Red, Ready, but will improve

2015 Langhe Nebbiolo, Cascina Luisin, Piedmont

2015 Langhe Nebbiolo, Cascina Luisin, Piedmont

Red | Ready, but will improve | Cascina Luisin, Piedmont | Code:  45023 | 2015 | Italy > Piedmont > Langhe | Nebbiolo | Full Bodied, Dry | 13.5 % alcohol

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The Producer

Cascina Luisin, Piedmont

Cascina Luisin, Piedmont

Cascina Luisin is a traditional family wine estate in Barbaresco, Piedmont, founded in 1913 by Luigi Minuto (‘Luisin’ means ‘small Luigi’ in dialect). It comprises 7ha of predominantly old vineyards, 50% of which grow Nebbiolo, notably Sori Paolin in Neive, Rabajà and Asili in Barbaresco itself; total production is approx. 30,000 bts per anno (incl. some Dolcetto, Barbera, Langhe Nebbiolo and Roero Arneis)

The estate is currently run by Luigi Minuto and his son Roberto (pictured right); the latter joining in 1995 from viticultural school. Despite buying a pair of rotofermentors soon after, Roberto conducted a trial of different fermentations (roto, cement, wood) and decided from that moment on to only ferment and macerate Nebbiolo for an extended period in cement to ensure stable wine and tannins, followed by a couple of years in large oak.

The rotofermentors are only used for Dolcetto and Barbera, saving time. In 1998 he also stopped fining, filtering, using selected yeast and applied only natural manure. More recently he has been replacing the oldest large slavonian botte with new Stockinger botte. Bottling is done when the wine is ready.

Their soft Barbaresco Sori Paolin reflects the sandy soils of Neive; Barbaresco Rabajà (overwhich the cantina looks) is more muscular thanks to its predominantly western exposure; while Barbaresco Asili (from vintage 2011) is all about red-fruited finezza.

The Grape

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.

The Region

Langhe

Langhe is an all-encompassing zone lying due south of Alba and the River Tanaro in the province of Cuneo. Barolo and Barbaresco both lie within its boundaries.

Langhe is also the name of a regional DOC zone, which is used to classify wines made outside of the traditional Piemontese varietal scheme (Nebbiollo, Barbera, Cortese etc). Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines from the region are, for example, classified as Langhe DOC.


Langhe Nebbiolo
Effectively the ‘second wine’ of Piedmont’s great Barolo and Barbarescos, the Langhe Nebbiolo DOC is the only way Langhe producers can declassify their Barolo or Barbaresco fruit or wines to make an early-drinking style.

Langhe Nebbiolo can be released onto the market as soon as practicably possible either as a fresh, fruity wine made solely in stainless-steel, or later on having been aged in oak. The Langhe Nebbiolo DOC was created in 1994 along with a plethora of other Langhe DOC wines (so diluting their significance).

Unlike Nebbiolo d’Alba, Langhe Nebbiolo can be cut with 15 percent other red indigenous varieties, such as Barbera or Dolcetto. Leading, quality producers of Barolo and Barbaresco are more inclined to use 100 percent Nebbiolo, recognising its role as a stepping stone, using the fruit from vines that are either too young or poorly situated.

Larger producers tend to use the Langhe Nebbiolo DOC as a valve, declassifying wines destined for Barolo or Barbaresco when the market is difficult. Confusingly Langhe Nebbiolo can also be the declassified wine of Nebbiolo d’Alba.

Recommended producers: Giovanni Rosso di Davide Rosso Mario Fontana Ferdinando Principiano

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