2010 Barolo, Gramolere, Monforte d'Alba, Fratelli Alessandria

2010 Barolo, Gramolere, Monforte d'Alba, Fratelli Alessandria

Product: 20101314351
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2010 Barolo, Gramolere, Monforte d'Alba, Fratelli Alessandria

Description

Could it be that in the 2010 vintage, the Monforte vineyard of Gramolere has ‘stolen the show’ from the fêted Verduno site of Monvigliero? This will please Vittore’s Mum (nata Manzoni), from whose family the plot came before being first vinified under the F.lli Alessandria label in 2001. Or maybe it’s just being 400 meters above sea level, with sandier, iron-rich soils and Gramolere’s 45-year-older vines that produce a wine that’s ‘faster off the blocks’? Either way, it’s gorgeously composed, with balsam oil, rich raspberry and wild mint (of which there’s masses in the vineyard); it’s serene, broad and generous in a Brunate-esque way, refreshed with notes of wild thyme, framed by molten tannins. Complete.
David Berry Green
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About this WINE

Fratelli Alessandria, Piedmont

Fratelli Alessandria, Piedmont

Crowning the small hilltop village of Verduno in Barolo, the 12-hectare Fratelli Alessandria estate has been producing wine since the 19th century. There is a long history of quality at this address, with the wines recognised by King Carlo Alberto in 1843 – continued today by current proprietors, fifth-generation Vittore and his uncle Alessandro.

Since Vittore returned to the estate in 2001, there have been significant changes, with increased attention to detail in both the vineyard and winery. Winemaking is a combination of modern and traditional, with stainless steel tanks, temperature control and French oak tonneaux complemented by long (15 to 20-day) wild-yeast fermentations and ageing in large (30-hectolitre) botti.

Verduno’s location – close to the sandy Roero region, with some chalk in the soil and with the Tanaro river running below – gives the village’s wines a trademark softness and perfumed charm; an authentic expression that the Alessandria family is keen to emphasise in its wines.

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Barolo

Barolo

Located due south of Alba and the River Tanaro, Barolo is Piedmont's most famous wine DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), renowned for producing Italy's  finest red wines from 100 percent Nebbiolo

Its red wines were originally sweet, but in 1840 the then extant Italian monarchy, the House of Savoy, ordered them to be altered to a dry style. This project was realised by French oenologist Louis Oudart, whose experience with Pinot Noir had convinced him of Nebbiolo's potential. The Barolo appellation was formalised in 1966 at around 1,700 hectares – only a tenth of the size of Burgundy, but almost three times as big as neighbouring Barbaresco.

Upgraded to DOCG status in 1980, Barolo comprises two distinct soil types: the first is a Tortonian sandy marl that produces a more feminine style of wine and can be found in the villages of Barolo, La Morra, Cherasco, Verduno, Novello, Roddi and parts of Castiglione Falletto. The second is the older Helvetian sandstone clay that bestows the wines with a more muscular style. This can be found in Monforte d'Alba, Serralunga d'Alba, Diano d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour and the other parts of Castiglione Falletto. Made today from the Nebbiolo clones Lampia, Michet and Rosé, Barolo has an exceptional terroir with almost every village perched on its own hill. The climate is continental, with an extended summer and autumn enabling the fickle Nebbiolo to achieve perfect ripeness.

Inspired by the success of modernists such as Elio Altare, there has been pressure in recent years to reduce the ageing requirements for Barolo; this has mostly been driven by new producers to the region, often with no Piedmontese viticultural heritage and armed with their roto-fermenters and barriques, intent on making a fruitier, more modern style of wine.

This modern style arguably appeals more to the important American market and its scribes, but the traditionalists continue to argue in favour of making Barolo in the classic way. They make the wine in a mix of epoxy-lined cement or stainless-steel cuves, followed by extended ageing in 25-hectoliter Slavonian botte (barrels) to gently soften and integrate the tannins. However, even amongst the traditionalists there has been a move, since the mid-1990s, towards using physiologically (rather than polyphenolically) riper fruit, aided by global warming. Both modernist and traditional schools can produce exceptional or disappointing wines.

Recommended traditionalist producers:
Giacomo Borgogno, Giacomo Conterno, Bruno Giacosa, Elio Grasso, Marcarini, Bartolo Mascarello and Giuseppe Mascarello.

Recommended nmdernist producers:
Azelia, Aldo Conterno, Luciano Sandrone, Paolo Scavino and Roberto Voerzio

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Nebbiolo

Nebbiolo

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.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

Antonio Galloni 95+
Wine Advocate95/100
James Suckling93/100
jancisrobinson.com16.5/20

Critic reviews

Antonio Galloni 95+
The 2010 Barolo Gramolere, from 50 year-old vines in one of Monforte's top sites, bursts from the glass with dark cherries, plums, graphite, cloves and menthol. Deep, layered and intensely balsamic, the 2010 captures the personality of this great vintage and site in spades. Violets, lavender, smoke and licorice meld into the explosive finish.
Antonio Galloni - July-2014 Read more
Wine Advocate95/100
With fruit from Monforte dAlba, the 2010 Barolo Gramolere comes from a vineyard located between Bussia and Monforte at 400 meters above sea level. This high altitude site has sandy soils and a huge presence of wild mint that grows freely between the vineyard rows. As the wine evolves in the glass, you can just make out that minty signature. Of this estates various wines, this the boldest and most structured of the newly released wines. The tannin is soft and almost crunchy, underlining the singular tannic identity of this wine. The wine will appeal to Barolo traditionalists who like a little extra bite in their Nebbiolo.
Monica Larner - 26/06/2014 Read more
James Suckling93/100
A wine with watermelon, plum and peach character. Full body, chewy tannins and a pretty depth of ripe fruit. Long finish. Needs two or three years to soften: better in 2017.
James Suckling - Aug-2014 Read more
jancisrobinson.com16.5/20
Verduno, Monforte d’Alba. Just mid ruby with orange tinges already. A little subdued but pretty and fresh. Fragrant finish with compact, firm tannins. Can be approached now but will gain in complexity. Elegant Verduno style.
Walter Speller - jancisrobinson.com - 27-Mar-2014 Read more