Why is this Wine so Yummy?
Grapes: 100% Nebbiolo
Winemaking: The grapes are selected from the single vineyard Rocche in Castiglione Falletto, planted with roughly 4600 units per hectare. The vines were planted in three different moments, 1940, 1950 and 1968. The vineyard has a south-west exposure and a clay-limestone soil. Grapes are gently crushed and fermented for approximately 4 weeks in stainless steel tank with skin contact. This time includes pre- and post- fermentative maceration with the traditional method of submerged cap. Malolactic is done in oak.
Ageing: The wine is aged for approximately 30 months in Slovenian oak casks.
Description: Ruby red in color. Complex and full-bodied with intense aromas of dried roses, licorice, spice and truffles. Elegant with strong, yet balanced and silky tannins; long and persistent finish.
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 andvibrancy.” 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.
Where in the World is Vietti?
The Krause Family bought Vietti a couple of years back, leaving, Luca and the Family in full control of production, hence the name below.
The 2015 Vintage
2015 began with high levels of snow providing good water reserves. Combined with mild spring temperatures and various rain falls, bud break and flowering were early, followed by an excellent fruit set. From the second half of June throughout July, there was no rain and temperatures stabilized to above-average maximums. Fortunately the vineyards were not stressed thanks to the plentiful water reserves. In terms of quantity, production was average allowing for careful, targeted green harvesting with special care taken to ensure foliage was managed to provide good protection for the clusters. There was no disease pressure so preventative measures were not required. The white varieties were harvested between the end of August and mid-September and the excellent sugars were matched by wonderful acidity. The Dolcetto harvest began around the second week in September and the wines were aromatic, softer and deeply coloured. Barbera is the variety which perhaps most benefited from the 2015 season with the usually high acidity tempered by excellent ripe tannins, dense colours and richly flavoured fruit and body. Nebbiolo ripened perfectly, though slightly earlier than the last few years. The excellent quality of the tannins balanced by perfect acidity will certainly ensure elegant, long-lasting wines with good structure.
Vietti’s 2015 Barolos are good examples of the strengths and weaknesses of the vintage as a whole. All of the wines are fresh and medium in body, with good energy and plenty of drive. At the same time, the differences between the vineyard are not quite as marked as they are in truly outstanding years. Even so, the 2015s here are brilliant. I won’t be surprised if they show even better with a few more years in bottle, as they are among the most reticent 2015s I tasted.