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Castello di Verduno Langhe Nebbiolo 2016

Castello di Verduno Langhe Nebbiolo 2016

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Winegrower: Franco Bianco
Region: Piedmont, Italy
Grape: Nebbiolo
Vintage: 2016
Color: Red
Alc: 13.5%
Available: Fall 2017

“Castello di Verduno is… a key Barbaresco producer turning out exquisite wines of fascinating complexity and depth… and they make a wonderful Barbaresco blended from their Faset and Rabajà vineyards.”

Kerin O’Keefe, ‘Barolo and Barberesco – The King & Queen of Italian Wines’, 2014

If you want a preview of good Barbaresco without having to spend $70 or more, or if you just love good, lip-smacking red wine, this Nebbiolo is a definite must. All of the grapes come from the organically farmed vineyards of Faset and Rabajà in Barberesco. The wine was vinified using wild yeasts and aged for 9 months in stainless steel, then bottled unfiltered. It was then aged another month before being released. This is a super-friendly food wine from one of Barbaresco’s finest producers, and with its remarkable aromatics and flavours at a price of $28, it represents excellent value. Lamb chops anyone? Or how about roast duck? I'm getting hungry.

Castello di Verduno is a historic estate and one of the top producers of classic Barolo and Barbaresco wines of exquisite complexity and depth. Constructed in the early 1500’s by the Cerrato family, the castle sits in the center of the medieval hilltop village of Verduno and has panoramic views of the Langhe hills and snow covered Alps. Ownership changed in 1631 when it passed to the House of Savoy, and it was here in 1838 that Paolo Francesco Staglien first vinified Nebbiolo into the dry wine we now call Barolo. The current owners of the estate, the Burlotto family, purchased it from the House of Savoy in 1909. Gabriella Burlotto and her husband Franco Bianco now manage the estate. They work with their three daughters and Mario Andrion, their winemaker, to care for the vineyards in a natural way and to intervene in the cellar as little as possible. Because the village of Verduno is located in the northern most commune of Barolo and produces less than 5% of all Barolo wine, it has flown under the radar for years. But as the popularity of Barolo has soared the superb vineyard sites of Castello di Verduno have become more recognized and have taken their place alongside the other great Barolo producers.       

Today’s Langhe Nebbiolo 2016 came from two organically farmed hillside vineyards totalling .89 hectare. These vineyards face east and are composed of white limestone. The grapes were handpicked and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Maceration lasted for 11 days in stainless steel tanks with regular punch downs of the cap. The wine was then aged for 9 months in stainless steel tanks and bottled unfined and unfiltered with only minimal SO₂ added. This wine is traditional in style, elegant and pure. It’s a clear red ruby in the glass with an intense, appealing floral nose and subtle, elegant cherry, wild herb and spicy characteristics. These carry through to the palate, which is savory with a subtle earthiness and minerality, and with its silky tannins offers a persistent finish. Its fine acidity ensures the wine refreshes but never tires the palate. Serve this wine at 18˚ in Bordeaux stems if you like, but as usual I prefer Burgundy stems to better release its beautiful aromatics. This wine is incredibly versatile at the table and pairs brilliantly with all sorts of food including young cheese, pastas with meat sauce, mushrooms, poultry and small game birds, beef and game like these delicious marinated venison steaks.