The first wine tasted was the Arneis 2015. The grapes for this wine are sourced from vineyards planted in 1967 in Santo Stefano Roero on calcareous clay soils. The training system is guyot and the planting density is between 4500 and 500 vines/ha. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and remains on the lees for 25 days.
Walnut and creamy richness. Lime and lime rind. Minerality. Attention-grabbing acidity. According to Elena this wine should be put aside for a while; maybe 1 year.
We next tasted the 2013 Barbera d'Alba Vigna Scarrone. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the Barbera vineyard directly below the cellar in Castiglione Falletto. This vineyard was planted in 1988 against the wishes of Luca's dad. The wine was fermented for 15 days in open-top stainless steel tanks and macerated for an additional 7 days before being transferred to barrels for malolactic fermentation (MLF). The wine was aged in barrel and bottle for 1 year.
High-tone red fruit with a predominance of strawberries. Light on the palate. Non-complex. Piney character which gives way to a metallic finish.
The La Crena Barbera d'Asti 2012 is sourced from vines planted in 1932. South-facing vineyard on clayey silt soils and vines trained guyot. Twenty-day fermentation in open-top steel vats and then transferred to barrels for MLF. Aged in barrels and barriques for 16 months. The old vines generally yield structured, powerful wines and this drives the decision to keep the wines in bottle for an additional year before commercial release.
Rich red fruit. Savoriness. Oily. Concentrated. Hint of sweetness. Great acidity. Full round mouthfeel yielding to a long finish.
The Barolo Brunate 2012 is sourced from 43-year-old vines grown on chalky-clay soils in the historic Brunate vineyard in La Morra. The 1.6-ha plot is planted to 4600 vines/ha. Three days of cold maceration is followed by 15 days of fermentation and five days of maceration. MLF in barrels followed by 36 months of aging in large barrels and barriques. Blended and bottled without filtration.
Classic tar and rose notes. Pine. Asphalt. On the palate, rich yet focused. Silky tannins. Fresh, fruity, and elegant.
As was the case for the Brunate vineyard, the Lazzarito vineyard is also blessed with chalky-clay soils. The 1.7 ha Vietti plot is SW facing and the 39-year-old vines are planted 4500 vines/ha. The 2012 Lazzarito had a nose of beautiful, rich red fruit with baking spices, black pepper, and a savoriness. Powerful wine with sweet red fruits dominating the palate.
I have described the Rocche di Castiglione MGA in greater detail elsewhere. The Vietti plot is 1.3 ha in size, is SE-facing and is planted to 4600 plants/ha with 47-year-old vines. A 29-day fermentation-maceration period is followed by MLF and 31 months in barrel.
The 2012 Rocche di Castiglione exhibited red cherries, roses, licorice, and spice on the nose. Power and bright acidity on the palate. Full, round mouthfeel. Lengthy finish.
This was a stunning lineup and reinforced the acclaim which is heaped upon the estate's wines. At the conclusion of the tasting, Suzanne Hoffman presented a copy of her book (Labor of Love) to Elena.
|Elena and Suzanne sharing a moment re Labor|
|Parlo, Elena, and author|
All-in-all a very good visit. There were no hints of what was to come.
©Wine -- Mise en abyme