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2012 Barolo, Cannubi, E. Pira di Chiara Boschis, Piedmont
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Since its purchase in 1980, following the tragic death of Luigi Pira, last in line of this historic family, Chiara Boschis di E. Pira has now grown this jewel of Barolo wine estate to 8.5ha/35,000 bts/ 50% of it, Nebbiolo. The estate is, like her, in perpetual motion and evolution. Since her brother Giorgio joined her a couple of years back, having left Borgogno, they’ve added new vineyards in Monforte d’Alba and started renting a plot in Serralunga’s Gabutti.
The twin pillars of the (wine) estate are the vineyards Cannubi & Via Nuova. Cannubi, facing SW, is Barolo's legendary cru of which Chiara has a fair few rows. Cannubi should not be confused with the likes of Cannubi Boschis or Cannubi Muscatel. There’s been the addition of new French (Vicard) oak botte grande, and consequently marginally fewer new barriques bought, plus a new storage ‘bunker’ at their Barolo cantina.
Her petite SSE-facing Via Nuova site located just up behind the winery was documented as far back as 1904, flanking the then new path to Novello; its vines are younger though, at 16 years. The modern vinification, carried out in a recently renovated cantina, is tightly controlled and constantly checked, with Chiara a keen analyst. Hulking rotofermentors still dominate the diminuitive cellar, though perhaps they're less frenetic than in the past.
She’s still tending her cows in Castelmagno for their cheese, or should I say her other brother Cesare is, and in 2013 she added a new Barolo to the offer: Mosconi, a prodigious single vineyard Barolo from the village of Monforte d’Alba.
Chiara's infectious energy, her can-do, will-do approach to life is reflected in her wines, which are constantly evolving she says, albeit incrementally. What doesn't alter, fortunately, is her staunch belief that the vineyards are sacred; a virtue which shines through in the deliciously seductive, compelling wines. A modern producer of Barolo who’s on the right tracks.
David Berry Green, BBR Buyer
Nebbiolo is the grape behind the Barolo and Barbaresco wines and is hardly ever seen outside the confines of Piedmont. It takes its name from "nebbia" which is Italian for fog, a frequent phenomenon in the region.
A notoriously pernickety grape, it requires sheltered south-facing sites and performs best on the well-drained calcareous marls to the north and south of Alba in the DOCG zones of Barbaresco and Barolo.
Langhe Nebbiolo is effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo & Barbarescos. This DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style. Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15% other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto.
Nebbiolo flowers early and ripens late, so a long hang time, producing high levels of sugar, acidity and tannins; the challenge being to harvest the fruit with these three elements ripe and in balance. The best Barolos and Barbarescos are perfumed with aromas of tar, rose, mint, chocolate, liquorice and truffles. They age brilliantly and the very best need ten years to show at their best.