Throughout June we celebrate the wines of Italy in all Glengarry stores. We’ve just landed the latest releases from all of these producers I have written about in this article. You’ll find these wines in our stores now and the wines of Italy featured in our June Wineletter.
One of my favourite parts of Italy is Piedmont in the north and, in particular, the village of Barolo. Barolo is a wine style as well as a village, with the wines that are used to produce Barolo coming from around the village and neighbouring villages that make up the Barolo designation.
The grape variety behind the great wines of Barolo is Nebbiolo, known for its impressive tannins, acidity, structure and ability to age. On a recent visit, I visited a number of our producers that we import from. Once again, I was super impressed with the quality of these wines and the relative value for money. As many of the great fine wines of the world become inaccessible it’s no surprise that Barolo and neighbouring Barbaresco are gaining so much attention. Here’s a little on some of my favourite producers from Barolo:
Established in 1890, the Damilano winery is run today by the fifth generation of the family. Damilano are the largest land owners in the prized Barolo Cru Cannubi with an impressive 10ha under their control. As well as Cannubi, Damilano have two of the hectares of Liste as well as the Crus Brunate and Cerequio. The style here has changed over the last ten years - the story is not uncommon in Barolo. As the area evolved and the producers looked outside, they adopted many a technique used elsewhere, including the use of Barriques. Though ten years ago Damilano had the good sense to understand that Nebbiolo can lose its charm with too much new oak and have gone back to old large French oak. The absolute jewel in their crown is a wine that we don’t have right now, though will in the future – Cannubi Riserva “1752”. The name referencing the oldest Cannubi wine made, 100 years before the first known Barolo. The Riserva is made from the heart of Cannubi, the oldest part of the vineyard. The name is also significant in that it is from one vineyard, with seven years ageing - five in barrel and two in bottle.
Ca’ del Baio
Located in the villages of Barbaresco and Treiso, both of which are in the production area for Barbaresco. Barbaresco, like its more well-known Piedmont neighbour Barolo, is a wine growing area that makes wines from Nebbiolo. Established in 1870, Ca’ del Baio remains today a family company led by the fourth generation. Among their range is the prized cru of Asili. Whilst the family had been growing grapes here for many years, it was not until 1988 that they started to vinify them separately, and not long after the Pora. Ca’ del Baio manage their winery and vineyards sustainably, using very little intervention and as little sulphur in the winery as possible. The wines are vinified with natural yeasts and nurtured to ensure they reach your cellar ready for the long rest ahead.
Both an old name and new, the property that today houses Fontanafredda is known as Mirafiore and was the original name that the Fontanafredda wines were labelled under when established back in the 1870s. The name has only recently been reintroduced by Fontanafredda for a range of wines that are made off their original historic vineyard plots, in the style that they used to produce. Fontanafredda is a large site that today houses a visitor centre, winery and various buildings with many other uses as well. Historically it was its own village, with those that tended the grapes and made the wine residing there with their families, together with all that the community needed for sustainability, schooling, heath and care. It’s that philosophy of environment, health and wellbeing that sits behind these wines, together with no use of chemicals or pesticides in the vineyard, a natural approach to winemaking, an historic view of preserving the site and very low use of sulphur. Exceptional expressions of the original historic part of Fontanafredda are captured as Mirafiore.
While the name Gagliardo is somewhat new to Barolo's terrain, the estate itself has been around since 1847 and passed down through generations of the Colla family until it reached Paolo Colla, the fourth generation, who dedicated his intense energy to producing Barolo, “the king of wines”, in the township of La Morra. In 1973 his daughter Marivanna married Gianni Gagliardo, a young man from Monticello d'Alba. Gianni was a passionate young man with a notable entrepreneurial talent. Gianni’s love for the vineyards and the wines of Barolo was immediate. Between the two men was born a deep friendship and a fruitful collaboration which is the basis of their extraordinary success.
From the second half of the eighties, Gianni Gagliardo took the reins of the winery that now bears his name, signifying a change in guard and in winemaking style. In the early years of the new millennium, the sixth generation of the family gradually began to work for the house - Gianni's sons Stefano, Alberto, and Paolo.
Purchased by the Rossi family, which has been instrumental in restoring La Raia, Cucco have been in Barolo since 1967 and vinified Cerrati, their cru, since 1996. Tenuta Cucco is in the process of transitioning to biodynamics. The range includes three Barolo - one from the Serralunga area, Cerrati and Cerrati Riserva. Cucco also vinify Chardonnay and Barbera. The vineyards stretch over 13ha and there’s a tiny 70,000 bottles produced, predominantly Barolo.