2021 Dogliani, Francesco Versio, Piedmont, Italy
About this WINE
Ambitious, tireless, and naturally gifted, Francesco graduated in 2009 from Turin University, specialising in viticulture and viniculture. He worked briefly at Terre del Barolo in the heart of Barolo Cannubi, before joining Bruno Giacosa as cellar hand. Testament to Francesco’s sensitivity and strength as a winemaker, he was promoted to winemaker in June 2011; rarely is such a prominent position held by such a young talent. Francesco left in 2017 and is now head winemaker at Figli Luigi Oddero.
Alongside his day job, since 2013 Francesco makes tiny quantities of his own wines from his family’s small vineyard holding in his hometown Neive. Here, they have two small plots of old vines: San Cristoforo and Currà, facing southwest overlooking the village of Barbaresco.
The Piedmontese DOCG zone of Barbaresco is responsible for producing some of Italy’s finest wines. It occupies the same region and uses the same grape (Nebbiolo) as its bigger brother Barolo, but is a third of the size (only 640 hectares versus Barolo’s 1,700 hectares). It is also 50 years younger than Barolo, having produced wine labelled Barbaresco since 1890.
Barbaresco earned its DOCG after Barolo in 1980, largely thanks to the efforts of Angelo Gaja. The soils are lighter here than in Barolo – both in colour and weight – and more calcareous. The slopes are also less favourably situated and (relatively speaking) yield earlier-maturing yet extremely elegant wines that require less oak ageing (normally one year in oak plus six months in bottle). The appellation’s key districts are Barbaresco, Treiso, Neive and Alba.
Recommended producers: Cigliuti, Gaja, Marchesi di Gresy
A native black grape variety of Northern Italy grown almost exclusively in the provinces of Cuneo and Alessandria in Piedmont. It is relatively easy to cultivate, although it is susceptible to fungal diseases. It ripens before Barbera and Nebbiolo and is often grown in high north-facing sites which would be unsuitable for Nebbiolo.
The finest Dolcetto wines come from grapes grown on soils rich with white marls, especially those found on the right bank of the River Tauro. The wines generally are low in tannins and acidity and are usually fruity and fragrant, often with hints of almonds. Most Dolcettos should be drunk within a year or two of the vintage, but the wines from the best producers can last for 5 years and sometimes longer.
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