Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monvigliero, the "Grand Cru" of Barolo's Verduno commune

In my most recent post I wrote about my visit to Comm. B. G. Burlotto and its iconic single-vineyard wine sourced from the Monvigliero cru. This cru is widely held to be the best in Verduno and one of the best in the entire Barolo zone (see, for example, Vittore Alessandria in his Vinous video on the Monvigliero vineyard and Gian Battista Alessandria in his video interview with BBR). In his scheme, Galloni rates this vineyard as Outstanding while Masnaghetti rates it as Three Stars. Renato Ratti did not mention this vineyard in scheme.

As shown in the figure immediately below, Verduno (to the north of the red borderline) is the northernmost of the Barolo sub-zones. Monvigliero is one of its most northern vineyards. Monvigliero is shown at the top of the first map (orange-brown color) and is highlighted within the red border in the satellite map following.

Verduno commune with Monvigliero cru at top center
(orange-brown color).

Rough (red) outline of Monvigliero cru

The River Tanaro runs through the commune and, according to Fabio Alessandria of Comm. G. B. Butlotto,  affects its microclimate. The vineyard is south-facing and has full access to the sun's rays all day. In addition, the soils are white. This combination results in summer warmth but this is mitigated by a cooling breeze that flows along the river valley during the nights. This breeze contributes to a significant diurnal temperature variation, a variation that is important for the characteristics of the wine: perfect maturity of fine, gentle tannins. (IDTT 246, Levi Dalton interview of Fabio). The Monvigliero vineyard is a beneficiary of these conditions.

The characteristics of this cru are shown in the figure below.

Source: Masnaghetti's Barolo MGA

The soil, according to paoloscavino.com, is primarily light-colored limestone mixed with chalky veins. According to Fabio (Vinous video on Monvigliero), the soil is traditional Sant'Agata marls with a mix of 40% silt, 30% limestone, and 30% sand. These white limestone soils drain well and ally with the micro-climate to give considerable finesse to the wines.

The producers plying their trade in the cru are shown below. Known vineyard sizes are Fratelli Alessandria (1.30 ha over three plots), Scavino (0.8340 ha), and Bel Colle (1.35 ha).


Wine Characteristics
According to Fabio, Verduno wines provide perfume, elegance, and finesse, especially from Monvigliero, which is considered the most feminine vineyard in the Barolo area. In the interview with Levi Dalton (IDTT wine 246), Fabio described the Monvigliero as being "lighter and more airy than other Barolos". In my interview with him Fabio described the wines from this cru as having a different quality of tannin in the mouth, a deepness, and a complexity of texture. The Monvigliero, according to Fabio, "exalts brightness and freshness."

Vittore Alessandria sees Monvigliero as producing "Barolo wine that is very fragranced and delicate with a balanced body and with soft tannins." This is "an extremely long-lasting wine which preserves these characteristics through time."

In my tasting of the 2012 Monvigliero at the Burlotto cantina, I described the wine thusly: "The Monvigliero had an almost see-through color; cinnamon, raspberry, strawberry, rhubarb, green herbs, and black olives on the nose; and stems on the palate. Fruit concentration balanced by acid levels. Pure. Will have a long, fruitful life."


©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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