Piedmont translates as ‘foot of the mountains’ and the most important region in Piedmont for quality, it is around the 45th parallel, the same as Bordeaux. Famous for Barolo and Barbaresco, made from the grape Nebbiolo, Piedmont has a continental climate, with hot summers and very cold winters. The best soils have a high percentage of calcareous matter.
The leading producers rival First Growths for quality, they drink well after 4-5 years and age for decades, softening and taking on extraordinary flavours of Porcini mushroom and truffle.
The leading Barolo wine makers Bruno Giacosa, Giacomo, Vietti and Gaja are released on an allocation system, produced in small quantities; we receive allocations and are pleased to offer the new highly rated vintages of Angelo Gaja and Bruno Giacosa. Both producers have the strongest global caches, growing global demand and recognition. With an already strong European and US collector base, new markets which are eager own the best wines of Piedmont are beginning to stress their minuscule production, allocations are small and older vintages very hard to find.
Gaja’s Conteisa & Sperss 2009, Darmagi 2010
“The best Piedmont wines are impeccably made, brilliant wines. Producers such as Angelo Gaja….fashion wines of great individuality and uncompromising quality.” Robert Parker
Gaja’s leading wines are not classified as Barolos; Angelo Gaja the prominent owner is vocally opposed to following the rules of the region’s authorities, instead Gaja adds the grape Barbera to the blend and uses the classification Langhe DOC. However, his wines remain the flagship for Barolo and Barbaresco alike. “Getting to the top in any field is hard. Staying at the top is even harder. For all of the praise Angelo Gaja and his family have received over the years, they have earned and deserve every bit of it.” Antonio Galloni
Angelo Gaja has created spectacular reds in the 2009 vintage. A warm, dry summer concentrated the grapes and allowed them to reach perfect levels of ripeness with Nebbiolo performing sensationally.
Angelo Gaja Sperss 2009, 95 Parker Points
In 1988 Gaja purchased a 30 acre vineyard in one of Serralunga’s best areas and named it ‘Sperss’ – Piedmontese for ‘nostalgia’. The blend is made up of 94% Nebbiolo, 6% Barbera and is aged for 12 months in barriques followed by 12 months in large oak casks. It is classified as Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. This is available for £650 a half case.
A much different expression of Nebbiolo comes through in the 2009 Sperss. The firm, structured tannins of Serralunga frame the fruit in this powerful wine. The 2009 is an unusually sunny, radiant Sperss with bright, floral aromatics and a distinctly red-toned expression of fruit. The overall impression is of elegance and femininity, while the more typical, virile side of this vineyard seems to be a bit less in evidence. Sperss is such a magical site. The vineyard excels in many vintages, but is particularly advantaged in warm years. Over the last few months, the more typical Sperss notes have begun to take shape as the differences between Conteisa and Sperss – attenuated when the wines were younger – become much more marked. Drink 2017 – 2029 94 points, Antonio Galloni
Angelo Gaja Conteisa 2009, 96 Parker Points
‘Conteisa’ is Piedmontese for ‘quarrel’ – referring to a historic dispute between the communes of La Morra and Barolo for possession of the Cerequio land. The blend is made up of 92% Nebbiolo, 8% Barbera. It is aged for 12 months in barriques followed by 12 months in large oak casks. It is classified as Langhe Nebbiolo DOC. This is available for £590 a half case.
The 2009 Conteisa wafts from the glass with sweet red cherries, flowers, mint, spices and licorice. Soft, plush and inviting, the 2009 impresses for its radiance and overall balance. The integration of fruit and tannin is gorgeous. I imagine the 2009 will enjoy a long and broad drinking window. Today, the tannins are naturally a bit firm, but in a few years that should not be much of an issue. Drink 2017 – 2009. 93 points, Antonio Galloni
Bruno Giacosa Barolo
Bruno Giacosa began at helping at the family winery from the age of 15. He is known as the “Genius of Neive” and is one of the most respected producers of Barolo in Piedmont. The Giacosa estate consists of 20 hectares from some of the finest regions in Piedmont, including single vineyard production from Falletto. The vineyards sit in south/southwest facing amphitheatres.
Bruno Giacosa’s flagship wine is their Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto, which in normal vintages has the famous and elegant white label. In great vintages, like 2007, they make their Barolo Le Rocche del Falleto Riserva. Giacosa’s winemaking philosophy is regarded as ‘updated traditional’, taking from tradition and adding modern variations, thereby straddling the two styles. For example, maceration on skins can last up to 30 to 50 days, thereby extracting the powerful features of the illustrious Nebbiolo grape, harmonising power with elegance. They use a combination of French and Slavonian oak, (Botti, 50 HL casks) for 4 to 5 years. With very strict standards Giacosa only ever put their name against what they consider the finest of wines. His daughter Bruna Giacosa now runs the estate.
Giacosa’s wines appreciate steadily in price with age, the 2009 Falletto is a wonderful effort and will drink beautifully in 2 years. The 2007 Riserva is one of their greatest efforts and will age for 30 years. The 2000 and 2001, which scored 96 points are already trading at £1,600 a case. Their growing global acclaim and vintage premium make them an excellent investment as well as wines to lay down and should offer 8-10% annualised returns over the next 5 years.
Giacosa Barolo Falletto 2009, 94 Parker Points
This is available for £425 a half case.
The 2009 Barolo Falletto is an exuberant and exciting wine with tight, firming tannins surrounded by deep layers of dried cherry, licorice, cassis, moist tobacco and campfire ash. What sets this Barolo apart is the focus and care it shows on the bouquet. It is as if each layer is a separately audible voice in a united chorus of flavors and aromas. Also notable is the balanced acidity that adds a bite of freshness without being too sharp. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2035. 94 points, Wine Advocate
Giacosa Barolo Le Rocche del Falletto Riserva 2007, 98 Parker Points
This is available for £1,200 a half case.
The 2007 Barolo Riserva Le Rocche del Falletto bursts onto the palate with masses of dark fruit. The Riserva is a decidedly dark, brooding wine in this vintage. Scorched earth, smoke, menthol, licorice and new leather flow with marvelous intensity all the way through to the powerful finish. Over time the classic Giacosa bouquet of dried rose petal emerges, rounding out this fabulous effort in grand style. The imposing tannins will require a measure of patience, but the 2007 Riserva is shaping up to be another magnificent, towering Barolo from Bruno Giacosa. Anticipated maturity: 2022-2042. 98 points, Robert Parker