito Michele Barolo Bricco Cogni – Classic color, opens with some pointy EtOH – fades quickly – followed by pomegranate, strawberry, soil, and cherry on the nose. Classic attack, high-er acidity, tannins show good resolution already, though they still need time to get in better concert with the other structural elements. Medium-bodied, well-structured, traditional. Yet another impressive young wine; great future aheadhighly recommended

2013 Azienda Agricola Reverdito Michele Barolo Castagni – From a cru site in La Morra/Sta. Maria, this classically colored wine (with orange/tawny rim), enters medium>medium-full, good breadth, developing depth. Persistence is already quite good for such a young wine. Good sapidity, very pure, focused, and structured. An excellent value at just 23€ at the cantina. 14,0% abv. (resolved), drink 2022-2037+. Quite nicehighly recommended

2013 Cavallotto Barolo Bricco Boschis – Striking, precise, deeply perfumed and artfully poised. The structure seems to match the quality of the extremely pure fruits, which is to say, this measures up to some of the very best newly released Barolo wines. I had to taste it twice, the second time, no spitting. Only going to get better from here, could well end up in epic territory. Glorious, elegant length; bravo, Alfio! 2024 thru 2048+. HOLDhighly recommended+

2013 M. Marengo Barolo Bricco delle Viole – Even if this was a PnP (they hadn’t finished setting up yet, it was only 10am on Sunday morning), this suffered in no way. Sure, it needs time, all these 2013 Barolo wines do, but this one is already giving a good sense of place; the color is another shade beyond that of the Classico tasted prior. A good sense of harmony here, this is already quite tasty. With the perfumes as vivid and powerful as they are already, I have to wonder what this is going to be like in 4-5 years – tasty, I think! Good personality, good balance, and, thanks to the vintage, plenty of fresh acidity. 14,5% abv., drink 2021-2039highly recommended

2013 M. Marengo Barolo Will be one of the earlier-drinking 2013 Barolo wines, with more fruit and fullness today than a lot of its peers; already quite pretty compared to many of the (closed) 2013s today. My notes include, “exuberant, bold, it has a future, I like this wine, vivid”, etc. There’s good complexity in the middle, you’ll just need to coax it out. Medium+ finish, good structure; good acidity. Thru 2034+highly recommended

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beginning of day 2, in Monforte d’Alba, looking south

I’ll be posting highlights from the other sessions (e.g. Roero, Barbaresco, Barolo, etc.) soon, as well as more/related highlights.

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