Why is this Wine so Yummy?
When charged with ordering vine material to re-plant parts of the Scarrone vineyard by his father, Luca, being a little mischievous or perhaps simply strong in his convictions, instructed the nursery to send Barbera instead of Nebbiolo. He knew the vines would look similar in their youth! As they established his father identified them as Barbera, in a rage, he contacted the nursery – “Why had they sent Barbera vines not Nebbiolo?” The nursery presented him with an order for Barbera signed by Luca!
Back in 2005, I spent some time at Vietti. Their winery sits in the castle atop Castiglione Falletto. It’s walls broken by slit windows for archers to defend the grounds. The escape tunnel leading from the castle to the plains below had been filled in only a few years prior to my visit. Somehow they’ve managed to modernise aspects of the winery carving into the rock without collapsing the ancient buildings surrounding it.
One of my earlier experience of Vietti was at the Australian Wine Research Institutes Advanced Wine Assessment Course. A blind bracket of 9 Nebbiolo’s was presented, Vietti’s Perbacco from 1998 and Brunate from 1996. The Brunate was superb. My notes from the tasting read “Very complex, great harmony, texture, rich, long, very together, perfumed, incredible layers and vibrancy.” The Perbacco excellent, particularly at 1/8th the price. “Great purity, balance, and poise. Supple with an excellent core of fruit and lovely floral notes.”
In many ways, little has changed. Perbacco, typically declassified Barolo, is the wine to crack while you’re waiting for your Barolo to mature!
Vietti intrigues me. Some of the best Barolo I have devoured have come from their winery. Watching the wines evolve over time, both the same vintage and across vintages has been fascinating. Modern technology at times pierced the tradition. Last year a vertical tasting going back to 1982 was fascinating. It again highlighted my growing consensus that the drinking window for good Barolo, from great years, starts at around 10 years and is right in the zone between 15 and 20 years. The Villero Riserva is in the rare class of Barolo that will push this window out to 30 years+.
Whilst Vietti have always produced more structured wines, they have never shifted to the overt new oak regimes of the likes of Clerico. The wines have always shown harmony and balance.