I went to a wine tasting today and I knew I was in for a rare treat because A) it was an Italian wine maker B) hit included Barolo and C) when I went to do a little research in my stack of wine books, I found accolades for Vietti wines. You know the winery is held in high regard when Karen MacNeil includes a multigenerational photo of the Vietti family in her recent edition of The Wine Bible. Honestly, she could have chosen a photo of a Vietti wine label, but instead she has a photo of the whole family. To me, that says something! The Wine Bible also lists Vietta on the list of best producers for both Barolo and Barbaresco (both wines are made from Nebbiolo… in case you were asking) and Barbera (just to confuse you with all these B words).
Luca Currado is the current generation of Vietti’s long history of family wine makers . As he spoke, his passion for grape growing, wine making and wine drinking is front and center. He says he was born to make wine and is convinced he was conceived in the wine cellar of the Vietti estate. He is an educated enologist and has tended to his personal and professional wine growth in France and California before taking the reigns at the Vietti estate.
We tasted six wines today. One white and five reds. All were excellent. The hardest thing for me to do was dump the remaining wine from my first three glasses so that they could be refilled again. I really would have liked to continue to revisit them throughout the afternoon. So I will revisit a few of them in my mind as follows:
Our first wine was 2015 Vietti Roero Arneis. This is a white wine. You COULD think of it as an ugly step sister to the tremendous red wines produced in this area, but you would be foolish. Take another look at this not-so-shy beauty with dry wit and a full body. She carries a gorgeous floral aroma and gives up hints of pear. And all of that body is achieved without the use of oak aging, so her freshness shines through. Arneis plantings were in serious decline, but she is a bit of a come back kid as people have discovered all her attributes!!
The next wine to make me really happy was the 2011 Vietta Barbera d’Asti ‘La Crena’. Barbera historically has been the wine of the locals. It is considered simpler than Barolo and Barbaresco, but sometimes simple is pretty darn smart. Barbera grapes have naturally high acidity. The acid helps preserve the wine for aging, helps keep its fresh fruit flavors, and allows the wine to go with almost any dish you want to put on your table. If Barolo is the Wine of Kings and we must prepare a meal worthy of a king, than Barbera is your best friend coming over to join you for a casual meal. ‘La Crena’ is no slouch, however. ‘La Crena’ is a single vineyard Barbera from vines greater than 80 years old. Both French oak and Slovanian oak are used for aging and this Barbera has a richer mouth feel than most I’ve experienced. Delicious. I’m ready for some winter beef stew and root vegetables.
Along the lines of Burgundy, the Barolo region is working to determine the best vineyards for its world reknowned Barolo wines. Unofficially, there are about 20 vineyards worthy of being “Grand Cru” and about 40 worthy of being “Premier Cru”. Vietti owns part of 15 top vineyards. Officially? Well, I would imagine making an official determination would be a political nightmare. However, it could happen eventually.
The 2012 Vietti Barolo Castiglion is a blend of 11 single vineyards (cru). High tannins and good acidity make for a beautfully balanced wine with flavors and aromas of tea, violets and balsalmic. This wine is a fine example of Barolo. Each cru was fermented separately and aged in Slovanian Oak. Then 5 or 6 are chosen to make the ‘Castiglion’. The other 5 or 6 are blended to make Vietto Nebbiolo ‘Perbacco’, which was not included in the tasting.
Our final wine was the 2009 Vietti Barolo “Roccha di Castiglione”. This beautifully perfumed wine had full body and a smooth expression. The tannins were high but they were nicely integrated into the wine so the result was quite harmonious. I was humming!!! Only 300 caes of this single vineyard wine were made from 2009. I felt quite honored to be able to taste it!!
These wines are not available at your grocery store or big box wine store. But if you ask Jim Veal about these wines, he has tried them, remembers what they taste like and likely has a few bottles at his house. Yea Jim!
I am so grateful that Luca Currado came to share his wine and his passion with us. I hope I have shared his infomation accurately! And, although we didn’t discuss the wine labels, I have to say, I really like them!! Almost as much as the wine… but not quite!