Posted: April 5, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
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Posted: February 10, 2012 By Bruce Sanderson
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Posted: January 17, 2012 By Mitch Frank
Posted: January 4, 2012 By Harvey Steiman
I opened a bottle of Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche Brunate 1993 for dinner on New Year’s Eve, the last of that vintage in my cellar. When the Ceretto brothers made that wine, few were talking about high alcohol, excessive ripeness or natural wines, the current contentiousness of the wine world. Then, the issue in Italy was traditional wines vs. modern wines.
Back then, I was traveling to Piedmont regularly for Wine Spectator to taste the next vintages of Barolo and Barbaresco. I remember this wine from barrel. Ceretto used modern methods in the vineyards and winery to achieve even ripeness and shorter fermentation times to emphasize fruit character, but avoided the use of small, new oak barrels. Unlike some modernists, Ceretto at that time seemed unconcerned with the biting, crisp tannins that the Nebbiolo grape could produce. As a result, the Ceretto style at the time always struck me as having a foot in both camps.
Posted: December 14, 2011 By Mitch Frank
Posted: December 2, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
On my third day of visits in Barolo, I saw Luciano Sandrone and Elio Grasso. Luciano Sandrone started is estate from scratch and Grasso, though his father and grandfather grew grapes and other crops, switched from a career in finance to work his family's land.
Sandrone came from a family of carpenters in La Morra. Rather than join the family business, he learned to make wine, first at the traditional Giacomo Borgogno, then at Marchesi di Barolo, where he became the cellar master. Sandrone purchased 2.5 acres in Cannubi Boschis in 1970, releasing his first Barolo from the 1978 vintage.
Elio Grasso began bottling under his own label in 1980. His grandfather bought vineyards in Ginestra in 1920, selling grapes and a little wine in barrel, a practice continued by Grasso's father until his death in 1979. His son Gianluca has been making the wines since 1995.
Posted: November 29, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
I visited two Piedmont wineries today, Azelia and Domenico Clerico. The style of wines at Azelia emphasizes fresh fruit with the underlying elements of terroir. For example, its Dolcetto is refined and elegant, while the Barolos, most from Serralunga, exhibit more structure, with the exception of the charming and graceful Bricco Fiasco. From Azelia it was on to the eponymous Domenico Clerico, a visit I was anticipating since we chose his Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra 2006 as the No. 8 wine in this year's Wine Spectator Top 100.
Posted: November 23, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
Founded in 1881 by Mauro Mascarello’s great-grandfather, the estate of Giuseppe Mascarello & Figli today covers 44.5 acres in Castiglione Falletto and Monforte d’Alba, two towns in the storied Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. About two-thirds of the vineyards are dedicated to Nebbiolo, the region's most famous grape and the one used for the wine of Barolo and Barbaresco.
Mascarello’s grandfather Maurizio purchased vineyards in one of the zone’s most historic sites, Monprivato in Castiglione, in 1904, building a cellar there. He moved to a former ice-making factory in Monchiero in 1919, where the state-of-the-art building offered constant temperature year-round for the wines.
Traditional winemaking is the philosophy here, though Mascarello, who took over responsibility for the vineyards and wines in 1967 (after 15 years working alongside his father), has shortened fermentation time over the years from 60 to 30 days. He also began bottling each vineyard separately, beginning with Monprivato in 1970.
Posted: November 21, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
I’m back in Piedmont, the region of northwestern Italy where vintners are best known for working the Nebbiolo grape from the renowned Barolo and Barbaresco appellations, for a week of winery visits. After a light lunch of lingua with salsa verde and tajarin at More e Macina in the town of La Morra, I was off to my first appointment.
Castello di Verduno, in the village of Verduno, one of Barolo’s 11 communes, has a history that dates back to the beginning of the 16th C. Its current viticultural history stems from the marriage of Gabriella Burlotto of Verduno and Franco Bianco of Barbaresco. As a result of this union, the winemaking and aging is done in Barbaresco, with the castle providing a vaulted cellar for storing the wines in bottle.
One of the specialties of the house is the Pelaverga Piccolo, a grape indigenous to the area that is only grown in Verduno.
Posted: November 15, 2011 By Mitch Frank
Posted: October 31, 2011
Posted: October 31, 2011 By Bruce Sanderson
Posted: October 31, 2011 By Alison Napjus
Posted: October 31, 2011 By Jennifer Fiedler
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