2015 Barolo, Castelletto, Mauro Veglio, Piedmont, Italy
About this WINE
Mauro Veglio is situated in the hamlet of Cascina Nuova, near the road that winds down from La Morra. It was founded in the 1960s, when Angelo Veglio bought his first vines in Gattera. In ’79, the family moved to Cascina Nuova, which came with five hectares of vines including holdings in the crus Arborina and Rocche dell’Annunziata. In ’86, Angelo’s son Mauro took over. His marriage in ’87 added holdings in Castelletto, Monforte, to the estate. In 2017, a family alliance with Mauro’s nephew Alessandro – already running his own winery – brought a further five hectares in Gattera and Paiagallo. Today, the estate spans nearly 30 hectares. Leading modernist Elio Altare’s winery is across the yard; he was a strong influence in Mauro’s early days. But under Alessandro’s vision, there is greater flexibility: less accent on extraction and more ageing in larger barrels, although barriques are still used judiciously.
This is Alessandro’s first vintage for his Serralunga project, which enhances both his Classico blend and introduces his Commune di Serralunga. Now, he has Barolo offerings from four of the region’s communes. He has also acquired three hectares of the white Timorasso grape in Tortona, as well as a little more land in Paiagallo from 2023, making his ambition evident. The clear yet defined tannic structure of the 2019 vintage has encouraged him to further reduce the percentage of new oak in the crus where it is used, and botte are again more to the fore. It was also interesting to note that the wines aged in barriques appeared more open, compared to addresses where the wines had been slower to evolve in botte..
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
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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The vineyard comes from Daniela’s – Alessandro’s aunt’s – side, and although in Montforte, the Castelletto vineyard is on the extreme east of the commune, on the slopes facing Serralunga, and boasts the highest chalk content of any vineyard in Barolo. As a result, Alessandro finds it has Montforte strength with Serralunga freshness. This is strong, tight and sinewy, with classic notes of balsam. This is a serious wine, with minerality (from the chalk) and tension. Drink 2024-2040.
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