This post is long overdue but I wanted to share a #Winestudio learning experience from January.
If you recall, I love to participate in Protocol Wines #Winestudio. It’s an online educational forum on twitter most Tuesday evenings at 8CSt/6PSt that engages wine enthusiasts with winemakers, pioneers, wineries and importers for the sole purpose of learning about Wine. It’s basically a really great wine time! January’s topic focused on a new generation of winemakers from Alsace, France and Piemonte and Umbria, Italy courtesy of George Tito of Tanaro River Imports. So without further ado let me take you to Piemonte, Italy and a young winemaker walking in his ancestors’ wine shoes.
The Piemonte region lies in the Northwest part of Italy. It’s blessed with breath-taking landscape and the famous Langhe hills, home to the world’s greatest Barolo, Barbaresco and Asti wines. For those not familiar with Barolo and Barbaresco, they’re made primarily from the Nebbiolo grape. In the 13th century, wines made of Nebbiolo were prized. Then the phylloxera crisis decimated the vineyards so today only 6% of Piemonte grows them.
Nebbiolo is known for being difficult, demanding, finky and having powerfully, strong-willed tannins. Sounds like some toddlers I used to know! However, “strong-willed” children tend to grow into interesting, engaging and full-of-life adults. Definitely not boring. If you’re a collector, Barolo’s age well with some taking 10 years to soften their tannins. This is the age some of my children began to be more reasonable, too. It’s that strong-willed personality again. Another interesting fact about powerful Barolo is it can smell like tar and roses.
The bottle we sampled for #winestudio was Germano Angelo Azienda 2010 Nebbiolo d’Alba “Visette”. However, the grapes didn’t grown-up only in Barolo so this is a ‘baby barolo’ crafted of Nebbiolo grapes from the areas of La Morra, Barolo and Montforte. The young winemaker is Davide Germano, a 4th generation descendant of the 1908 winery founder, Angelo Germano. The Germano Angelo winery is located in the little town of La Morra on the 17th century Bishop of Alba’s farm estate.
The Germano family purchased it in the 1960s for production and aging. It has cellar vaults made entirely of wood and aging rooms comprised of 60 cm thick walls. At the winery in LaMorra, Davide uses traditional vinification mixed with technological innovation. The wine ages for 18 months in large “botte grande” neutral oak casks and 18 months in bottle. This wine is a younger aging Barolo meaning it ages 6 months less than it’s bold brother. I do recommend short decanting, though, since it’s definitely acts like a Bold Barolo.
About the word ‘Visette’ on the label: According to George , “The “fantasy name” of “Visette” is an old name of a section of Monforte and the famous Bussia Cru for barolo.
Germano Angelo’s ‘baby barolo’ was ruby colored with a lovely aroma of characteristic rose petals, dark fruit and earth. It was well-rounded with dark plums, a hint of licorice, tobacco, cherries, and nice tannins on the finish.
A beautiful print-only label adorns the traditional Barolo Albeisa bottle. I think simple typography can be works of art. During college, I took a Typography class which might sound boring but if you’re a history buff, the artistry, design and style behind each template is actually quite fascinating. Each type or script tells a story beyond the mere printed words. You can discern the printer, the region, type of document and social status. My finals paper was on cemetery headstones of the 1700 and 1800s. Loads of history! Ok, I’ll stop, I promise. Anyway, sometimes a well-crafted print is all that’s needed to garner attention. The Germano Angelo label speaks of a wine with elegance and tradition.
Overall I really enjoyed getting a peek into Piemonte and the next generation of Italian winemakers. If you’re in the mood for Barolo but not the price-tag this a delicious alternative. Three cheers for Germano Angelo’s lovely baby Barolo.
This was a wine sample from Tanaro River Imports. Opinions are my own. Grazie, George!