Notes from Wine Tasting Day 2 – Piemonte 2011

Weary of the fact that the Cavallotto family likes to sleep in, we arrived for our 10 am tasting.  Quiet at first, but after walking around for awhile, I think we managed to wake up parts of the family. Giuseppe showed us around. More than an hours in the garden, and overlooking the vineyards.  The Arboret is mostly his father’s passion, but the entire family share the passion for nature and the wonders of agriculture and winemaking.  Their cellar is mixture of old and new, with newest part is built in 2002.

Cavallotto winery, Castiglione Falletto

First out was a Langhe Pinot Noir. From 2009, classified as a warm year in the Langhe. Truly a different kind of wine, a white red wine if you like. With deep yellow color, came across a perfect summer wine.

Next, the 09 Dolcetto d’Alba Vigna Scot.  In most years, at this price point, one of the better buys you can do. So also for the 09.  Giuseppe did forewarn us though, of a not so good year for Dolcetto in Castiglione Falletto overall in 2010.

Outside Cavallotto winery in Castiglione Falletto

The 07 Barbera d’Alba Vigna Cucolo Bricco Boschis has spent 2 years in wood.  High acidity, a bit more all over the place than the normally very balanced barbera from Cavalotto. That said, this barbera competes well over it’s price range – the similar efforts from people like Conterno, Rinaldi, and Giacosa, are 10 to 15 EUROs above.

The 06 Barolo Bricco Boschis was earthy, with tobacco and licorice notes.  Silky tannins, and very balanced. One of the great wines of the 06 vintage.  Should be at its best some 10+ years from now.

Cavalotto barrels

Giuseppe also generously offered to taste the 04 Barolo Riserva Vigna San Giuseppe.  A bit closed down still, it gives away dark berry and wet forest floor aromas.  An extremely balanced and elegant wine. One of the top wines tasted on this year’s tour of the Langhe. Well done.

Giuseppe will tell you that is has been impossible to make great wines in years other than 04 and 06 lately. Translated into normal English and Italian, subtracting the humility of  the older brother, that basically means that 04 and 06 are extraordinary, and that wines from the other years are just simply great.

It’s hard to top a Cavallotto winery visit, but if anyone is to come close, Vietti is a good bet.  Great wines, marvelous winery, and a wonderful family.  Spending time with either Elena or Luca Currado is interesting, educational, passionate, and more than anything, fun!  This time around no exception.

Vietti winery, emtpy large bottles

After an hour-plus-long tour of their winery (together with a family from Washington State, US), we tasted our first wine, the Roero Arneis 2011.  Almost water-like color.  Citrus, orange, fresh.  First vintage in 1967 – the love of Alfredo, made from small vineyards in Santo Stefano, Roero.

The 08 Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne, who has spent 6 months in casks, is all blackberry and blueberry, medium long, competes well above its price.

A favorite of mine for many years, this time the 2006, Barbera d’Asti La Crena, is very dark in color, licorice, red berries and herbs on the nose. Concentrated, but still elegant. Silky, a mouthful, goes on forever. This wine is always a good bet, I cannot remember tasting a sub-par La Crena. It is made from old vines (1930s) in the La Crena vineyard in Agliano d’Asti.

Vietti barrels, nebbiolo

Next up, the 07 Barolo Castiglione. Aromas of violets and roses, warm fruit. Balanced, Perbacco like. Customers and critics alike always rave about Vietti’s “base” Barolo, but whilst I agree, I think the best bang-for-the-buck wine from Luca and Elena, in 2007 is their Langhe Nebbiolo Perbacco.  Not part of the tasting at this visit, but a stablemate at our home in Norway.

When attending a tasting in Houston, US, this spring, Luca had the 06 as part of the lineup.  Elena decided she had to match her husband, and went and brabbed a 07 Barolo Brunate for us to taste. (I promised not to tell Luca, so if you’re reading this, the same goes for you – do not tell Luca, or Elena will get in trouble……).  The 07 Brunate was tobacco, minerally, earthy, a tad of toasted oak.  Warm, balanced, and round. Astringent, very long aftertaste. I am a big fan of wines from the Brunate vineyard, and Vietti is one of the best producers of this cru.

Next up was lunch at Ristorante le Torri.  As always fantastic food, and some good wine to with it.  It was all empty though, and I hope that was a one-off incident.  The restaurant is too good to not have people at the tables.

Ristorante le Torri, Castiglione Falletto

All in all, our morning and mid-day in Castiglione Falletto, was everything a wine day should be. Visiting Cavallotto and Vietti is highly recommended, to learn, to taste, to laugh, and to remember.

Ristorante le Torri, Castiglione Falletto

Note: Day 2 of our Piemonte visit in 2011, was July 1. Sincere apologies for late posting.

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2 Responses to Notes from Wine Tasting Day 2 – Piemonte 2011

  1. Eric Guido says:

    Thanks for this great write up of what sounds like a wonderful day. One of my favorite producers, Vietti, and one that I’m trying to explore a little more of, Cavallotto.

    Nice insights for the ’07 Castiglione and the tip about 2010 Dolcetto.

    Thanks.

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